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Nikki Thompson 

Local tattoo artist

Nikki's Tattoo Studio, located on Monroe Road, is the only tattoo studio in Charlotte that is owned and operated by a woman. Nikki Thompson, the owner, doesn't know why the field is so male-dominated. After all, she says "it's just art."

Fifteen years ago when she first started tattooing, there was one tattoo shop and one really well-known tattoo artist who worked out of his house in all of Charlotte. She worked at the one tattoo shop, and when that closed, she had to open up her own shop "out of necessity." The first two years of her business, she rented space out of her friend's clothing store.

"I do things from nature real well, like flowers, trees, animals. I probably do those better than other things," says Thompson. "I really enjoy doing pet portraits as well."

She also does permanent makeup, which is a form of tattooing -- eyeliner, full lip color and eyebrows. "And I'm one of the few people who actually has been to school and been trained. I have over 100 hours of training."

Thompson also specializes in scar camouflage and areola restoration, which is often performed when a woman gets her breast reconstructed after losing it to breast cancer. She does at least three procedures of this type a week.

"Most of my own tattoos are really big, so I only have five tattoos. But I have upwards of 50 hours of work." Her tattoos include oak leaves, oak and maple leaves that are blowing in the wind, a portrait of her own dog, a bracelet, some cherry blossoms, and a small kitten tattoo.

– -- Kimberly Lawson

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