Mr Doodle Continues to Make a Splash at Hong Kong Auction

Sam Cox, more commonly known as Mr Doodle defines the Asian contemporary art scene with his iconic scribbles with clusters of characters and objects. His eccentric works appeared at auction for the first time in April 2020 and became an instant hit. 

The limited edition works and one-and-only paintings by the new-comer are selling for many times their estimates, with the current record being JPY 190m (US$1.02m) set in August 2020.


Mr Doodle (b. 1994), standing in front of his playful reinterpretation of Sanyu's Nu


Sotheby’s Hong Kong just wrapped up its online sale yesterday. The Contemporary Art Online Auction put together an array of works by Mr Doodle, including a ping pong racket he created for the charity initiative “The Art of Ping Pong” in 2017, and a wooden chair.


Here below are some of the highlights:

Lot 39 | Mr Doodle, Train Town

Marker on canvas

Executed in 2017

Dimensions: 29.5 x 42 cm

Provenance: Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

Estimate: HK$60,000 - 90,000

Price realized: HK$277,200


Mr Doodle once revealed that he goes through as many as 28 markers a week, though his marker on canvas works are not commonly seen at auction. Last December, a marker on canvas of similar size, “Untitled,” measuring 33 x 40.6 cm, was sold in New York, for US$12,600, more than doubling its pre-sale high estimate of US$5,000. The present lot Train Town shows a much more vibrant colorway and more complex composition.

Lot 4 | Mr Doodle, Untitled 

Marker on oak wood

Executed in 2015

Dimensions: 95.5 x 41 x 41 cm


  • Private collection (gifted by the artist)
  • Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

Estimate: HK$50,000 - 90,000

Price realized: HK$201,600


Created in 2015, when Mr Doodle just turned 20 and began to rise to fame. His signature style with clusters of scribbles was instantly loved by his followers on social media. His earlier works are some of the rare ones in the market, explaining the impressive result achieved by this innovative art installation that was sold HK$201,600 (US$26,000) with fees.


Lot 3 | Mr Doodle, Two Towns 

Acrylic on canvas

Executed in 2019

Diameter: 50 cm

Provenance: Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

Estimate: HK$30,000 - 50,000 

Price realized: HK$176,400


Compared with the artist’s usual black and white doodles, the striking red background gives a different vibe to the present artwork, with the area running down the middle intentionally unfilled.


Lot 68 | Mr Doodle, Pink Kitty

Giclée print with diamond dust

Executed in 2019

Dimensions: 84 x 59 cm (image); 95 x 67 cm (sheet)

Edition: 21/50

Provenance: Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

Estimate: HK$12,000 - 20,000

Price realized: HK$107,100


The present work is number 21 from an edition of 50. When the same print but different edition (numbered 29/50) was last seen at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in June 2020, it realized HK$175,000 (US$ 22,580), sold for a significant overestimation. The present lot achieved a slightly lackluster HK$107,100 with premium this time, but still a decent amount against its estimate of HK$12,000 to HK$20,000.


Lot 5 | Mr Doodle, Ping Pong Racket

Marker on oak wood

Executed in 2017

Dimensions: 29 x 18 x 0.5 cm


  • Private collection, Japan
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner

Estimate: HK$12,000 - 24,000

Price realized: HK$88,200


As one of the 27 artists who took part in the 2017 “The Art of Ping Pong” charity initiative, Mr Doodle drew on the present ping pong racket live at the launch event. It was showcased in an exhibition in London alongside other paddle designs before it was sold online to raise funds for Trekstock, a UK-based charitable organization that supports young adults diagnosed with cancer.


Mr Doodle at “The Art of Ping Pong” event 2017


Lot 37 | Mr Doodle, Doodlings

Acrylic on canvas

Executed in 2019

Dimensions: 15.3 x 15.3 cm


Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

Estimate: HK$5,000 - 7,000

Price realized: HK$32,760

Unlike some of the limited-edition prints such as Pink Kitty above, the present lot Doodlings is a one-and-only acrylic on canvas work. Two similar works, in four parts each, were sold last June and September at Sotheby’s, for HK$81,250 (US$10,480) and HK$226,800 (US$29,257) respectively, averaging out to HK$20,312 and HK$56,700 each.

A comparable work of similar style was sold for HK$81,250 (US$10,480) in June 2020, in a set of four


A comparable work of similar style was sold for HK$226,800 (US$29,257) in September 2020, in a set of four


Mr Doodle’s name emerged in the art world in around 2015. His unique style of impromptu, detailed doodling became viral, with over 2.7 million followers online. A marker pen in his hand and the world is his canvas. The England-born artist describes his works as “graffiti spaghetti,” because of the way the scribbles flow spontaneously and all entangle like spaghetti. 

The artist once said he suffers from another kind of OCD, “Obsessive-Compulsive Drawing,” as he calls it. From a young age, Mr Doodle began filling his school folders, and later his entire bedroom, with fun scribbles and his signature doodles are seen in collaborations with such prominent labels as Adidas, FENDI, and Samsung.


Peekaboo bag in collaboration with FENDI, launched in 2019


In 2019, Sotheby’s Hong Kong organized a selling exhibition for the artist, featuring 52 doodles that took inspiration from classic Easter and Western artworks, including Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, Munch's The Scream, Hokusai's The Great Wave off Kanagawa, and Sanyu’s Nu

The tremendous results achieved by the online sale, even including his installations, have proven robust market desire for the young artist’s works. Major auction houses are eagerly preparing for the Spring sales; could this sale serve as an indicator for the upcoming market trends?


Mr Doodle | Spring, 2019

Sold for JPY 109,250,000 (US$102,000,000) at Tokyo Chuo Auction, August 2020


Spring, 2019 (detail)

Auction Summary 

Auction house: Sotheby’s Hong Kong

Sale: Contemporary Art Online Sale

Dates: January 19 - 26, 2021