By Erin Rook, PQ Monthly
Ritual Arts Tattoo & Body Piercing helps keep Portland queer, green, and covered in ink with its vegan-friendly body modification shop. The queer-owned Hollywood neighborhood shop opened July 2011 and attracts loyal customers who rely on Ritual Arts to provide a uniquely enlightened experience.
“The energy and intention of the space … is palpable from the moment you set foot in the door,” says co-creator and body piercer Seven Wolfe. “We strive to keep the space clean, clear, comfortable, magical, and sparkly.”
The tattoo and piercing shop creates that ambiance by collaborating with energy healers, astrologists, artists, and others to create a space that supports the body modification rituals being performed there. That said, Ritual Arts respects the beliefs, or lack thereof, of all its clients.
“We diligently maintain a respectful atmosphere in which to receive your body modification,” Wolfe, 35, says. “Folks wanting to foster a more ceremonial experience with memorial tattoos/piercings, rites of passage, and body reclamation projects can receive Reiki and guided meditation as part of their experience. Although we offer vegan and woo services, we recognize that not everyone is interested in this kind of approach. We respect and appreciate the diversity of our clientele.”
What does it mean to be a “vegan and woo” tattoo and piercing shop?
“Many other shops carry body jewelry made of bone, horn, quills, and feathers. Without a discerning eye it may be hard to tell the difference between wood and horn or bone,” Wolfe says. “We take the guesswork out and only carry vegan materials. It also means that we can create and care for a tattoo using exclusively vegan products if that is your preference.”
The black pigment in tattoo ink is often made from the ash of burnt animal bones and all colors of ink as well as commonly used tattoo aftercare products may contain animal-derived glycerin.
Ritual Arts brings the woo (a slang term that encompasses mysticism, new-age or neo-pagan spirituality, and the esoteric arts) by hosting astrological readings and lunar cycle workshops by Priestess Yolanda Valenzuela and carrying sacred objects, crystals, mala beads, and altar boxes.
Everything in the tattoo and piercing shop is not only animal and spirit friendly, but also planet friendly. Ritual Arts is green certified by the Green Business Bureau, which Wolfe says is more than a catch phrase. To promote transparency, he encourages visitors to the shop’s website to click on the GBB icon to find the long list of specific steps Ritual Arts is taking to minimize its impact on the environment.
“To us being green certified means that we are committed to minimizing our negative impact on the environment by using as many sustainable practices as we can,” Wolfe says. This includes practicing the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) and supporting local vendors.
Fortunately, Wolfe has a solid team supporting him in his holistic vision, including co-founder and tattoo artist Jesse Enz, tattoo artists Tina Greer and Chaz Vitale, and Aubin Carlson providing staff support.
“[We] manifested Ritual Arts …with help from our loved ones and a diverse community of energy healers, artists, and folks with some knowledge of construction,” Wolfe says. “The biggest rewards are community building with our neighbors and area businesses, our lovely clients, and being a part of their ritual of celebrating and reclaiming their body. I am honored to be a part of their intentional transformation…. Being where I am today is destiny and magic.”