Karen Ann Hoffman

Lesson: Artists are Inspired by Other Artists

Native art has been on this landscape for a very long time. It has existed in a few basic forms for a very long time. Some of those forms are pictographs and petroglyphs. They are pictures drawn onto rock faces or pictures scratched into rock.

–Karen Ann Hoffman, Oneida Nation of Wisconsin

Themes: Continuation
Learning Objective: Students will learn the brief history of Karen Ann Hoffman’s Rock Art Caribou, then will create their own artwork inspired by another artist’s work.

Background Information

Native American artists have been actively creating artwork in North America for tens of thousands of years. Though many materials used to create art – hides, vegetal materials, clay, wood, etc. – break down over time and leave little or no trace, other works like pictographs and petroglyphs leave a lasting impression over time. In cases where the weather is dry and the work is protected from weather, pollution and human interaction, these ancient artworks have remained intact for thousands of years.

One such work served as the inspiration for Rock Art Caribou by artist Karen Ann Hoffman. At some point long ago, a Native American artist carved an image of a caribou into a rock in an area we know today as Wisconsin. Countless years later, Karen Ann was, in her words, “privileged to be the first person in modern times to see this piece of rock art.” The location was difficult to get to, even with modern technology; so to honor the drawing, the artist who created it, and the effort they took to leave this art in such a hidden place, Karen Ann made Rock Art Caribou.

Check out a video of Karen Ann creating Rock Art Caribou.

animal beadwork on gray velvet tapestry


Create art inspired by another artist.

Have you ever been inspired by another artist? It’s good to be inspired, but not so good to outright copy another artist’s work. As you look for inspiration, be sure to incorporate your own unique ideas and creativity into the piece.

Look through the Eiteljorg’s online collection database for ideas or try re-creating the image like Karen Ann did, making it your own by adding unique elements. Instead of beads, think about other materials you can use to make a new version of the image you chose— maybe buttons, pebbles, tissue paper, construction paper, glitter, or a combination of different materials.

Words you need to know


Doing something in the same way over time.


A large type of deer with antlers; a reindeer.


Pictures drawn onto rock surfaces.


Pictures scratched into rock surfaces.

All Lessons By Karen Ann