Growing up as an art student, Deanna Smith knew she wanted to master tattoos.
Now at 25, she’s fighting to be crowned the winner on Ink Master, the Spike TV show.
She had an epiphany as she was a teenager getting inked with her first tattoo.
“In my head I was like, ‘I bet I can do better than that.’”
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Smith won Ink Angel, another Spike TV show, and is known for her artistic style of realism and portraits.
She practiced her skills by working at shops and becoming an apprentice in Texas and New York City.
“I would work 7 days a week. You know, blood, sweat and tears,” Smith said. “It wasn’t easy getting to where I am today.”
Smith graduated from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas.
Smith tattoos at Dark Age Tattoo on the Downtown Square in Denton. (Mark your calendars, folks. She’s booked until September.) You can find her portfolio on Instagram.
Thinking about getting a tattoo? Here are some tips from the Ink Master contestant herself.
1. You get the best art by letting the artist do what they want and by not being too picky.
2. Don’t bring all your friends and family to the tattoo appointment. They’ll get bored and anxious and may make your artist feel more anxious than necessary.
3. Be prepared: wear comfy clothes, bring snacks and music to listen to.
4. Do your research on your tattooer. Know what subject matter and style you want. When researching on Instagram, be sure to look at healed tattoos of the artist who does the style you want.
5. Treat your tattoo like a scratch and protect it from bacteria. Smith recommends Saniderm bandages unless it’s black and gray work, which can be treated with regular ointment. Don’t go in any pools or lakes for two weeks.
6. Don’t be afraid to wait for your tattoo appointment with an in-demand artist. It’s going to be worth the wait, especially for something that will be on you forever.