The TimesRecordNews of Wichita Falls, Texas published an article this week about Susan Gamble, a local artist working for the U.S. Mint. No photos, though. That's a shame - these kind of local articles provide great background material on otherwise nearly anonymous artists. In years to come, these will be primary source material for researchers writing about coinage of the early 21st century. I found the below image on the U.S. Mint web site.
You may not know who artist Susan Gamble is, but chances are you have one of her drawings.
And you're carrying it in your pocket.
Gamble, who lives in New Braunfels, is one of five master designers in the country whose renderings are used as artwork on coins for the U.S. Mint.
She drew the leaping salmon in front of Mount Rainier for the Washington state quarter, the grizzly bear catching a salmon for the Alaska state quarter and the scissor-tailed flycatcher soaring over Indian blanket wildflowers for the Oklahoma state quarter.
Her drawings aren't limited to coin designs, either. Gamble has lent her talents to the U.S. Air Force, designing its first Air Force Combat Action Medal. The medal was created to recognize Air Force members who engage in air or ground combat, according to the service. The first six medals were awarded on June 12, 2007.
"The beauty is it was my gift to the Air Force that's been a big part of my life," Gamble said.
Gamble, whose husband, Mike, is a retired Air Force colonel, said she never thought her design would be selected for a medal. She said she simply was helping her husband with ideas to present to the Pentagon, and the Institute of Heraldry at Fort Belvoir adopted her suggestion with minor changes.
"They saw it and they liked it," she said. "I think maybe because I was a coin designer for the U.S. Mint, they felt like that gave me some credibility."
The medal is the only one for the U.S. military to have a diagonally patterned ribbon and features an eagle emblem in an Art Deco style. The eagle faces its right, where its talon is clutching arrows, reflecting preparedness for war. The left talon holds an olive branch.
Gamble said the emblem resembles the insignia used on the aircraft of Gen. Billy Mitchell, regarded as the father of the U.S. Air Force and who coordinated history's first air-to-ground offensive during World War I.
Gamble, 53, began drawing for the U.S. Mint in 2004, after being selected by the agency for its Artistic Infusion Program. The mint asked artists to apply for the program in 2003, and 27 were selected out of about 300 applicants.
Back then, Gamble was in Oklahoma City and had started to dedicate herself full time to her private business, Gamble Graphics, which she continues to operate out of her home with her son.
Gamble said she is one of four artists from that initial group who continue to design coins. Since then, one other artist has risen to the level of master designer.
To read the complete article, see:
Artist from New Braunfels does coin design
Wayne Homren, Editor
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