The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Advance-Titan published an article this week profiling art professor Richard Masters, whose design was chosen for one of the commemorative 2009 Lincoln Cent reverses. Masters also designed the Nebraska state quarter reverse in 2006. -EditorMost Americans use coins every day, but they probably don.t think about the process of designing and minting the coins.
Richard Masters, an art professor at UW-Oshkosh, was the same way for a long time. He said, .You know, when we were kids collecting coins, you never thought about the artist behind the design on there. You thought the coin gods are doing this, or somebody you never heard of. And when you see your own work on something like that it just seems to make the world smaller..
Masters is a master designer for the U.S. Mint.s Artistic Infusion Program. Since 2004, he.s been designing art for the faces on U.S. coins, and next year his work will grace the iconic penny.
A large replica of the first design, symbolizing Lincoln.s birth, depicts a log cabin and the year 1809, along with the initials of the artist who designed it: .R M. for Richard Masters.
Since his childhood in Iowa, Masters has been doing two things: collecting coins and drawing.
.I seemed to have a special talent for drawing,. he said. .And it.s just something I continued with, all the way through grade school, middle school and high school..
As a kid he picked up the hobby of coin collecting, or numismatics, and it stayed with him through the years.
He submitted his design in early summer, and it went through various revisions. Masters pointed out that many people don.t know the complex process of creating a new coin design.
.It.s all mandated through Congress and signed into law by the president,. Masters said of the schedule for creating new coins and special editions.
Then the various designs go to different advisory committees for suggestions, and the designs selected have to be approved by the mint and the treasury secretary. Then the design is sent to the Mint.s sculptor-engravers to be made into a coin.
Masters. simple log cabin design went through all those steps before he got the call in May of this year confirming that his design would grace millions of pennies that will circulate throughout the U.S.
Masters. designs will be released into circulation Feb. 12, 2009. Masters said he plans to continue designing for the Mint .as long as I.m invited back..
While his art is carried in pockets and purses across America, he.ll be on campus teaching class and in his office, working on the next coin design. To read the complete article, see: Mastering the penny (http://www.advancetitan.com/?se=Features&s=7096)
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Wayne Homren, Editor
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