From the idea of coin design to its implementation: behind the scenes of the creative process
The creation of coins is a complex process that requires a lot of responsibility and is not always easy. The Lithuanian Mint’s team of professionals implements the entire process of creation: from developing the idea to materialising it. Mr Giedrius Paulauskis, an artist who has been working at the Lithuanian Mint for 24 years, tells about his search for a muse, coin design requirements, and the challenges in implementing the ideas.
(Un)romantic daily life of the artist
The artist, who has been working at the Lithuanian Mint for more than two decades, entered the institution for the first time immediately after graduation when he was looking for a steady income and professional prospects. ‘I had just finished my studies at Vilnius Academy of Arts, so I had to find a way to make a living. After being offered to join the mint’s team, I did not think too much as the work seemed to be interesting and promising, and the salary was tempting at that time too,’ acknowledges G. Paulauskis.
The daily life of an artist may seem like a constant search for a muse and creativity, however, Mr Paulauskis has less romantic activities scheduled on his agenda: ‘On a normal working day, I usually model reliefs for coins and sometimes for medals, also I participate in various meetings regarding designs, and I solve technical problems at production. Actually, I create designs not as often, as it is my personal activity.’
The artist says he has created around 18 designs for coins issued by the Bank of Lithuania, and a lot of coins and medal designs for different Lithuanian and foreign institutions: banks, presidents, the Parliament of Lithuania (the Seimas), various ministries, sportspeople, etc. When asked which piece made the biggest impression on him, Giedrius says he has no favourites. All works are somehow dear to him (especially after some time), at the same time imperfect in their own way. ‘Refinement may take an eternity, and the muse is not always patient and faithful,’ he chuckles.
Inspiration comes from different sources
The artist of the Lithuanian Mint, who has considerable professional experience, says that he comes up with the ideas for coins in different ways: ‘Sometimes it happens in an hour and sometimes it takes 6 months. The muse may visit while I am sleeping, browsing the Internet, in the library, or while I am collecting the material on the subject of the coin theme. There is no single source of inspiration. However, I have noticed that most of my thoughts and experience come from studying the works of colleagues from all over the world,’ says Mr Paulauskis.
Coin designs are subject to certain general requirements. ‘Previously, they were restricted by limited minting facilities and stagnant traditions. However, nowadays, less stringent requirements are applied. Currently, the compliance with design composition rules is viewed much more liberally, and originality as well as persuasiveness are the main criteria for evaluating the design,’ says the artist of the Lithuanian Mint.
Depending on the complexity, shape and application of technological solutions to the theme of the coin, the process from the idea of the coin to the minted product can take from 1 month up to 1 year. When asked about the challenges he faces, Mr Paulauskis says they always exist. ‘Creativity is completely unpredictable, as you never know if it works the first time. Although such cases happen. The minting process is very similar. Each new product is authentic, i. e. it has never been made before, and it usually has its own issues that are addressed using the laws of physics, sometimes intuition or even spells,’ the creator adds with a smile.
We invite you to take a closer look at the collectible coins of the Lithuanian Mint HERE.