My Name Is... Hannah Peiffer

Artist and Colorado native descended from pioneers

Posted 3/11/19

Miner's daughter When I was born I lived in Victor, a mining ghost town in the mountains, south of Cripple Creek. It's a big part of my identity. There were hardly any people there, and I had the …

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My Name Is... Hannah Peiffer

Artist and Colorado native descended from pioneers

Posted

Miner's daughter

When I was born I lived in Victor, a mining ghost town in the mountains, south of Cripple Creek.

It's a big part of my identity. There were hardly any people there, and I had the freedom to wander around an abandoned city by myself. I would explore empty buildings and hike around in the hills.

It made me care about Colorado in a different way from other people. I'm really more of a city person, but it made me care a lot about the parts of Colorado that aren't cities.

Gold Rush days

My dad's side of the family came to Colorado in the 1890s, during the Cripple Creek gold rush. My ancestor Vernon Peiffer wasn't a miner, though. He was a businessman and politician, and opened a bottling company and soda shop. The family legend is that he also made alcohol during prohibition.

Several generations of Peiffer men after him were miners, including my dad.

My heritage makes me feel two ways about Colorado's growth: I understand people have always come here for opportunities and to work hard. Colorado's always been exploited for its resources, whether it's mining or tourism or fracking or tech.

That will always happen, but I feel like there's something unique and special about Colorado that some recent transplants don't appreciate. Some of the previous generations who moved here for mining, they might have had a greater reverence for the land, because the land was providing their money.

Artist's life

My art is mostly what you'd call illustration — it's more geared to accompany a story. I have stories in my head that inspire them. It's the sort of thing you might see in a kid's book.

Art's always been part of my life. Kids are encouraged to make art, but for me that never went away.

I went to school for art history. Art is the ultimate self-made career. You're supporting yourself by your own brain and capabilities. The older I get, the more that's my dream.

If you have suggestions for My Name Is, please contact David Gilbert at dgilbert@coloradocommunitymedia.com.

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