After the Boulder Tattoo Project commissioned world-renowned poet and 2013 Guggenheim fellow Anne Waldman to write a love letter to Boulder, "Boulder Zodiac" was parsed into 218 segments and tattooed onto the bodies of 218 volunteers last fall. Some of them got complete phrases, some just commas -- and then six participants skipped town, which necessitated a second round of tattoos for the final phase of the project.
"Because they moved before we could capture an image of their tattoo, we had to re-assign their word or phrase to a new participant," recounts project manager Chelsea Pohl. Consequently, there are now "twelve tattoo twins running around, though six are in other states at this point," she notes.
Photographer Andrew Brislin's photographs of the tattoos were critical to the project because the Lexington, Kentucky-based project founders, Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova, wanted to transform the photos into an eight-minute film with music composed by Gregory Alan Isakov and a recording of Waldman's reading of the poem at Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Cafe in Boulder last August.
The film, which premieres this week, features "one image per word/phrase of the poem," explains Pohl. "We did individual portrait photos. Some were closeups and some were full body shots. Sort of depended on placement of the body." "I was amazed at everyone's energy," Pohl concludes. "I was impressed by how excited everyone was and how punctual most people were! The most amazing thing by far was the stamina and workload the tattoo artists took on. They really showed amazing spirit throughout the whole week."
The Boulder Tattoo Project film will screen at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 2 at the Boulder Theater. Tickets are $10 and up (sixteen and under are free) and benefit Boulder Arts Week; they can be purchased online or at the door.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.