Residents of Boulder who have a deep love, commitment and connection to the city are needed to create the canvas of an artwork, the second of its kind in the nation, created by Kentucky-based artists Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova.

The Boulder Tattoo Project currently is recruiting volunteers who want to be part of the artwork. Participants receive free tattoos designed by the artists that, when photographed and shown together, reveal a hidden image.

The tattoos are words and phrases of a poem that is, in essence, a love letter to the city of Boulder written by poet Anne Waldman, one of the founders of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poets at Naropa University.

Gohde and Todorova created the project in Lexington, Ky., where they are both professors – of art and American literature, respectively – at Transylvania University. The pair has collaborated on numerous artworks during the past seven years.

“We have traveled the country working together on various projects,” said Todorova. “We never imagined we would receive such a positive and inspiring response from a work we created in our hometown. It was amazing.”

The Lexington Tattoo project received national media attention and drew interest from people around the country who wanted the artists to create a similar project in their locales.

Chelsea Pohl, owner of Locheart Arts and originally from Lexington, Ky., heard about the project’s success in Lexington and thought it was a perfect pairing with the Boulder art scene. So she contacted the artists.

“The project marries multiple art forms and establishes community in a provocative and unequivocal way,” said Pohl, who serves as project manager for The Boulder Tattoo Project. “There is also an opportunity for local businesses and individuals to receive recognition for support of the arts through sponsorship. This is an exciting project and, so far, we’ve received great feedback.”

The Boulder Tattoo Project includes commissioning a love poem to Boulder, written by Waldman, tattooing words and phrases from the poem on participants, documenting the process and photographing the finished work. It will be an ongoing project that will culminate with a short film that showcases the finished tattoos and unveils the image that can only be seen when each of the tattoos are shown as one image.

To participate, volunteers must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Consider Boulder home.
  • Love Boulder.
  • Be willing to participate in meet and greets and other events.
  • Be willing to be photographed and filmed during the process.
  • Be in or around Boulder for the next year or so to participate in related events.

Interested participants and potential sponsors should contact Pohl at Waldman’s poem will be released near Aug. 1. Tattooing, by Claw and Talon Tattoo is slated to start late in the year. 

Gohde and Todorova traveled to Boulder in April to start initial work on the project. The artists plan to return in late October.

“Residents of Boulder have begun to take interest and we’re looking forward to working closely with all of them,” said Gohde. “This project really is a community collaborative. If you feel a special connection with Boulder – no matter your age, race or gender – we’d love to have you participate. All comers are welcome.”

For more information about the Boulder Tattoo Project, visit Join the Boulder Tattoo Project online community on Facebook at

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