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The Doodle Boy Announces his First Ever UK Show
20 Sep 2021
by Katy Rink

The Doodle Boy announces his first ever UK show 

Doodle Boy Joe Whale is to hold his first ever solo exhibition in Shrewsbury this autumn, having already taken the USA by storm.  

There will be a chance to see new works, buy prints and originals and even watch Joe live doodling in the window of The Soden Collection in Wyle Cop. 

Joe's characterful doodles have already earned him celebrity status in the USA, having appeared on CBS & NBC News and Little Big Shots, alongside actress Melissa McCarthy. He was flown out to California in January 2020 to doodle the backdrop for the set of NBC’s Little Big Shots, peppering the set with drawings of his trademark black and white characters – and there are plans afoot for a huge public art project in Boston.  

Joe, 11, has had offers from galleries in New York, but has chosen to open with his first solo exhibition at Contemporary Art Gallery The Soden Collection in his home town of Shrewsbury this October 22-31.  

“It’s time the UK brought Doodle Boy back closer to home!” says gallery owner Jonathan Soden.  “He’s such a fabulous talent and we all know the USA love runaway success stories, especially in small packages. But Joe so much deserves to have his talent recognised and celebrated here in the UK. We are honoured that The Soden Collection is able to play a role in helping him achieve that.”

Joe's awesome talent for doodling first came to light in 2019 after he began attending art classes at Bloom art studio in Coleham and owner Kerry Jones posted his artwork on Instagram. Number Four restaurant in Shrewsbury asked Joe to doodle on the walls and the rest is history!

Where it all started

Where it all began - doodling on the wall of Number Four restaurant in Butcher Row, Shrewsbury, aged 8

The story went viral and was picked up by the world’s media and zeitgeisty platforms including LADbible and Bored Panda.  

At just eight years old, Joe was an overnight runaway success and agents and brands could not sign him fast enough. He has several different agents (creative, illustration and licensing) a two book deal with Scholastic, his own range of merchandise, a licensing deal with Warner Music and a colouring book out this autumn (Dover Publications).  

Joe was also commissioned by William and Kate to draw the Royal Train as part of their three-day tour of the UK last year and was invited to speak as a Changemaker ambassador at the Children’s Media Conference in 2021.  

Royal Train comission
Royal Train Commission: Just look at the perspective on this! 

It’s a tiny fraction of the offers he’s actually received,” says dad Greg, who shields Joe from the business side, allowing him to focus on his art and lead a relatively normal life and go to school at Ellesmere College in Shropshire. 

“People in the US love the idea that anything is possible if you follow your dream,” Greg adds. “Joe’s is such a feel-good story. People keep telling me that usually celebrities find it hard to ‘break’ America. With Joe, it’s almost the other way around.”  

Doodle Boy’s 1st Solo Show looks set to be a huge success – there are plans for public doodling on giant boards throughout Shrewsbury during the exhibition, with a possible town centre doodle in the pipeline too. You’ll also be able to watch Joe doodling live in the gallery window on October 16. 

Joe said: “I am super excited to open my first art exhibition, I live and love art and to be able to share this with the world is amazing!!!”  

Greg added: “We have always aimed to open the fine art world up to Joe and his work and to exhibit in Joe’s hometown always seemed the right thing to do - Joe is really excited at the prospect and can’t wait for the launch at Soden Collection.”  

Doodle Boy’s 1st Solo Show will open at The Soden Collection, Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury – SY1 1UT – on October 22nd, 2021.