Brigham Young University illustration professor Justin Kunz was profiled in a video interview and article. Be sure to watch the video.
A Brigham Young University illustration professor has reimagined Lady Liberty in the new collector's item coin he designed for the US
Justin Kunz's version of Lady Liberty is supposed to represent modern sensibilities, such as increasing cultural diversity,
according to Brigham Young University.
The American Liberty 2015 High Relief 24-karat Gold Coin features a Lady Liberty whose appearance tries to bring a contemporary
sensibility to a traditional American icon.
"It was difficult to portray Lady Liberty as a modern figure," Kunz said in a statement. "I studied, sketched and,
finally, meditated on what Lady Liberty represents. I wanted the idea of her to be a simple visual statement expressed in an elegant
"I wanted her to be recognizable as Liberty," Kunz said. "I didn't want to put her in a hoodie."
The new Lady Liberty has a rounder face than the original, with smaller eyes, ears and nose.
Rather than wearing a crown with spikes that represent the seven seas, she wears a crown with the laurel leaf, which represents
Additionally, she wears fitted robes that have a V-neck and holds the staff of an American flag in her left hand and a torch
representing freedom in her right.
The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts looked at all the designs and made recommendations, but the
treasury secretary made the final decision on the winners.
Kunz's design is on the front of the coin, as are his initials.
"It was an exciting experience to listen in on the CCAC's meeting while they evaluated the designs," Kunz said in a
statement. "When they came to my design each member of the committee seemed to understand what I was trying to communicate, which is
thrilling for an artist."
Kunz's designs are also on the back side of the 2008 Andrew Jackson's Liberty coin and the front side of the 2009 Abraham
Lincoln Commemorative Silver Dollar and the 2014 Civil Rights Act of 1964 Commemorative Silver Dollar.
In 2016, Kunz's America the Beautiful Quarter will come out with a design of the Shawnee National Forest on it.
"It's such a privilege to work with the U.S. Mint," Kunz said in a statement. "My skills and creativity as an artist
have grown while working with them and it's very rewarding to have my designs seen by thousands of American collectors all over the
It can be hard to tell from a sketch just how a design will look in its final realized form, so I'm often torn when choosing between
certain designs presented to the CCAC. The Sculptor-Engraver deserves a lot of credit as well for translating the design into reality. In
this case the initials PH indicate the work of Mint artist Phoebe Hemphill. Nice job all around - I like this one. -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
illustration professor reimagines Lady Liberty on new gold coin
Wayne Homren, Editor
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