Interview by PATRICK BOYLE

To inspire the 62 young creatives coming together at the Red Bull Doodle Art World Final in Amsterdam this May, international artist Mr Doodle was at STRAAT Museum, creating a one-of-a-kind work that envelops a version of the city’s 3X symbol with his signature art. The core of the Amsterdam Coat of Arms, which dates back to 1505, the 3X’s are an early graphic representation that have become iconic and can be found throughout the cityscape.

Sam Cox, the artist better known as Mr Doodle, took to the STRAAT Museum in Amsterdam this week to leave his signature doodles on a purpose-built piece of local heritage ahead of the Red Bull Doodle Art World Final that will be held in the Dutch capital from May 25–27, 2023.

The global doodling competition taking place in May will feature 62 young creatives – the best of more than 100,000 who entered worldwide – as they let their minds wander and doodle new works in a three-day ‘phygital’ experience involving both the physical and digital realms of art. Mr Doodle, who will be a judge at the World Final, visited Amsterdam ahead of the event to create a unique piece of art that would inspire the participants and leave his mark in the city.

The STRAAT Museum is dedicated to street art and graffiti, and Mr Doodle created his work live for museumgoers to see his distinctive style in action. His creation will remain in Amsterdam throughout the Red Bull Doodle Art World Final for participants and the public to view up close.

Mr Doodle came into the museum with an open mind regarding what he was going to doodle on the custom piece representing the 3X’s. Synonymous with Amsterdam, the 3X symbol from its coat of arms dates back to 1505 and can be spotted all over the city on street poles, flags, buildings and much more.

“With this piece, it’s a total freestyle,” he said. “Red Bull Doodle Art is all about doodling and letting the mind wander, so it was about doing the purest type of doodle that I possibly can. My mind never feels tired from it. More energy comes from creating the doodles and seeing what they turn into.”

How did you first get into art?

I was drawing at home and at school. I started when I was 2 or 3 years old. I used to draw characters from video games and comic books. I would copy those characters and then turn them into my own characters and make my own stories. I realised that I loved drawing faces and little cartoons and then I just got a love of doodling and building these little worlds where there is just pure happiness and fun silly things going on. 

When did you develop your distinct style?

When I was 15 I would say. I was at school and my graphics teacher at the time showed me these books about street art and graffiti and I got really inspired by those artists and then came up with a more unique style of my own. I’ve been using a version of that ever since. It’s got more and less detailed over time and it changed slightly but more or less the same sort of stuff has been going on since then. 

You recently doodled the entirety of your house. How long did that take you?

That took about 2 years. On and off for 2 years. Sometimes it was like 16 hours a day, sometimes it was just 3 or 4 hours a day depending on what else I was doing at the time.

From your house, to F1 cars, you have translated your art onto many different canvases. What is your dream project?

I want to do a town. That’s the big dream. 

On judging the Red Bull Doodle Art World Final, Mr Doodle provided some insights into what he looks for in a doodle. “I feel the strongest doodles are always the ones that are created naturally with no sketch and flow instinctively by themselves. I expect to see variety given the number of creatives coming from different countries being inspired by what’s around them.”

The Red Bull Doodle Art World Final in Amsterdam from May 25–27, 2023 will include a public gallery of work by the 62 participating creatives and will culminate with one young artist crowned the Red Bull Doodle Art winner for 2023.

About Red Bull Doodle Art
Red Bull Doodle Art is a global competition that empowers a new generation of artists by inviting students and creatives everywhere to let their minds wander and put their imaginative doodles on paper. Opportunities include heightened exposure, art mentorship and a spot at Amsterdam’s World Final, where renowned judges will select the Red Bull Doodle Art winner.

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