We had the pleasure of sitting down with one of our favorite 1DROP artists and we're excited to share our exclusive interview with Madderdoit, a prominent UK-based street artist known for his captivating and intricate stencil art. Madderdoit's work can be found adorning the streets of various cities around the UK. In our conversation, we discussed the origins of his pseudonym, his artistic evolution, and the inspiration behind some of his most iconic works. From his early experiences with street art to his current work in galleries and exhibitions, Madderdoit's journey as an artist offers a fascinating perspective on the ever-evolving world of art. Join me as we delve into the mind of this gifted artist and gain a deeper understanding of his vision and passion.
Who or what served as your initial artistic inspiration, and to what extent has it shaped the trajectory of your career?
Back when I was in primary/secondary school, I took a love for Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and similar pop artists as the bright bold simplicity of their work just stood out so much to me. Early into starting college, I went out with a couple of new friends for some drinks in the town where I grew up. On the way home in a drunken state one of my friends dropped his backpack, pulled out some cans of paint and said – “keep your eyes out for any police for a minute” – and began to throw up a painting of a character I’d seen previously doodled over his college books. My mind was blown! The rush I got from just being there got me hooked instantly. From that moment my obsession with graffiti and street art started. I was quickly introduced to the genius works from Banksy, who of course was a strong early influence and inspiration – and still is. At this stage of the scene the best ways to find and follow artists was to either check back on the legendary Wooster collective site daily, or to find street art and graffiti books. Although I loved Banksy’s humorous and political style – I took a stronger love to the artistry of stencil artists like Dolk and Eelus, with the almost negative stencil style: going for highlights of features rather than a more realism look. As an art collector myself, some of my all time favorites include; Blu, Bast, Sweetoof, Shepard Fairey, Mau Mau, Nychos, Buff Monster, The London Police, Slinkachu, K Guy to name just a few… but I think my all time favorite would be Sam3.
What motivated you to embark on your artistic journey at such a young age, and have you ever contemplated pursuing a different career path?
I think I’ve kind of summed up this reason in the question above? In my head art was never on the cards up until about 10 years ago – and even up until a couple of years ago it was still an expensive hobby that made me a little money here and there. Before then I studied media and photography in college. I had no ambition to go to university as I still had no idea what I wanted to do in life. I had thoughts of going into film and television in some form, and had a passion for photography, but no real ideas or plans! I had worked a lot in hospitality and worked in bars and clubs in Brighton so the thoughts for a while were to go into management and end up with my own place one day… but since then I’ve realized that a lot the general public are arseholes.
Could you elaborate on the origins of your pseudonym Madderdoit?
Madderdoit? Is pronounced mad-er-do-it…and yes…it’s spelt with the question mark. When I first started doing street art – I knew I’d have to avoid using my own name to sign my works for obvious reasons. I had no idea what I was going to call myself and at the same time didn’t think that a name really mattered. I first started painting small stencils onto sticker paper and sticking hundreds around several places in Cornwall, England where I grew up. Brainstorming one night I looked up Cornish slang terms – madderdoit – slang for does it matter, was high on the list. So when someone asks what my artist name is, madderdoit is just slang for ‘does it matter’. After a little while I realized I really didn’t like it and considered changing my street name, but then realized that that was the whole point – it didn’t even matter what my name was at the end of the day – it was the art and it’s impact on the viewer. So it stuck.
If you could join forces with anyone in a creative collaboration, who would you choose and what ignites your interest in working with them?
There’s a huge list of artists I’d love to collaborate with. Any name from the list above would be epic. I would also consider almost anyone that I could see an artistic collaborative match with. I’ve worked with Yerwan a few times now and love what the end results have been. I’d love to collaborate with a sculpture. I’m also fascinated with what the results could be with an artist like Mau Mau - I mean if Banksy can collaborate with Os Gemeos with such an incredible result then any collaboration could work!
Although you still retain certain motifs and stencils from your Brighton street art era, how has your art evolved since then?
I’d like to say I’m still a street artist – although in comparison to the amount of works I’ve done on the streets in Brighton, I have not done nearly as much work as I’d like to have been getting up to in Bristol. Unfortunately life can get in the way a lot. I feel my works have changed in a progressive way with me developing my skills in regards to working on a smaller scale in comparison to street pieces. It’s also helped me develop my backgrounds and compositions with a piece as a street piece would provide me with a background already.
Let's talk about your 'Day Dreaming' girl stencil, what inspired this character?
Day Dreaming was a concept I have had doodled in one of my sketchbooks for a long time but kept being ignored like an endless amount of concepts and ideas I have. The inspiration behind her is a simple yet effective idea of depicting someone with an abundance of love. A person simply filled with love and happiness that overflows from the body leaving a trail of love in their path.
Your figures' faces in your artwork appear fixed, focused, or even intentionally obscured. Is this a deliberate technique to engage your audience beyond just visually, and evoke a deeper emotional response?
Yes this is intentional. It’s something that I have pretty much always followed with my imagery of people as I go for a more negative look where I try to just add highlights to a stencil to show the contrasts of where light is being highlighted. I guess this has always opened up the idea for people to interpret who the figures are to them more. I apologize for the personal nature of my question, but I believe understanding an artist's motivations can enhance our appreciation of their work.
Your artwork is incredibly impressive and thought-provoking, with two series in particular standing out for their aesthetics and artistic ingenuity. I'm interested in discussing the latter, specifically the Notes Series. What was the inspiration behind it? In this series, you experimented with UV spray paint on your $2 bill "Fingerprints" and the Cloud Series, revealing hidden messages once the UV light shines on them. What kind of impact do you think this technique has on the viewer?
The need of a UV light in some of my latest works adds an extra layer of involvement for the viewer. It creates almost a conversation starter for a collector when showing the piece to someone with what I hope feels like almost a surprise at the end. I’ve tried to experiment with unusual methods of involvement in my works which I love getting creative with. My edition ‘give me more’ in the hand cut light up frames was a huge accomplishment for me as I had to teach myself a lot of new methods and skills in order to accomplish my vision. After working out how I could actually achieve my end goal (which for a long time seemed impossible) I began teaching myself new woodworking skills. Many (many!) attempts and 4 different tools and methods later I’d finally cracked the cut out section. Next was to spend endless hours sanding and re sanding for the smooth finish I wanted, and finally to learn how to wire in and safely attach the lighting system. The first final prototype sits proudly in my hallway still – not nearly as smooth finished and tidy as the final edition, but reminds me constantly of the troubles I had to go through and what can come of not giving up on a concept. The UV works are yet another experiment that I feel worked out great in the end as it was a concept I have had noted for a long time so am happy to have finally and successfully made the concept a reality. This is a concept I hope to continue working with too.
Your pieces often depict individuals radiating love and inspiration, yet they seem to be alone or blocking out reality for a moment of euphoria. Is there a connection between this theme and your charitable endeavors?
I find my works have varied in meaning over the years and this has been due to life experiences both good and bad. Some of my earliest works were a lot more experimental and I tried to go more comical but I’d soon found that I preferred to go down a more darker style where my life was at the time. A few years back I had lost someone close to me from suicide which hit me really hard. For a while I struggled hard with my own depression and couldn’t find any concentration or motivation to want to paint – fortunately through a friend I found a great person who worked at Grassroots Suicide Prevention in Brighton who helped organise and commission walls for me to paint around the city helping raise awareness. This time really helped me in my progression as an artist and found me the much needed motivation to keep painting. This stage also helped me to focus on my main theme of love in my works which I have continued to this date. Sometimes it may read like the subject is alone but it is often meant for a meaning of never truly being alone when you have a love of some form in your life.