Ben Sollee writing music for the Lexington Tattoo Project

Ben Sollee. © Photo by Magnus Lindqvist.

Ben Sollee. © Photo by Magnus Lindqvist.

Folks attending Saturday night’s “Magnetic Poetry Party” for the Lexington Tattoo Project learned about the latest artist to join the community art initiative. Lexington-based roots cellist Ben Sollee will write music for the video that will be the project’s finale and reveal the image formed by all the dots in the project’s tattoos.

Project co-founder and organizer Kremena Todorova says she was inspired to approach Sollee after seeing him perform a benefit concert for Institute 193 in December.

“He talked about his love for community and how much he loves Lexington,” Todorova says. “So, to me, it seemed obvious that here is this tremendous musician who loves community, who loves collaborating in Lexington.”

In the Tattoo Project, 247 area residents have had words and phrases from The _______ of the Universe, a Bianca Spriggs poem about Lexington, tattooed on their bodies. The tattoos are being photographed, and the pictures will be put together to reform the poem and reveal that secret image in a video that will likely premiere in the fall.

Sollee will write music for Spriggs’ poem.

“He pointed out something that should have been obvious to us, but wasn’t,” Todorova said of herself and co-organizer Kurt Gohde. “The form that Bianca used to write her poem, the contrapuntal, is a musical form. So Ben is thinking about composing the piece with the same kind of form.”

In the contrapuntal style, there are two parts to the work that can be read separately or together, and they will work either way. When Spriggs read the poem at Saturday’s event, she read each portion individually and then read them together.

“He is going to work with Bianca to understand how she hears the poem and the mood of the poem so that the music he composes will go along with that,” Todorova says.

Todorova and Gohde said the project will go quiet for a while as the photograph participants and prepare for the next public event, which will likely be a video shoot in the spring.

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