Blood, Sweat, Tears, and Ink

By Anne Hoff

Community. Through ink, blood, sweat, and tears. The tactile quality, the magical appearance of transferred image, the heartbreak of visual “bust,” long hours of toil, rewarding surprises… this is printmaking.

In an ephemeral touch of finger to the smooth limestone, I was in love, the slick, sensual tactile quality of the antique litho. Stone hooked me. Past lives affect? Innate intuition, whatever it was, I was committed.  Thus, the unconscious, the intuitive nature of the creative fields takes hold of us. An unexplained obsession of process and product. The tactile, always the tactile. As loving as stroking the body of a lover, our instinct tells us it is correct. True.

Thus, my realization that I was a printmaker. During an annual printmaking conference, I had the chance meeting with a like-minded printmaker from Reno, Candace Garlock. Here was an individual who shared my passion and interest in the medium of plate, ink, and press process.    

This chance meeting created for me a connection to the northern part of our immense state of Nevada. Distance meant nothing, to travel and share in a community of individuals in other parts of the state; we were partners in a quest, to connect, communicate, and plot projects.

Printmaking, by its nature is a means to create multiples. With a little extra work, one can easily share their work with colleagues across the state, region or globe. This wonderful experiment is called a portfolio exchange. What a joy, to send out copies of your work and, in return, to receive a volume of images. What a great conversation piece to connect with other artists, as well as an amazing teaching tool for educators.

With distance comes determination and yes, stubbornness. It is in this sense of persistence that so many artists pursue their passion, making their mark on small step at a time. Thus, the development of RIFT, a show of printmaking artists from across our state—all of us from such different backgrounds and influences, following the siren call of printmaking. Uniting ourselves in our pursuit of visual language, despite the distance, challenges and geographical rifts that we cross to continue our quest and love, printmaking. 

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Anne Hoff is the professor of Printmaking and Drawing at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. Her work is in several university, museum and corporate collections, and she enjoys showing her work locally and nationally. She is the curator of RIFT: A Collection of Nevada Printmakers, currently on display at the Nevada Humanities Program Gallery in Las Vegas. Anne’s work can be viewed on her website:

Maren Rush