February 5, 2014 | Volume 8, Issue 2

Smartphone apps, social networking sites can be dangerous for kids; parents need to know the dangers, including bullying

While the salmon (where have they gone?) and eagle sculptures overlooking the roundabouts along Lundeen Park Way are a nice reflection of the local fauna surrounding our community, a local artist sees traffic circles as a blank canvas for a more abstract type of design.  Keith Hoffman, a fifteen year resident of Lake Stevens, has been experimenting with geometric art periodically for most of that time, but has not had much publicity regarding his creations.  Now, he would like to create a luminous spherical sculpture for a public installation in Lake Stevens and wants your help.

Drawing by: Keith Hoffman
A mock-up drawing of Keith Hoffman’s sculpture for the Lundeen Roundabout.

“Crowdfunding of individual business ventures has come to the forefront in recent years, but I would like to see the same idea applied to public art.  Community involvement and support seems an important step in adding a sculpture like this in a prominent place.  Too often, I have heard negative comments about public art installations and how they are a waste of taxpayer’s money.  If we can come together as a community to fund and construct something on our own, I think it says a lot more than if county or city planners do something similar without consulting their constituents.

If we find that people are enthusiastic about supporting my project, I think that the currently vacant roundabout just east of Lundeen Park would be an ideal location for this piece.  Although, I have no idea what the timeline is for the return of the salmon (are they on a four year cycle?)  I am open to alternate ideas as there are other suitable spots around town that I wouldn’t mind seeing my creation occupy.  I may even just leave it in my front yard next to the little library, but ideally, it would reside somewhere with more visibility.”

Hoffman created a similar, smaller version of this piece a few years ago that was made from 120 surplus plastic rulers that he picked up cheap at a liquidation store in Everett.  That sculpture, “Metrology”, currently resides in the math department at Cavelero Mid-High.  “Wanting to make something even more striking this time I am going to use fluorescent acrylic.  It is really a fascinating material and will make this

particular creation pop with the glowing edges when exposed to UV light during the daylight hours.  I can’t wait to see it on a foggy day.  This larger version (yet to be named) will be a bit more robust as it will be outside year-round.  Thick acrylic with stainless steel fasteners should be able to endure our Northwest environment for a long time.”

He estimates that the material cost of this project will be in the $300-$700 range depending on the final size.  “I am happy to provide the labor for the fabrication and assembly if I can raise enough financial support to procure the materials.  To me, this is just a fun project, but even more so if I know a lot of people will get to see (and hopefully enjoy) the end product.”

Working full time as a mechanical engineer (currently for Freefly Systems in Woodinville) and raising three children with his wife, Amy, has left little extra time for his creative side to flourish.  Most of his artwork up to this point has been virtual, computer images that are shared with friends and family members, but not reaching a broader audience.  “When I first started getting serious about this, I challenged myself to complete one design a month that I would share via email with a small group of friends.  This has been a great motivator for me, without this self-imposed deadline, I would probably go months at a time without doing anything creative.  However, many of these designs that were produced under this tight deadline were little more than sketches or simple models.

So now, I feel that I am taking the next step as an artist by increasing the scale of my creation, refining it and sharing it with more people in a public way.  Unlike some, my goal with my art is not to convey any type of message, but just to show people something that they have never seen before and possibly inspire others to follow their own creative impulses.”

Hoffman first got into this unusual hobby of his while taking computer drafting courses at North Seattle Community College.  “For as long as I can remember, I had a desire to create, but outside of a few tedious woodcarving projects, I rarely had the technical ability or patience to draw anything artistic that I was especially proud of. Once I learned how to generate, manipulate and copy virtual geometry using computer aided design and drafting programs, I was suddenly freed of the tedious drawing work that I previously shied away from.  This has allowed me to transfer the ideas in my head onto the computer screen much more rapidly than drawing alone.  

Using the same tools that I have become proficient with doing my 9-5 job, I can invent shapes that most others never dream of.  That has become the fun part for me.  Being able to share the creations that I have come up with and hearing positive feedback.  Now I want to take one of my creations and share it with our community in a tangible way.”

If you would like to help Hoffman fund the materials he needs in order to create a design like the one we show here go to his Gofundme link at: http://www.gofundme.com/aejzro

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