Doodlemandrill is Keith Neilson, a 40 year old introverted intellect who enjoys reading fantasy fiction and listening to an eclectic variety of music. He has been ‘Mandrill’ online in one form or another since the middle of the last decade of the 20th century. Ask him why and he’ll be happy to answer.
Discovering a talent for complex, and sometimes surreal, abstract art a year before his 40th birthday, Keith has thrown himself into the production of his intricate illustrations. Giving up the beloved pastime of videogames to make the time to create, he also works full time as an online retail manager.
He lives with his partner Anna and their cat Lucretia in Glasgow, Scotland, UK.
The base fundamentals of Keith’s work are abstraction and hard black and white. A path, a band of conglomerations in simple shapes, interweaving and interlocking to create forms of great complexity which present some new detail on each viewing. Since beginning to sketch in 2017, Keith’s work has evolved to encompass aspects of the human form extruded from this chaos of form and detail.
The description most often used by Keith of his work is that they are “Stream of consciousness essays, communicating ideas for which there are no other means of transmission.”
Expanding on that idea, he goes on: “I’m a sincere believer that the purpose of all art is to communicate concepts and ideas that cannot be expressed in any other way. The experience I want my art to give is to build an interaction of visuals to engage a viewer, attracting a viewer from afar with high complexity, causing them to immerse themselves within the detail. When my art speaks to someone, it doesn’t use words, and words can actually get in the way. Even a description of the art will always miss something essential.” – Keith Neilson.
A physical interpretation is dancing, leaping back and forth between new destinations as a different detail captures the attention. You could miss some details in Keith’s work only to be found later in a separate experience. The work holds the viewer, engaging them with every corner in a shape or pattern that looks like the next one, but interacts with the experience in a completely different way. His art gives so much complexity to the journey it feels like being at the center of a maze. There is no breadcrumb path back, no path forward. It feeds the viewers own imagination with his.
Keith’s works are his reflections on an unfathomably complex, incomprehensible, and indifferent universe. No signposts, no maps, no guides. We’re making it up as we go.
His major influences include Kandinsky, Picasso, Matisse, Braque, graffiti and street art. Other influences on his work are the works of various sci-fi and comic book authors and artists. He also takes inspiration from the confluence of humanity and technology and the way each evolves to accommodate, enhance, use, and subsume the other.