Tattoo artist opens new boutique in Gastonia


Chantel Setzer-Porter went from practicing her art on grapefruits and bananas to tattooing on the skin in just a few years, and now the 30-something has opened a new boutique in Gastonia.

Vibrant Ink Tattoos opened on West Franklin Boulevard in March, just as the pandemic that had shut down so many businesses and people from the home began to wane.

“It was a little scary too,” Setzer-Porter said. “Are people going to have money to come in and get tattoos? It wasn’t horrible but it was a little hard.”

Setzer-Porter opened its second Vibrant Ink Tattoos after opening another store of the same name on East Dixon Boulevard in Shelby in November 2020. Setzer-Porter also did a three-year apprenticeship at Public Ink in Gastonia before going into business. solo, and has now occupied the building where she first made her mark in the field of tattooing.

At 30, Setzer-Porter has been in the tattoo industry for four and a half years. As a woman of color in a male-dominated, predominantly white profession, she said it can be difficult to stand out.

“You kind of have to keep your ground. I feel, and it’s only from my point of view, that you kind of have to work harder because you’re not really represented in the industry, so people ignore you, ”she said., an organization that focuses on careers, says men make up over 71% of tattoo artists nationwide and two-thirds of all tattoo artists are white.

Setzer-Porter also works against the myth that people with dark skin cannot get a tattoo.

“I’ve had a lot of my black clients come over to me and say, ‘I’ve been told I can’t get a tattoo because my skin is too dark,'” she said. “It’s just absurd.”

Setzer-Porter especially likes to make large colorful floral pieces and large black and white pieces. Size contributes to the wow factor, she said.

She started thinking about becoming a tattoo artist in her sophomore year of college, around the same time she started getting a tattoo on her own skin.

She was in school to draw and paint, but said making a living selling her artwork didn’t seem possible.

“I was like obsessed with them and I’ve been an artist my whole life too,” she said of her decision to make tattooing her profession.

Setzer-Porter only tattoos in his studio in Shelby. Four other artists work for her in Gastonie.

“Everyone’s goal is to have their own, so what I’m sort of here for is to mentor them on whatever they want to know to eventually have their own store,” she said. declared.

Chantel Setzer-Porter, owner of Vibrant Ink Tattoos in Gastonia
The Vibrant Ink Tattoos storefront located at 1204 W. Franklin Blvd.  in Gastonie.
Chantel Setzer-Porter, owner of Vibrant Ink Tattoos in Gastonia, said she enjoys doing large, colorful tattoos

Vibrant Ink Tattoos is open seven days a week. Appointments are welcome, but appointments are preferred. The business closes at 7 p.m. every day.

Chantel Setzer-Porter is working on Rickson Roberts' tattoo in this archival photograph.

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