The Cincinnati Tattoo Project, a large-scale community artwork, is a collaboration between partners-in-art Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova, and ArtWorks Cincinnati. Kurt and Kremena live and work in Lexington, KY. In 2014 their public artwork the Lexington Tattoo Project was recognized by Americans for the Arts as one of the nation’s 37 best public art projects. Currently, Kurt and Kremena are also working on Love Letter To the World, spreading love and peace globally, one tattoo and one line of poetry at a time. ArtWorks is an award-winning non-profit organization that employs and trains local youth and talent to create art and community impact through three strategic programming areas: Public Art, including an extensive mural program; an art therapy division, ArtRx; and an entrepreneurial arm, Creative Enterprise.
The Cincinnati Tattoo Project is the third of its kind in the nation. It is a companion artwork to the original, the Lexington Tattoo Project. What started as a Facebook request for Lexington, KY residents to have the words of a love poem to their city inked on their bodies became a local phenomenon and quickly garnered national attention.
The Cincinnati Tattoo Project was launched in September 2014, when thousands of people who call the Queen City home were invited to “ink their love” by writing down the memories and experiences that keep Cincinnati close to their hearts. The poem for the Cincinnati Tattoo Project was crafted based on these memories and experiences by the writing team at Chase Public.
Kurt and Kremena divided the poem into words and phrases, and designed each of them as a unique tattoo. All tattoos use the same font and share a pattern so that each tattoo is recognizable as part of the same artwork. A year-long project, the Cincinnati Tattoo Project culminated in November 2015 with a party (of course!) and the premiere of a video artwork made by Kurt and Kremena. The video showcases the finished tattoos and unveils a secret image that can only be seen when each of the tattoos is shown as part of the whole. The music for the video was composed by Ben Sloan.