Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mike Wolff / Mr.Doodle Interview

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am Mr.Doodle; an artist, illustrator and designer, thoughtfully manufactured out of lego in the beautiful Sussex countryside some 30 years ago. I lived in a tree until the age of 10 when I discovered I had the ability of flight. These days I like to produce beautiful, weird, surreal, pleasurable, intricate, enticing and exciting images, objects and virtual environments. I like the colours green, yellow and orange in no particular order. Qualities I admire in others include open mindedness and integrity. In my youth I had a penchant for tree climbing and dressing as Superman. Nowadays I prefer to indulge in sophisticated doodling, meditation and cheese on toast eating. Which reminds me.... I think I've left the grill on. Oh... and since the passing of the millenium I have been on a quest. It's exciting!

What has been inspiring you lately?
That's a tricky one as inspiration springs from everywhere and everything. Right now I'm loving the work of Brosmind, Universal Everything, The Monsters Illustration Collective, Cristina Guitian, Kill Pixie, Micheal Rea and Sarah King to name but a few. I think looking at other people's work - especially your contemporaries - is a very good way of getting motivated and inspired to create, but in terms of the actual content of my work, inspiration is often found in the most mundane of places. Looking at clouds, watching people, toys, children's books, plants, dreams, meditating, just looking around at the stuff that surrounds you in life - and I mean really looking, often from a different or more objective viewpoint... The list could go on forever, but you get what I mean.
Do you ever have creative slumps? What do you do then?
I think most creative people have creative slumps as you call them. It's very difficult to be 100% creative 100% of the time. I try to see this downtime as part of the overall creative process though. As a positive instead of a negative. The calm before the creative storm so to speak. I also find that meditation helps in maintaining a more consistent creative flow.
Describe your work setting.
A desk by a window. A room with a view. Lots of stuff to inspire and use. The inevitable bank of white, black and silver technological equipment. Plants, books, wire, toys, tools and trolls. Gourds, pens, paper, stones, artwork on the walls, wooden objects, postcard and music... always music.
Which artists have most influenced you and why?
When I was younger I got twisted by Salvador Dali and other surrealists. Their art just seemed to make sense to me. It's likely that the surreal nature in a lot of what I do stems from spending ages looking at his work when I was back at school. Nowadays, with the internet we are exposed to so much more contemporary artwork and artists, so the avenues for inspiration and artistic influence are far greater than ever before. I have hundreds of artists' websites bookmarked, and admire a very wide range of creative people, so again it's difficult to name names, but those who are doing something unique or pushing the boudaries of their field are always a head turner. I also love to see other people who are embracing the world of the doodle.
Other than art, what are some of your interests?
Reiki, cycling, cooking, tea drinking and exploring the inner mysteries of life
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Maybe Australia. I lived in Melbourne for a while and loved it there. Anywhere with nice warm, sunny weather for most of the year would be ideal. Preferably somewhere with nice beaches also. I'm sure there are many amazing places around the globe that fit that description.
In what city do you currently live? What are a few must see spots you would recommend?
I live in Brighton, England. It's a great city with so much to see and do. The most famous landmark is the Royal Pavilion, which looks like a bunch of giant onions on pillars, so you'd have to check that out. The seafront in summertime. Take a stroll through the North Laines with all it's funky little shops, cafes and other delights. If you're planning a trip in May all the better, as the Brighton festival transforms the whole town into a cultural wonderland.
Did you study art or are you self taught?
I studied illustration at University, although whether it actually taught me that much compared to what I have subsequently learnt through self teaching is debatable.
Do you have any upcoming events or exhibitions?
Not too many plans at the moment, but I will be taking part in an exhibition later in the year as part of the Spraygraphic artists community. I also want to exhibit in Brighton at some point, so will have to look into making that happen before the year is out.
Favorite quote/ lyric from a short story, poem or song?
I'm not really a fan of selecting a favourite this or that. There are so many pearls of wisdom out there to choose from. Saying that, I did hear this quote from Gandhi recently and it stuck with me. "Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviors. Keep your behaviors positive because your behaviors become your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny."
What are you currently reading?
The amazingly inspirational 'Ask And It Is Given' by Esther and Jerry Hicks, and a wonderful collection of short stories in 'Love and Obstacles' by Aleksandar Hemon