Today we’d like to introduce you to Samantha Smith.
Hi Samantha, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I knew I wanted to tattoo when I was sixteen. I was heavily influenced by one of my first jobs. Working at Hot Topic in 2006 I was constantly surrounded by tattoos and it was fun to talk to customers and coworkers about their tattoos. Hot Topic also had a cool program where we could attend a concert and write a fashion report (what the majority of the concert goers were wearing) and get our ticket reimbursed. That being said I was at a lot of shows and most people had tattoos. I grew up in a very art-loving home. I can’t remember a time I didn’t have some type of art project going on. My family had two shelves on the bookcase full of art books and it’s hard to remember a time we didn’t go out of town without visiting an art museum or doing something creative. My parents were super supportive of my art career choice. I went to several shops to inquire about how an apprenticeship generally works. I was fortunate to have a Florida Prepaid Plan for college and knowing that apprenticeships were unpaid for an unknown amount of time, we figured it was best to get a degree and revisit tattooing later. My parents told me it’s a lot harder to go to school as an adult and boy were they right because doing anything as an adult is harder LOL. I became an elementary art teacher years later and absolutely loved my job. I strived to be the art teacher that showed my students that you didn’t have to be good with a paintbrush or pencil to be considered an artist. That there are thousands of jobs out in the real world that focus on design and creativity. Once Covid-19 hit in 2020 my job was different. I couldn’t have my students share supplies and we were so limited on what we could do in the day. We were doing so much traditional drawing on paper projects and I was noticing I wasn’t as happy. I had to think about what I wanted to do before teaching and I remembered how I was working on a tattoo portfolio. I then made it my goal to build up a portfolio and seek an apprenticeship in the summer. It was November 2020 and I wanted a checkpoint with my progress. I asked a few shops to take a look at my portfolio and let me know what else I had to do to strengthen it. I then traveled to Ink Addicts in Palm Bay and asked Danny Smith to take a look at my work. He asked me a lot of questions like if I realized I would have to make a lot of sacrifices, how would I feel knowing that I’d miss a lot of events with family, that tattooing wasn’t a clock in, clock out job. I observed Danny for the rest of the day we went outside for a break and I heard the words “Yeah. I’ll take you on” I’m flabbergasted because I just came in for suggestions, and now I was an apprentice. I continued to teach and went to the shop. It was a lot of work and super exhausting. My weekends off from school were now spent at the shop. Right before the school year came back up, we had a change in our staff and I felt like an opportunity rose. I decided to stop teaching and dive into tattooing full time. I just took another dive to move to a new shop in Jacksonville to be closer to my boyfriend. I still plan to guest spot in Brevard County when possible! Now I’ve been tattooing for a year and a half and every day I’m so glad I took that chance. I’m so happy to make art for other people and myself every day. I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for my family, mentor, friends, and clients. So, I really want people to know to never give up on your dreams.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It wasn’t smooth at all. I was still teaching school and I was a learning to tattoo. My days off as a teacher were consumed by very long shifts tattooing. I was drawing and watching videos on my time off. Sometimes we were at the shop past midnight. Once I quit teaching, I had some hard struggles as I was starting to tattoo full-time during slow season. There were weeks I made some money and weeks I hardly made anything. I was door-dashing and doing some freelance art to help with bills. I was commissioned to do some paintings in the historic Cocoa Village. I also, unfortunately, came down with Covid and had to miss two weeks of work.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
When it comes to tattoos, I’m still finding my niche for sure. There’s so many styles out there and just so many different ways to tattoo the same subject. It’s incredible. I’m always wanting to learn everything I can. I can definitely say I’m known for specializing in creating “cute” tattoos. I’m also super obsessed with anime and video games so that definitely shows in my work.
For my freelancing, I’ve been on Etsy “SamanthaDeirArt” since 2017 if not earlier. I typically would do digital art for streamers and then occasionally post up some free time hobby art such as jewelry, paintings, drawings, ornaments, magnets, stickers, keychains and just about anything I could create. I also attended several comic conventions in the artist alley that was always a fun experience. Most of my art revolves around anime/gaming/ or just anything cute. I recently acquired my own LLC!
I also have a Patreon where I post some behind the scenes work, there’s also a monthly sticker club for an exclusive sticker I create!
What matters most to you?
Being happy! I’m the happiest I’ve been in years. I love that I get to create art for myself and for others and that’s my career! I draw, paint, or create every day and that’s pretty f**cking awesome if you ask me. Never give up on your dreams. I thought once I was teaching elementary art that I had my dream job, and that was gonna be it. I’ve always been told to never settle and to keep climbing. You can always do more and here I’m tattooing and there’s so much to learn out there! I’m so happy to be living my dream career as an artist!
- Tattoos -$80 and up
- stickers – $3-5
- other art – varies
- Website: https://samanthadeirtattoo.square.site/
- Instagram: Samanthadeirtattoo
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1109073653166135
- Other: https://linktr.ee/samanthadeir