LOUDONVILLE — Brad Baumberger, a tattoo artist with a decade of experience, has opened the Black River Tattoo Co. at 251 W. Main St. In downtown Loudonville.

Baumberger, originally from Mansfield, learned the skill of tattooing in Phoenix, tutored by Bubba Irwin, who earned the professional tattooing title, Inkmaster. He worked with Irwin for a number of years, and on visits back to his home, worked as a guest artist at Min Street Tattoo in Ashland.

"I am a American traditional tattooer" he said, "and I enjoy working history into my tattooing style, with bold, bright colors in the Sailor Jerry mode. Sailor Jerry (in reality Norman Keith Collins, who worked in the World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War eras) was a prominent American tattoo artist made famous for his tattoo images of brave sailors.

For his tattoos, Baumberger uses paint, rather than water colors, and does all of his tattoo painting in house, he said.

"I have over 100 paintings here in the shop, and I can do practically anything, tattoo wise, here," he said. He described the business as "an upscale custom shop emphasizing traditional tattoos, business, but I will also take in walk-in customers."

Baumberger has his paintings displayed throughout of downtown business space, making people who walk in feel as though they are stepping into an art gallery.

"Ideally when I work with a client, I encourage them to come into the shop and talk with me about what they have in mind, getting a good look at the paintings I have and other options," he said. "I want to get a feel for what the client wants.

"Then I charge a $20 deposit, and set up a tattooing appointment," he continued. "I set aside three hours for a tattooing session, usually scheduling them at noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Time to do a tattoo varies. I have worked up to 14 hours in one session with a client, or as little as five minutes with others."

Part of the reason for Baumberger setting up shop in Loudonville is because his wife, Britt's, family is from the area. She is the daughter of Loudonville native Michelle Shrimplin, who, while working her own job, helps him with scheduling appointments and keeping the books.

He prefers clients contact him by phone first at 419-920-9061 and setting up introductory appointments.

Baumberger grew up in the Mansfield area and is a graduate of Mansfield Madison High School.

He said he chose the name Black River Tattoo Co. to reflect the Mohican area with reference to "River," but with its own uniqueness, "the Black."