Q&A: Gangsterdoodles Talks Art Beginnings, Instagram Fame & the Future

By Staff  |  05/11/2017

If you're an avid fan of Instagram, then you may have come across a profile called "Gangsterdoodles". It's run by a young Vancouver artist who posts... well, doodles of pop culture references and other cool things... and he does it daily.

Interestingly, every sketch or drawing Gangsterdoodles shares is done on a 3x2 yellow Post-It note, and he's draw everyone from Gucci Mane to Nas to Razor Ramon. He recently made headlines with his illustrations of trap music stars Fetty Wap, Migos and Young Thug, which was used by Spotify as special holiday gift wrap dubbed "Trapping Paper".

With his following bubbling on social media (visit his Instagram page here), a new art book set to drop and an upcoming clothing collection debuting his summer, we caught up with Gangsterdoodles to talk about his beginnings in art, how he came up with the idea for "Gangsterdoodles", and what's next.

Can you tell us a little about your background? Have you always been into drawing/art? Did you ever have any formal training?

Pretty basic childhood, grew up in a small town. Moved to a much larger city after graduating high school to attend film school. After finishing film school, I got a job working as a office manager at a production company. Snap to nine years later, when I first started drawing "Gangsterdoodles" on 3x3 Post-Ots during my lunch breaks. During those nine years leading up drawing on Post-It's, I dabbled in other forms of art making: painting, creating collages, directing music videos, etc. It didn't add up to much, but was still fun and a great learning experience. This was my own version of going to art school. 100% self taught. Always had an interest in drawing/art, but never took it seriously until a couple years ago when I started "Gangsterdoodles". No formal training though, and I was 100% self-taught.

Who are some artists that inspired you? Is there one or more, in particular, that really had your attention growing up... or when you began being interested in art?

The biggest source of inspiration for me growing up was Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine. It opened my mind to the underground world of fine art. Being a kid growing up in a small town, my idea of art was landscapes and other lame stuff my parents would buy and stick up on the walls. Some of my biggest art influences are Andy Warhol, David Choe, Matt Furie, Jay Howell, Jason Jagel and Bugs Bunny

Obviously, you've built a following online. When did you start your Instagram page... and did you do it with the intention of building a fanbase?

I first started uploading pics to my Tumblr account at work. Then after a year of that, I jumped on the IG bandwagon and started posting daily. I definitely went into it with the intention of trying to build something.

Where did the idea of creating everyone 3x3 Post-Its come from? And, why have you kept that theme consist on IG?

Part of my job was to order supplies for the entire office. Every other week I placed orders for pens, sharpies, highlighters, Post-Its, etc. Me using Post-It notes was more of a convenience thing. They were stacked up on my desk just waiting to be used. It was one of those happy accidents. After three years, I'm still using Post-Its, because I feel like I’m still trying to create that perfect doodle. Not there yet.

You offer your own take on some pretty memorable images/people, ranging from Kendrick Lamar's "HUMBLE" and Migos to WWE's Razor Ramon and Jonah Hill from Superbad. How do you choose who/what to give the Gangsterdoodles makeover?

Every doodle I create relates directly to what I'm currently listening to or watching. For example: I watched Kendrick's "HUMBLE" video and almost immediately started thinking about possible doodles. It's all about that lightning bolt moment when I see or hear something new and the light bulb in my heads goes off. Over the past three years, I've collected hundreds of images and sketches that I'm still trying to work through with my daily posts.

Have you gotten any feedback from some of the subjects of your art? Any memorable reactions?

The best reaction by far was having Shia LaBeouf getting my doodles tattooed on his legs. He sent me a couple emails totally out of the blue with his new "Gangsterdoodles" tattoos. TMZ even did an article about one his 2Pac pieces titled "All Eyes On My...NEW TUPAC TATTOO". Sh*t was hilarious and surreal.

What are some your favorite doodles so far and why?

Blowfly. I saw him live and he blew my mind. Plus, all of his album covers are completely insane. He's basically a superhero pimp come to life.

How were you able to build your audience? What did you do to get noticed?

Making lots of stuff and trying to post as often as possible. People's memories are short, your only as good as your last post!

Do you sell your works... or ever thought about it?

I have some original work available at LilSwim/Luggage Store Gallery, May 12th. Show's gonna be fire.

What's next? Anything coming in the immediate future we should be checking for?

Releasing my first hardcover book in June. 336 pages of doodles. Super excited for everyone to check it out.