3-Minute Interview: Joo-Hee Bae

The Academy of Art graduate, 39, of San Francisco, won the coveted Elisabeth Gordon Chandler Prize in the 2008 National Competition for Figurative Sculpture in Connecticut last month. Bae was one of 13 people in the nation chosen by the National Sculpture Society to compete.

You had to model a full-length figure in 28 hours over five days. What was it like having to create under a time crunch? There was a lot of pressure, especially the last day, when we had to make fingers and toes.It took a lot of time, but we needed to hurry. I kind of enjoyed that.

This was your first competition, and you went to school for sculpting later in life. Did it take you a long time to know it was what you wanted? I actually started sculpting when I was in high school. Then I got married and was taking care of children, so there was about eight years where I didn’t pursue it as much. I was working as a high school teacher in Korea seven years ago when I decided to move to San Francisco and go to the Academy of Art.

Did your family move with you? Yes, we all moved. My children are 14 and 11 now.

How long have you been dreaming of participating in the competition? For three years, since one of my instructors introduced me to it. The competition is the only one of its kind.

Did you know you were one of the best figurative sculptors in the United States? [Laughs] I hoped so.

You’re sculpting the same models for hours and days. What sort of relationship do you develop with them? It’s forbidden to talk a lot with the model, because it’s a competition. My model was a very young and friendly girl, and eventually we smiled at each other and said “Thank you.”

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Mayor London Breed said the city would pause reopening plans in order to “make sure we continue our cautious and deliberate approach.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF slows down reopening after COVID-19 cases rise

Restaurants no longer permitted to increase indoor dining capacity to 50 percent

Toilet (Shutterstock)
Table salt and poop: Testing for COVID-19 in S.F. sewage

The City’s sewers could provide an early warning of fresh outbreaks

CCSF file photo
Workforce development fund to support training programs at City College

Supervisors back plans to use $500K toward economic recovery efforts through CCSF

Lakeshore Elementary School was closed in March shortly before SFUSD closed all schools due to coronavirus concerns. The district is now working to prepare all elementary schools to reopen by mid-January.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
School district preparing buildings for hybrid learning

SFUSD plans to use 72 elementary schools and 12 early education sites for first phase of reopening

Most Read