Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Massive metal flower sculpture by Southeast student to be featured on Broadway and Sprigg St.

Monday, April 16, 2018
Sculpture student Deanna Hoffman stands on a ladder to weld on her newest sculpture.
Photo by Matt Taylor

Everyone in Cape Girardeau have seen the sculpture work of Southeast Senior Deanna Hoffman. Her works have been featured on Broadway, at Cup’n’Cork and in Kent Library, and she’s working on a new piece through a grant from Broadway Prescription Shop to be installed at the corner of Sprigg and Broadway.

Hoffman’s works are metal sculptures that use extensive welding and metal fabrication to express things that she would often struggle to put into words.

The Cape Girardeau native is a true creative soul. She had a general interest in art from high school, but found her calling while taking Sculpture 1 at Southeast. She began sculpting with wood, but moved on to metal later in the class.

“I was actually really interested in painting and drawing, but as much as I liked to do that I felt it was very competitive and I didn’t have the natural flair for it as I did for sculpture,” Hoffman said.

When Hoffman was first exposed to metal sculpture she had never welded before. She admits there were nerves when she first started, but now she artfully welds entire sculptures.

The piece she is working on for the corner of Sprigg and Broadway is a 4-foot by 8-foot sculpture of a budding flower rising out of the surrounding metal foliage she calls “Bioism.” It holds a deep message about the environment, and how people often mistreat it.

“I just think of a plant as something that is very fragile. You can just pick it from the ground, or step on it. So, I want to make this hard plant that you can’t just step on. You can’t pick out of the ground. You have to look at it,” Hoffman said. “Nature is living, and so are we.”

This piece is the latest in what Hoffman calls a theme for her art, one which she takes the opportunity to celebrate the delicate forms of plants.

“I like the celebration of nature. Why not celebrate about it? It’s great, it’s visually pleasing. It’s just something I’ve always been drawn to,” Hoffman said.

The process of creating this sculpture has helped Hoffman come to an understanding of what she truly was trying to express when she designed it on paper.

“In the beginning, it starts as a design,” she said. “ As I work on it, we develop this relationship and it sort of gains a meaning to me. I feel more inspired as I’m getting through it.”

“Getting through” the sculpture-creation process takes immense work and extensive knowledge of various tools.

First, all of the pieces must be cut out of sheet metal, before being grinded down and welded together, where they again must be grinded smooth around the edges. After all of the pieces are welded and ground, she must find a way to permanently fasten them while maintaining her design.

The process is laborious and stressful, but Hoffman said the reward is worth the price, and she credits the Southeast Arts Department for providing the proper training.

"I think I’m better prepared for my future. [The Art Department] has challenged me; sleepless nights, maybe a couple breakdowns. But it definitely does better me and make me a stronger person, and more responsible,” Hoffman said. “The art department wants to help you, and wants to see you grow.”

Hoffman’s sculpture will be installed by the end of this semester, but she hopes her work as an artist will never end.