Doodlemandrill is also known as Keith Neilson, a 40 year old introverted intelligence currently occupying a carbon based support system. I live a quiet life with my partner, Anna, and cat, Lucretia, while creating complex and engaging abstract art.
An unrepentant geek, I consume large amounts of a wide range of geek culture, and have an almost unhealthy knowledge of the works of Terry Pratchett. Don’t ask about my musical tastes, they’re too wide ranging to sensibly outline.
The art of Doodlemandrill is hard to pigeonhole. The majority of my original work is abstract. Conglomerations of simple shapes, interleaving and interlocking to create forms of great complexity. Many have commented on the detail and intricacy of his work. The best description I’ve come up with so far is: “Stream of consciousness essays, communicating ideas for which there are no other means of transmission.” Some may consider this a pretentious cop-out, but I really don’t care.
I’m a sincere believer that all Art’s purpose is to communicate concepts and ideas that cannot be expressed in any other way. Words are never enough, and can actually lead to misunderstandings. A description of the meaning of a piece of art, using the clumsy and limited tool of written language, will always miss something essential. When art speaks to someone, it doesn’t use words, and words can actually get in the way.
Major influences include, but are by no means limited to, Kandinsky, Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Graffiti art, and anything else which enters my perceptions. Other influences on my work are the works of various sci-fi and comic book authors and artists.
Every piece starts off as an idea, obviously. A composition of shape and form that is scribbled out on whatever medium is available at the time. This is more often than not a page in one of my 210x127mm Moleskines. I’ll generally thumbnail each piece before starting work on the sketch, blocking out the major volumes and getting the layout and arrangement to my liking.
Once I have a thumbnail that I think works, I start working in the initial sketch. I block out the major shapes as noted in the previously sketched thumbnail and fill them with the multitude of abstract forms that flow from the end of my pencil. Don’t ask where they come from, I don’t know, and am not sure if I want to.
Upon the completion of the sketch it is then photographed or scanned and processed further. I’ll either reprint it at around 25% opacity and ink over the lines on that, or work digitally to trace it as a vector so it can be rescaled and repurposed more easily and without any loss of detail/pixellation.
I’m currently working mainly in pencils, pen, and digitally, but hope to expand my repertoire to other media in future. Most of my WIP will be posted on my Instagram account, and you can follow the process of most my pieces by following @redmandrill.
Why am I doing this? Lots of reasons really, “I can’t not” being the greatest of them. I have found the thing that many never find; that activity that simply clicks. Something that I’m good at that I can happily do for 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the rest of my natural life. That’s why I create, doodle, and draw. I can’t not.
Why am I subjecting the wider world to my creative output? You’re right, I could simply create for myself, my friends, and my family, but that won’t pay the bills. I want to quit my current employment, before it consumes my soul entirely. This will give me more time to expand and grow as an artist, practice painting, sculpture, and other media that I simply don’t have the time to explore at the moment. In order to do this, my art needs to bring in at least £800 a month. To achieve this I’ll be putting prints and originals up for sale on this site, and in future I may also offer commissions, but am still working out what form these may take.
So now you know, who I am, what I do, how I do it, and why. Please feel free to take a browse around the site and let me know what you think.