Doodling in class is an American pastime now that our attention spans don’t allow people to enjoy baseball anymore. Marlon Sassy does what most high schoolers do when their teachers are going on a tangent on how hip-hop has polluted our generation: uses the closest materials to doodle away whatever comes to his mind. The artist, better known as Gangster Doodles, came to my attention when Jonwayne enlisted him to control the art for his #WayniacMondays series of singles. From George Costanza (as seen above) to Kenan and Kel, Gangster Doodles provided seven weeks of creative highlighter portraits on post-it notes. Since then, I’ve bought his books, some prints, and a Gucci Mane doodle pin, and now I got to ask him some questions about his work. He told me how he started his style, how much he works, about his clothing line and gave a shout out to Nardwuar and Rick Ross.
Wontu: When did Marlon Sassy become Gangster Doodles?
Gangster Doodles: I think it’s been almost 2 years now since I first started posting Gangster Doodles on Tumblr.
Do you remember what the first “gangster doodle” was?
Ha! Yes the first ever pic was Snoop Dogg’s Tha Dogfather cover. It took me maybe 5 minutes to draw and it looked fucking terrible.
Who or what inspired your style? I could imagine years of sitting in boring classes through school played a big part.
Without a doubt my old job inspired and helped development my style. That’s where I got the idea to use post-it notes, sharpies & highlighters. Most days I would be bored out of my mind so to help pass the time I would make little doodles on post-it’s or whatever paper was lying around.
I can relate to doodling at work. I’d have to pretend I was writing some important stuff if somebody walked by. What was your old job?
I worked as an Office Manager for a TV Production company for the past 9 years. Just quit last year.
How many doodles would you say you average a week?
At least 7, max up to 12 per week.
Have you drawn any doodles today?
Everyday I try to draw at least 1 or 2 new images, today I drew Sasha Grey & Knxwledge.
What is your personal favorite piece?
I don’t think I have a favorite piece. To be honest, I’m not a fan of any of my old stuff. Each new picture is my favorite, then the next day it’s old news. I just like to focus on making new shit.
What’s the magic behind the simplicity of the materials you use?
Good question! Haven’t figured that one out yet…
When should we be expecting ‘Gangster Doodles Vol. 3?’
No plans for Gangster Doodles Vol.3 any time soon. I kind of want to expand and try to do a hardcover book or something.
You have a very consistent style with your work. Do you ever go outside that box and draw with a different style?
Not really. I feel like I have a long ways to go before I’m 100% happy with the directions I’m going.
You seem to have a good relationship with Stones Throw. I first noticed this when you were making all the art for Jonwayne’s Wayniac Wednesdays. How did that start out and are you working on any art exclusively for them?
Can’t say enough great things about Stones Throw. Jonwayne contacted me through a mutual friend and asked if I’d be interested in making the single art for his Wayniac Monday releases. He wasn’t sure how many he would release so it was done on a week by week basis. No immediate plans for anything ST-related though.
I’m sure some of the people you’ve drawn have contacted you about your work or given you a shout out. Were there any that exceptionally excited you that they noticed your work? (I hope Rick Ross sees the water gun doodle.)
I gotta give it to Nardwuar the HumanServiette for going above and beyond and being an all-around cool dude. He’s given me a couple of really cool shout-outs in interviews and on his Instagram and Twitter accounts. (Shout-out to Rick, I got a special RRxWatergun print for you.)
You’ve gotten high quality prints, a couple of books, and a Gucci Mane pin made. What’s next for the doodles?
Gonna drop a Gangster Doodles clothing line in the next month or two. Just trying to tie up all the loose ends before we make it official.
Are you working with any other artists (of any kind) for your clothing line?
Nope just me. Pretty Puke is gonna take my promo shots though, haha his shit is crazy.
Words of wisdom for up-and-coming doodlers and artists?
Less talk, more work.
Follow Gangster Doodles on Twitter or Instagram to see him post doodles on a daily basis. Check out some of his prints over at his website (including doodles of Yung Lean, Chief Keef, Tobias Funke and more) and buy a Gucci Mane pin while you’re at it.