If you thought TV’s Paul O’Grady had a thing for dogs, then just take a look at celebrated contemporary canine artist (and fellow Paul), Doyle’s body of work, and Lily Savage pales into insignificance. Seriously. You name a dog, and the chances are the Doyle’s painted its likeness. And we mean likeness. And we certainly mean, ANY dog. From English Pointer and Dalmatian to Lurcher and Doberman, and from Spaniel to Labrador to Bassett Hound and Poodle. And pretty much most dogs in between. Born and raised in Coventry in England, Doyle was educated at the City of Coventry Boarding School, which he left at the age of 16 to commence his apprenticeship as a draughtsman. Whilst this was of course a good trade to have under his belt as he looked to begin his professional career, for Doyle it wasn’t his first love. That was, and always had been, painting. So much so, that he lied about his age shortly after he left school so as to have his work entered in the over 18s Open Exhibition held at Coventry’s Herbert Art Gallery. His deceit paid off, as out of Doyle’s three painted submissions he had two accepted, including one of which being singled out for high praise from the then Lord Mayor of Birmingham.
Determined to further his education, awareness and appreciation for art (and painting in particular) as a subject, Doyle enrolled at night school to study Art as an A-Level, yet by just the third lesson things came to an abrupt end through no fault of his own. Far from it, as his teacher insisted that rather than being a student, Doyle should in fact be teaching the class, as opposed to the other way around, on which note the teacher called it a day. On completing his apprenticeship, Doyle landed a role as a Graphics Designer for a video unit production company, which evolved over a period of time to becoming responsible for originating larger scale graphics for conferences; which with it, brought travel opportunities resulting in Doyle taking in locations from Europe to Japan as part of his remit. Despite enjoying the work he produced, Doyle wasn’t too keen on the related stresses which accompanied the position, including the commuting and the strict deadlines, and essentially believed his life was passing him by and ultimately not affording him the chances to do the things he wanted to do in the meantime, due to the demands of this position.
As is so often the case when people find themselves in these seemingly impossible situations where they feel they’re been stifled to certain degrees, Doyle inevitably parted company with the secure, yet unfulfilling career he had forged, and decided to go solo as a professional artist as such. Although this didn’t happen overnight for Doyle. Whilst still pursuing his graphic design career path – and painting on the side – he also became fascinated with fashioning models out of Fimo, while also dedicating much of his spare time to wood carving, which we guess was a much of an escape as a calling, yet at the same time satisfied his extra-curricular creative urges as it were.
Around this period, and after compiling what he considered an appropriate body of artistic work to his name, Doyle headed for the annual Spring Fair, staged at the NEC in Birmingham, which as a venue sees hundreds of current and fledgling contemporary artists showcasing their individual works and collections, many with the view to receiving the attention of some of the major art publishing houses found here in the UK, and in whom they could effectively collaborate to ensure greater exposure to their work going forward. Doyle himself was heading there in the hope of his work attracting the glances of a publisher, and fortunately managed to secure the interests of several of the big players, one of which was Sally Mitchell Fine Arts, with whom Doyle signed up with in 1997 and who helped the artist to find a wider audience of potential purchasers from that point onwards.
As it happened, Doyle’s first three prints released in conjunction with Sally Mitchell Fine Arts as of October 1997 were met with considerable success, and proved to be the launch pad for his professional fine art career that followed and continues to flourish to this day. A year later, and in 1998 Doyle released five further prints with the aforementioned and recognised art publishers, all selling like the proverbial hot cakes, whilst 12 months down the line Doyle witnessed his first major sell out, as ‘Dog Tyred’ shifted in under three months flat, which really announced his arrival on the contemporary art scene. This huge success was followed up by the unveiling of Doyle’s, ‘Up Periscope’ piece, which also went down a veritable storm. That very same year Doyle became a finalist in The Fine Art Trade Guild 'Up and Coming Artist of the Year' category, as well as being offered a commission to produce five sets of collectors plates over the next eighteen months for Danbury Mint.
Doyle lives with his two Border Collies, Paddy and Belle, and loves animals in any shape or size – although he does admit to a minor obsession with tigers – while away from our four legged friends, Doyle has a passion for two wheels, and specifically old English motorbikes. In recent years he has achieved one of his great ambitions, which was to paint a huge mural of badgers onto the side of his Warwickshire home, for which he obtained the blessing of the other villagers and the all-important council permission, yet cherishes the long term plan of buying and converting an old barn. Doyle’s paintings and prints are available from Sally Mitchell Fine Arts and the artist continues to undertake a few commissions each year when he’s not ploughing his own creative furrow. Oh, and according to our sources, Doyle’s work is very well received in Mexico, as well as the more usual markets.