If You Go
Washougal tattoo artist Ryan “Boomer” Boomhower and his client, Tiffany Renteria, of Vancouver, are working out the final details of Renteria’s newest piece of body art.
Boomhower has already drawn an intricate design, incorporating Renteria’s love of the Portland Timbers soccer team into the tattoo. Now, he is pulling a sunflower into the art and figuring out where to place the tattoo on Renteria’s left thigh.
Unlike some tattoo shops, where generic, pre-drawn designs known as “flash art” reign supreme, Boomhower’s 3rd Heart Tattoo shop in downtown Washougal is dedicated to the art of body art.
“Our walls are decorated with paintings and drawings made by all of us, rather than covered in flash art,” states the introduction on 3rd Heart’s website. “We do have a small collection of flash you can choose from, but we would love to work with you to create something custom, unique and meaningful to you.”
Boomhower, 40, opened the shop in the heart of downtown Washougal in 2014.
“I’ve watched this area grow,” he says, gesturing to the shops outside his 1830 Main St. location. Across the street, locally owned businesses draw customers looking for regionally sourced, sustainable food and drinks (Our Bar) and women’s clothing and accessories (LuLu’s Boutique). Next door, at the former Amnesia Brewing site, Alex Smokehouse serves lunch and dinner. Soon, Logsdon Farmhouse Ales, an award-winning brewery from Hood River, Oregon, will take over as the resident brewer.
“I’ve seen more and more businesses move in,” Boomhower says of his spot on Washougal’s main downtown drag. “It has a very positive, progressive vibe now.”
3rd Heart Tattoo, which includes Boomhower and three other artists, has its own devoted client base.
“We have some Washougal clients, but we’re more of a destination,” Boomhower says. “We have a lot of people who come from Portland. We’ve had clients from Seattle and Kennewick …it’s a lot of word-of-mouth referrals.”
For this father of four, however, the art of tattooing is more than just a business.
“I really enjoy not only the whole process of tattooing but also the human interaction factor of taking someone’s idea and composing it into a piece of art for them to have forever,” Boomhower recently told organizers of the upcoming Washougal Studio Artists Tour, which takes place over Mother’s Day weekend, May 12-13. “Human touch is becoming less and less in our society and tattooing allows us to hang on to that important feeling.”
Boomhower is one of 18 artists included in the inaugural artists’ studio tour, and said he’s looking forward to showing off his tattoo designs, as well as his oil paintings.
“It’s really cool that they’re having something just for Washougal artists,” Boomhower says. “I’ve been impressed with all the work by the other artists.”
Event coordinator Angela Ridgway, a mixed metal artist who will open her studio during the tour, says she was “thrilled … and even a bit surprised” to discover so many talented artists living and working in Washougal.
“I knew we had a hidden wealth of artists living and working in Washougal, and I’m excited that so many want to open their studio doors to the public,” Ridgway says in a press release about the Washougal Studio Artists Tour.
Art lovers can visit any or all of the studios during the Mother’s Day weekend tour, which hits downtown art spots like 3rd Heart Tattoo, as well as artist studios along the Washougal River and in the foothills.
Ridgway says event organizers hope the concentrated tour, which has 10 spots, with some of the 18 artists doubling or tripling up in one studio, will allow visitors to access more artists.
The artists will open their studios from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 12 and Sunday, May 13. The art includes a wide range of mediums — from tattoos and oil paintings at 3rd Heart to the clay and wood pieces at artist Anna Wiancko-Chasman’s Washougal River Road studio; fused glass at artist Shirley Bishop’s 280-square-foot Studio 13; eclectic “dramatic” jewelry at artist Toni McCarthy’s Southeast 357th Avenue studio; and the monochromatic, “highly functional” ceramic pottery at artist and full-time railroad conductor Chris Brodigan’s G Street studio.
Other artists include Anni Becker, acrylic and watercolor; Char McHugh, ceramics; Charlene Hale, fused glass and ceramics; Cyndee Starr, mixed media doodles; Deborah Roberts, colored pencil and acrylic; Jean Hauge, watercolor and pastel; John Furniss, wood; Kathy Beckman, acrylic; Lori Horner, oil and acrylic; Sharon Ballard, acrylic; Suzanne Grover, pastels and mixed media; and Tamara Dinius, mixed media.
Ridgway will show her own mixed media metal art at her Birch Street studio.
“The metal, for me, is key for telling my story in my art,” Ridgway writes in her bio on the WashougalStudioArtists.org site. “Rustic metal has traveled and served a purpose, and now is transformed into something else; something just as purposeful as its original function. The shape, holes, and texture add visual and tactile elements that are vital to the whole story. Even new metal takes on a different look and feel as the process continues. When I combine this with both organic and iridescent hues, it sends the metal, and me, on a new, artistic journey.”
She says the Mother’s Day weekend artists’ tour will be a great way for visitors to enjoy Washougal’s beauty and learn about local artists on a deeper level.
“Studio tours are a wonderful way to see where the magic of creating art happens and learn about both the art and the artists,” she says.
For a full list of artists, a tour map and more information about the first Washougal Studio Artists Tour, visit WashougalStudioArtists.org, facebook.com/washougalstudioartists or #washougalstudioartists on Instagram.