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Check Out Shun-Drell White’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shun-Drell White.

Shun-Drell, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
As a young boy, I realized around 12 years old I started to get compliments on my artistic abilities, one summer around 14 years old I got introduced to airbrushing and I enjoyed doing it for a little bit but I felt like it wasn’t my calling.

As I grew I continued to draw since it is my passion. I was 22 years old living in upstate New York, and I met a person who started to tattoo out of his house. I thought to myself if he can do this, I can definitely do this.

I couldn’t wait to tell my soon-to-be wife that I think tattooing is my calling, with her support she bought my first stinger tattoo machine, I’ll never forget that machine I wish I would have kept it for the memories.

I started out tattooing fruit the old-school way, and then my soon-to-be brother-in-law said “I’m a blank canvas, ink me up.” It wasn’t my best work since I was just learning but I owe a lot to him for trusting me to ink his skin with no prior experience.

As time went by I spent countless hours and years researching, this is a profession where you never stop learning. I started in my first tattoo shop when I was 26 years old, I worked in 4 shops total, and that was during a time when tv shows about tattooing started.

Everybody wanted to ink and didn’t care where or what, as long as they were tattooed. I loved the experience of being in the shop but at that time shops were popping up on every street corner in New York and competition was thick.

I have a background in manufacturing and decided for my family’s sake to go back to the 9 to 5 to support them at that time. I kept tattooing here and there and never gave up on learning this trade even know I had other responsibilities.

In 2017, my wife and I decided to move to Sumter, South Carolina with our 5 children. My father-in-law previously lived here for 20 years, within 2 months of us living here he sold his house to us and he moved to North Carolina, we were here with no family and didn’t know many people. I started working in a manufacturing plant here in Sumter and worked there for a few years.

It was around the height of Covid-19 that I decided manufacturing wasn’t what I wanted to do anymore. I took a year off working and spent more and more time invested in researching tattooing.

One day I got a message from a person I didn’t know he saw some of my work on social media I had previously done, he was very interested in me coming to work in his newly opened shop. However it didn’t work out for him and the shop, the owner of the shop here in Sumter, Sc still wanted me to come work in the shop, I worked at that tattoo shop for a year until recently and now I am currently freelancing. Tattooing is my passion so currently I am looking for the right shop atmosphere in my local area.

I’ve been working here for 1 year.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No, it wasn’t smooth at all, it actually has been a rough road being a self-taught tattoo artist, and being a minority in the tattoo industry has made it difficult.

Covid-19 also came into effect and made it even more difficult for face-to-face professions, but I am a firm believer that nothing comes easy in life, you have to want it and push for it, hard work and dedication have always been my motto.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a tattoo artist.

I specialize in photo realism, and portraits however I am diverse and can do anything you put in front of me but some of my favorites are anime and gamer pieces. I am most proud of the support my family, crew, and that clients provide me.

We tattoo artists are all different in our own ways but what sets me apart from others is the time I take on each piece because I feel like each tattoo is my masterpiece.

We love surprises, fun facts, and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
I love listening to classical music, music is also another passion of mine. I want to take up playing the piano and guitar soon. I also love astrology and history.

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