At the Wolf Den Custom Tattoo Studio in Denver, every artist is a woman or non-binary

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It’s not easy to stand out as a tattoo shop on Colfax Avenue.

But step inside The Wolf Den and you’ll find a shop unlike any other in town. Visitors are greeted with warm jewel tones, comfortable furniture and the winding vines of house plants that give the space a serene, verdant vibe. And then your eyes are inevitably drawn to a neon sign on the back wall: “All female studio,” it reads, and suddenly it becomes apparent why this tattoo shop feels so different from its neighbors.

Lead artist Ryane Urie — who is non-binary and uses the pronouns they/them — first opened The Wolf Den in RiNo in 2017 after years of working in shops largely staffed by male artists. The studio moved to Colfax last year and is currently undergoing a renovation that will add a community art gallery.

“I wanted it to be where it kind of, like, transports you into like a different world essentially, where you kind of feel like you’re walking into a forest, and you feel safe because your community is in it,” they said of the shop’s colorful and comforting design.

But Urie’s design choices aren’t just about looking cool. Their goal was to create a safe space for women, non-binary and LGBTQIA+ people who may not feel as comfortable getting tattooed in a traditionally male-dominated space. But they also wanted to make tattooing more comfortable for male customers, who make up much of Urie’s own client base.

“(Men) get a safe space to hurt and not feel judged or have a bravado about it,” they said of the tattoo process, which — let’s be honest — is not always the comfiest experience. “I never really thought about that aspect until this space was created.”

The shop also uses only vegan products and is low-plastic, another aspect that makes it stand out.

“Almost all of our products are a compressed wheat stock or corn starch to create the plastic,” Urie said. “We’re trying to have the (smallest) footprint we can.”

The Wolf Den Custom Tattoo Studio, 6640 E. Colfax Ave., 720-917-9406.

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