Colorado Creatives

100 Colorado Creatives 4.0: Susan Hover Oehme

Susan Hover Oehme, "Bath Bomb," 2018.
Susan Hover Oehme, "Bath Bomb," 2018. Courtesy of Susan Hover Oehme
#46: Susan Hover Oehme

Steamboat Springs was only designated a creative district last year, but master printer Susan Hover Oehme has been making artful things happen in the northwest Colorado town for years, first as director of the print studio Riverhouse Editions, and since 2010 at her own state-of-the-art printmaking facility, Oehme Graphics. In the Colorado printmaking community, she’s known statewide, and a slew of regional artists have worked with her or learned from her at workshops in Denver and all over the state. Oehme’s presence is integral to Denver’s Month of Printmaking and its programming; this is the month to see her work in town — and learn more about her via the 100CC questionnaire.

click to enlarge Susan Oehme examining a new print. - COURTESY OF SUSAN HOVER OEHME
Susan Oehme examining a new print.
Courtesy of Susan Hover Oehme
Westword: What (or who) is your creative muse?

Susan Hover Oehme: Oh boy. Right now, it's simply doing the work. My head is exploding with ideas. I guess my muse is my brain — is that even an answer? Thoughts float in and out about reuse, regeneration, reduction, addition, color, texture, chaos, regulation, layers, depth, resistance.

Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to invite to your next party, and why?

Only three? I can think of at least 39 people I would LOVE to sit down to dinner with! But to answer the question from an artistic standpoint only, I suppose these would be on the top of the list: Louise Bourgeois, because her work was a catalyst for so many young women, and it's beautiful; Aldo Crommelynck, (Google him) because of his extraordinary skills as a master printer, and I always wanted to meet him; and, and, and...Mark Rothko, because of well, you know, color.

click to enlarge Susan Hover Oehme, "In Out, Up Down 12," 2017. - COURTESY OF SUSAN HOVER OEHME
Susan Hover Oehme, "In Out, Up Down 12," 2017.
Courtesy of Susan Hover Oehme
What’s the best thing about the local creative community in your field — and the worst?

I love it when we, as printmakers, share information and process. Not sharing — being proprietary and closed — is the worst. If we all have more knowledge, we will ALL be better for it. I am an open book.

What made you turn to printmaking in the first place?

In school at the University of Michigan, I majored in painting and printmaking. I think I was the first multi-tasker, before the term was coined. Painting can be filled with angst and turmoil, lots of sitting and looking; printing is often filled with process-driven tasks that one can accomplish while THINKING about their paintings. 

click to enlarge A print comes to life at Oehme Graphics. - COURTESY OF SUSAN HOVER OEHME
A print comes to life at Oehme Graphics.
Courtesy of Susan Hover Oehme
Are trends worth following? What’s one trend you love and one that you hate?

Not even sure what a trend is — so, no, I don't follow them, and I’m not planning to.

What’s your best or favorite accomplishment as an artist?

Well, another hard question. I think that my best accomplishment is grounded in how many artists I have helped realize their artist visions. I guess that's not really about me, but that's what I love to do as a master printer.

You’ve come this far in life. What’s still on your bucket list?

Traveling with my amazing husband to Europe and Asia. Making as many beautiful paintings as I possibly can. Pushing into the works with activism, but not making things overtly political.

Denver, love it or leave it? What keeps you here — or makes you want to leave?

I love the Denver art scene, but like so many, hate the incessant growth and consequent traffic. Luckily, I don't live there and can handle the drive down once a month.

click to enlarge A printmaking demo with Susan Oehme. - COURTESY OF SUSAN HOVER OEHME
A printmaking demo with Susan Oehme.
Courtesy of Susan Hover Oehme
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?

Kim Keith, the executive director of the newly designated Steamboat Springs Creative District. With help from our SSCD steering committee, she’s completely turned the town of Steamboat into a hub of artistic activity.

What's on your agenda in the coming year?

Lots of new print projects with artists, teaching at Anderson Ranch, Scripps College, the Women's Studio Workshop, the Young at Art Camps in Steamboat and spending every moment of my free time in the studio.

click to enlarge Susan Hover Oehme, "Crazy Uncle," 2018. - COURTESY OF SUSAN HOVER OEHME
Susan Hover Oehme, "Crazy Uncle," 2018.
Courtesy of Susan Hover Oehme

Who do you think will (or should) get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?

My fellow printmakers at Space Gallery, Monroe Hodder, Taiko Chandler, Diane Cionni, Sarah Gjertson, Catherine Chauvin, Wendy Kowynia, Pat Aaron and Space Gallery, as Michael Burnett has been so instrumental in launching the careers of so many talented artists.

In conjunction with Mo’Print 2018, see Susan Oehme’s work in Informed: Print as an Influence at Space Gallery, 400 Santa Fe Drive, through April 7; Master Printmakers and Print Educators in Colorado at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, through April 8; and at the Mo’Print Open Portfolio, March 17, from 2 to 5 p.m. at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street. Learn more at the Mo’Print home page. Visit Oehme’s website and the Oehme Graphics page online for a closer look at the artist and her work.
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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd