Public radio from Western Michigan University 102.1 NPR News | 89.9 Classical WMUK
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Classical WMUK 89.9-FM is operating at reduced power. Listeners in parts of the region may not be able to receive the signal. It can still be heard at 102.1-FM HD-2. We apologize for the inconvenience and are working to restore the signal to full power.
A weekly look at creativity, arts, and culture in southwest Michigan, hosted by Zinta Aistars.Fridays in Morning Edition at 7:50am and at 4:20pm during All Things Considered.

Art Beat: Memory in pieces

Printmaker Erin Hoffman in her studio
Courtesy of the artist
/
Erin Hoffman
Printmaker Erin Hoffman in her studio

Erin Hoffman is a full-time art instructor at Muskegon Community College. She teaches printmaking, art appreciation, drawing, painting, and contemporary art history. Hoffman’s prints combine historical and politically themed imagery to examine aspects of contemporary American society. Many of her prints begin with a collage of memories, triggered by scents, images, or other stimuli that cross her path.

A conversation with Erin Hoffman

“If you think about the way that we understand memories, they are in pieces,” says Hoffman. “So, if you think about if you are walking through a room and suddenly something that might be like your grandmother’s perfume or some kind of food, you’re triggered towards a memory of that, if it’s isolated. It’s an individual item. It might be visual; it might be color; it might be some other kind of sensation, but it’s individual—and I’m interested in what happens when you pair it with something else.”

Virus Teeth by Erin Hoffman
Courtesy of the artist
/
Erin Hoffman
Virus Teeth by Erin Hoffman

To achieve that pairing, Hoffman might use leftover parts of prints she has made before and use them to create collages. These might be the wood blocks used for printing or something else. Hoffman says that she has collected boxes of these blocks, and she may play with different color schemes or cut them up and piece them back together again in a different design.

Some of the topics represented in these new pieces make statements about Hoffman’s perspective on the world.

“I don’t think of myself as an activist,” she says. “I think of myself as an artist who’s responding to contemporary times. I think of contemporary times in the context of history. Again, I’m taking isolated and individual images and sticking them into some other context to think about the relationship between them but also how we got here.”

Hoffman’s work is currently on exhibit as part of the Ninth Annual Group Exhibition at Ninth Wave Studio in Kalamazoo through January 19, 2024. She will return to Ninth Wave Studio in March for a duo exhibition with printmaker Lee Ann Frame.

Hoffman received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2001 from the University of Northern Iowa and her Master of Fine Arts degree in 2005 at the University of Georgia. Both degrees are in printmaking.

Listen to WMUK's Art Beat every Friday at 7:50 a.m. and 4:20 p.m.

Zinta Aistars is our resident book expert. She started interviewing authors and artists for our Arts & More program in 2011.
Related Content