Credo: Sculptor Jonah Hendrickson

Hendrickson, one of the sculptors who created the bust of former Supervisor Harvey Milk in City Hall, and who is now working on a bust of Mayor Adolph Sutro — tells us about the encouragement he receives from his parents and his wife, and the inspiration he gets from helping people.

Who has had the biggest influence on you in your life?
I’m gonna have to say my parents because my dad had a love of building things out of wood and remodeling our house and building in general. And my mom, in addition to her profession, also had an avocation of painting, and I grew up in a very artistic family. I grew up in Berkeley. My mom took me around to see local Bay Area artists [starting] when I was 9 … My parents have supported me ever since. They encouraged me to pursue what I love.

Is there a “golden rule” by which you live?
Take a genuine interest in other people. And live your life in balance.

Where, or to whom, do you turn to in tough times?
To my wife. My wife is the best. We’ve been together for 14 years. She’s my best friend and my partner.

Where do you find inspiration?
I find a lot of inspiration in connecting with other people. I like to help people. I get inspired when I see other people make little
successes. I really enjoy that.

Is there something about you that people would find surprising?
Growing up, I had a learning disability. I had a lot of trouble reading and writing growing up. I feel very bad about the very small number of books I have read in my life.
Also, that my middle name is Kermit. I didn’t have a middle name. When I was little, my parents asked me, and I got to choose. I named it after my childhood hero.

What would you most want to hear your colleagues say about you?
“I like that guy.”

How did your involvement in the Harvey Milk bust come about?
I was a partner of Daub, Firmin, and Hendrickson — we had a sculpture group, and we looked around for commission opportunities. … I spoke to Susan Pontius, one of the people at the San Francisco Arts Commission. She said, “Yeah, actually there’s something we’re getting involved with — a project to commemorate Harvey Milk, which was right up the alley of the work we did: Historical people … We went to the Castro Street Fair and set up a booth and asked people, “How do you remember him, and what’s the way you want to see him commemorated in a sculpture?” We met people who were really good friends with Harvey Milk and had the opportunity to talk to them about him.

How has your sculpturing changed over the years?
It’s gotten better.

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