Drew Shurtleff {E} Artist Feature

by Christina Diaz

Mediums: Tattooing, Prisma Color Pencils, and Oils

We’re extremely supportive and encouraged the progression of his art career. Today Drew is a full time artist at Big Daddy’s Tattoo in Oklahoma City. He devotes himself to his trade, “My work ethic puts most to shame, and my overall message is death to complacency. I strive to constantly learn and evolve and never become complacent.”

His vibrant and colorful characters have become a staple in his work and definitely makes you wonder who he’ll recreate next. Keep reading to learn more about Drew!

{E}: What, or who, got you interested in art?
DS: I was always interested in art from the time I could pick up a pencil. I did have inspiration growing up. My father has amazing art talent as well. He would draw comic book characters to cartoon characters all the time for me just to draw in front of me. He is still my biggest inspiration.

{E}: Were you artistic as a child?
DS: I used to draw on everything! Drove my mom crazy is what I am told. But my mother tells a story all the time of how she knew I would be an artist. Where she sat and watched one afternoon, me sit in front of the TV and watch a Mickey Mouse cartoon and draw Mickey almost perfect at the age of 3. She still has the piece of art today.

{E}: Are you self-taught or did you attend a trade school?
DS: I was self taught, although I took many art classes and pissed many teachers off. I really have never agreed with what teachers have said because I don’t think art can be confined to structure.

{E}: Tell me about your art.
DS: I would say it’s progressive, ever evolving, and growing. I started early in my life with cartoons, then comic books, then horror movies and monsters, then tattoo related art. Then to where I’m at now, more realism and portraits and oils. Refined styles.

{E}: Tell us about your personal tattoo collection.
DS: I have many tattoos, neck to ankle. I believe in my craft whole hearted. I have many funny tattoos. I have Homer Simpson and a thought bubble with a Duff beer in it above homer. It’s my beer hand. HAHA!! I have a Nintendo gun on my hip. I try to make people smile with my tattoos.

{E}: What inspires you?
DS: I truly feel inspired by seeing the progression that the tattoo industry has made and is still making. Every day I get on Instagram and get jealous of the amazing pieces constantly being pushed out.

{E}: While growing up, what cartoons, stories, and movies did you watch that had an artistic impact on you?
DS: I was obsessed with cartoons like Thunder Cats, Voltron, GI Joe, Scooby Doo, Tom and Jerry and many others. I also developed a love for comic books like X-Men, Spiderman and etc… I have been a movie fan for as long as I can remember. I loved Beetlejuice, Ghost Busters, and Ninja Turtles and etc… I still obsess over movies to this day.

{E}: Where do you get ideas for your artwork?
DS: I get my ideas from phrases people say, to fantasy based themes, to real life events and scenarios. I try to portray the world as I interpret it through my art.

{E}: Whom are some of your favorite artists and why?
DS: It’s hard to say a favorite. There are so many artist I admire and look up to for tattoos, people like Roman Abrego, Nikko Hurtado, Mike DeVries just to name a few. For other art mediums I look to people like Belin, to people like Vincent Vangogh and other masters of their craft.

{E}: What do you enjoy most about this profession? Least?
DS: I enjoy creating pieces of art people can be proud of to wear on their bodies for life. Seeing the happiness and enjoyment you have given them. Maybe bring back a loved one that has passed or maybe doing a goofy piece to make people laugh. I enjoy giving people a great experience. I can’t stand the people who get in this business for money or the ones who don’t strive for greatness and become complacent.

{E}: What are your favorite mediums and why?
DS: I would have to say my favorite mediums would be oil paints and Prisma pencils. They seem to be the most enjoyable tools to mold and portray my art.

{E}: Where and when did you get your first tattoo? Who did it? Tell me about this first ink experience.
DS: I went to Fantasy Tattoos in Gainsville, Texas when I turned 18. It was a horrible experience. (laughs) I went into an uninviting shop. Immediately I was treated like crap. They did not draw and had me pick something off the wall. Tribal was in at the time. So I got a piece on the inside of my left bicep. The artist was taking bets saying how I would cry. I laughed and got my tattoo. The dude was a dick and when we were finished I got out of there as quick as I could. I suggest now that people do their research and don’t trust a shop that still relies on flash.

{E}: What does your family think about your career choice?
DS: My father used to do tattoos and is an amazing artist and supports me completely. My mother on the other hand did not care for my career choice to much in the beginning. She also laughed a little thinking it was a joke job and would not amount to anything. She is now a believer and very supportive.

{E}: Current projects?
DS: I have a couple painting projects in the works, I also have my new website www.dstattoos.com which will post all art for sale, conventions I will be doing, and current events plus a contact page.

Drew Shurtleff {E} Artist Feature