World Coins

Interview with the artist: Canadian coin designer Jesse Koreck

Jesse Koreck’s whimsical design of a snowman throwing snowballs is now available on a silver $20 coin available at face value from the Royal Canadian Mint.

The coin is the third design that Koreck has created for the RCM. Coin World recently contacted Koreck to explore the art that he has created for the RCM as well as some of his other projects outside numismatics, which include conceptual art, design and illustration, and even the development of a mobile app. 

Koreck is based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Here is a slightly edited transcription of those questions and his answers. 

Coin World: How did you come to work with the RCM?

Jesse Koreck: The RCM contacted me in 2011 with the task of contributing more stylized, untraditional and dynamic design concepts. My portfolio and field of study focuses on both technical and scientific illustration, which offers a unique perspective and approach to coin design.

CW: Did the RCM approach you for a design contest, or with a specific request in mind, or did they want to modify a design that you had already created?

JK: All of my designs with the RCM have been through Art Design Requests with specific plans and requirements to illustrate original concepts.  There are always certain guidelines to follow, but they are very open to letting the artists explore and take the design into new creative places.

CW: What did you learn about the coin production process in creating the design for them – did the RCM  explain how coins are struck; what technical considerations were you alerted to?

JK: I learned very quickly early on just how easy it was to get carried away with adding one too many details to a large illustration that will eventually be reduced tremendously in size. They were very helpful all along the creative process in explaining how we could achieve the results we were after. It was a playful challenge of getting just the right balance of detail, shape and form.

CW: When did the whole process begin, and how long did it take to unfold?

JK: The whole process began earlier in the year and it moved rather quickly. The creative process was roughly 2 weeks from concepts to final drawing. 

CW: How does an artist make the transition from industrial and advertising design, flat mediums, to something three-dimensional?

JK: The process of going from more flat mediums to three-dimensions in design may seem like a large jump, but I think it can be a natural transition by looking for similarities throughout all mediums, such as how light sources and materials behave.

CW: Is this your first coin design?

JK: This will be my third minted fine silver coin (in the $20 for $20 series) from the Royal Canadian Mint. Keeping with the holiday cheer, last year I produced the 2013 silver Santa coin from the same series. 

My very first coin was the commemorative Farewell to the Penny silver $20 coin, which pays homage to the iconic Canadian one-cent coin. 

CW: Will this lead to more coin designs?

JK: I certainly hope so! I’m currently working on some new concepts — thats’s all I can reveal at the moment.

CW: Is your design unique to coins — i.e., you haven’t issued prints with it or anything?

JK: The illustration was specifically crafted for this coin. There are many elements to take into consideration when working on a small medium, such as the drawings’ position around typefaces to create an overall balance within the coin.

CW: Did you buy one (or more) of the coins with your design?

JK: Of course! I have one of each for myself. My friends and family have also been quite active in collecting my designs. It has been very heartwarming to see their interest in my art. 

To learn more about the art of Jesse Koreck, visit his website

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