Mikayla Thompson is a tattoo artist at Iron Quill Tattoo on Madison’s west side, where she specializes in both black and color ink. Thompson isn’t just a single type of artist, however. Outside of Iron Quill, her interests include needle felting, welding, blacksmithing and rock carving. Having gone to school for sculpture, it makes sense that Thompson enjoys the 3D side of art just as much as tattooing. She dedicates much of her time toward sharpening this diverse skill set. At home, Thompson is a big fan of her fish, frogs and little tripod cat.
What do you think is the biggest challenge our community faces?
Honestly I’d say one of the biggest issues is transport and getting around the city. Everyone complains about driving here, which, even though it doesn’t bother me anymore, is a valid complaint. Some roads are a mess to navigate and are in pretty bad condition. The bus routes are nice but don’t cover nearly enough of the city. Madison is big enough that we could support more buses and even a metro train. This last idea has been proposed in the past but it never goes all the way through.
Another challenge I would add is housing. So much of the rentals here are income-restricted, and the ones that aren’t income-restricted tend to be on the lower end of the quality spectrum or are overpriced. Obviously there’s nice places to find but they can be difficult to secure, especially since they’re in such high demand.
What do you wish people in our community understood better?
In my experience, everyone is pretty open-minded in Madison. Before I moved here, I lived in Milwaukee for a little while and that was a different story.
What is one change you would make if you could that would make life better for people in our community?
I would build a metro rail system and flesh out the already existing bus routes to help bring people who can’t afford cars or parking into the city to work. That would create more job opportunities, which helps bring down the number of people who require income-restricted housing. Once the need for restricted housing goes down, turn those no-longer-needed rentals into regular rentals so more people can find housing near and in the city. That would bring in new folks to fill jobs, which boosts the local economy, and so on.
What in our community gives you hope?
Madison is a relatively safe city where violent crimes are way below the national average. I love the community aspects and how, especially in the more dense areas, everyone is very friendly and supportive of each other. Again, everyone is open-minded, and it strikes me that this is a place where the majority of younger people are going out of their way to try to make a change.