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New tattoo studio opens by Apple River

Chris Langer and Jinx are the co-owners of InkFreak - Somerset's newest tattoo studio located just off the Apple River. They offer custom tattoos and eventually piercing services to their clients.

Although their business opened on Friday the 13th, co-owners Chris Langer and Jinx are hoping that the bad stigma of the day will not affect their place.

InkFreak, located at 103 Main St. in Somerset, is a custom-art tattoo studio.

"It's not a 'tattoo shop,'" Langer emphasized, "it's a 'studio' because it's all about the art."

In fact, walking into the facility one immediately senses this is not a typical tattoo place.

Dark wood covers the floors and the walls are painted a light burgundy. A sectional black leather sofa faces a wall of windows opening to the 200 square-foot deck overlooking the Apple River.

"We plan to put in a big screen TV in the corner," Jinx explained. "And over in the studio section we'll have glass block stair-stepping to provide privacy."

Although they are still working on getting the 1,300 square-foot interior decorated, they have a portfolio of the past 15 years of Jinx's work on display.

A native of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., Jinx - who goes only by one name - got into tattooing at the prompting of her then-boyfriend. After learning the ropes, she worked at Tatts by Zapp for 11 years, although she has been doing actual tattooing for 15 years.

She was able to start her own studio thanks to a patron of more than 10 years.

Opening her portfolio, she points out an older man with a full color 10-inch bald eagle on his arm. She said he's since passed away, but he was so impressed by her artistic abilities that he left her the money to start her own business.

"I've been looking to open a shop here for a number of years," Jinx said. "Even when I was working at Tatts by Zapp, many campers from Somerset would come by."

Langer will work the front desk while Jinx does the artwork. They are hoping to hire an experienced piercer soon to occupy a separate room of the studio, as well as hire another tattoo artist.

"We're planning on bringing in artists from all over the country and overseas - I already have four guest artists lined up," Jinx said.

Langer said they really want people to be educated about the art of tattooing.

"You can't just go by how long someone had been doing tattoos," Langer advised, "you have to look at their portfolio and make sure it's legitimate."

"We want to be a resource," Jinx added. "Even if I can't do that tattoo, I can point you to someone in the area who can. I know a lot of good artists around here."

InkFreak is open Tuesday-Saturday from noon-8 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome, and consultations are encouraged. For more information, call 715-247-2345 or visit their website.

"This place is pretty hopping in the summer," Jinx said. "There is a lot of drive-through traffic and the location is just awesome."