After an amazing career, Peter Hoffer will be retiring as a professor in the fine art department of Marywood University after working here since 1973. His teaching career has taken him from Virginia, to Michigan and finally here, to Marywood. He has taught Art History, Illustration and Graphic Design, but ultimately landed on Printmaking.
I asked Peter to answer a few questions and here are his answers!
What do you enjoy most about printmaking?
What I enjoy most about printmaking is its history, diversity of processes, and ever-expanding potential to create results ranging from precise and controlled to spontaneous and painterly. Another plus is the ability to work directly, hands-on and to be one’s own publisher—of hard copy, as it were—making originals as series or multiples. With today’s digital technology, there is also the option to enlist or incorporate computer aspects with traditional craft applications to try new visual and production possibilities. Gaining more knowledge about printmaking, whether practices developed yesterday or a millennium ago, is always interesting to me and leads to increased appreciation.
Teaching printmaking has also allowed me introduce the practice, including historical aspects, to students who often have had little involvement with it. It’s been gratifying to see the “lights go on,” to facilitate beginners’ exciting discoveries and aptitudes. Effective and dynamic printmaking require skills and sensibilities not always used in other media. Making prints is not every artist’s cup of tea. An accomplished painter may find making woodcuts awkward, but might excel making screen prints, or perhaps with training and persistence, lithographs and etchings.
What is your favorite type of printmaking technique and why?
Although I have personally worked in and enjoyed all the major processes, my favorite types of printmaking applications are relief and screen printing. These were my gateways, kick starting my interest in prints and a serious pursuit of art. They appealed to me in part because they were more immediate and direct, and partly because I discovered an affinity with them. Printmakers seem to have a certain amount of ink running in their bookish, graphic-oriented veins. Perhaps it’s the smell of inks and solvents, or the tempo of repetitive movements and duplication, calling up ghosts from a past life as a printer?
What will you miss about teaching?
Teaching has obviously suited me. It has provided me an opportunity to work in a respected academic community and environment where many students and colleagues enriched my life, through shared objectives, values, and friendships. I will likely miss this daily involvement and exchange, but I look forward to keeping up my connections to Marywood and to lending a helping hand from time to time.
Thank you for letting me interview you, Peter, we will miss you! Enjoy your retirement!