After growing up in Cherry Ridge, and then traveling around North America where he held various jobs in various locations, Neil Macmillan returned to his home town area about four years ago to open Nipawin Body Arts, a tattoo and piercing studio.
“My art seemed to lend itself to this,” he said of his work as a tattoo artist. “I like the artistic end of it… It’s a passion for art.”
Macmillan’s first work as a tattoo artist was on himself at the age of 19, when he was at a party. In the years that followed, through the process of trial and error, he managed to learn different techniques, both by himself and through being shown some things by other tattoo artists. In this time he’s also been honing his artistic skills through graphite drawings. Some are on display in his tattoo studio.

Although he grew up in Nipawin, it didn’t take him long to leave town and explore North America, while also exploring various professions. He worked as a mechanic, in auto bodywork, as a cook, as well as in different work with computers, and as a professional drummer for various bands. He spent five years on the road until quitting about 17 years ago.
People bring in pictures and designs of their own, though he also designs tattoos. Although some people get some ideas from tattoo books he has, he said that he tends to change them quite a bit in order to make sure that the tattoos he puts on people are unique.

One of his preferences is to do black and gray tattoos, stemming from his chosen medium of graphite drawings, though he said most tattoos he does are in colour. And Macmillan knows a little something or two about buyer’s remorse. Something he advises people to never get tattooed on themselves is someone’s name. “Unless they’re children, family, parents, you don’t want to put a name on you,” he said, adding that he always warns people against it before they get such a tattoo.

In addition to his work as a tattoo artist, Macmillan has also become involved in the Nipawin community. As part of what has become a family tradition starting with his father, Donald Macmillan, Neil is involved with the Nipawin’s Elks Club, and has been a member for the past 25 years. His eldest son is also a member.