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Factory Artist

Factory Artist.  An employee of the plant that creates the design, models, molds or dies of a medal or token the plant will manufacturer. If a plant does not have a staff artist it obtains this art work from outside artists, on a commission basis. In addition to the convenience of having the artist on site, the advantages of factory artists include an experience with the product, knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of the production facilities, and somewhat lower costs.

When the manufacturing plant has one such artist the work is his style alone. With more than one factory artist, a shortcoming develops, however, in that all the work soon looks similar, there is too little diversity in the total product. Such artists tend to produce designs of like style, as they consciously or unconsciously influence each other. They become homogenized in their creative effort and output (as if they are from the same school of art). Outside artists, on the other hand, do not have these influences; these artists have a fresh – or different – style, and have the opportunity to produce somewhat more creative designs.

In medallic art, the factory artist must be able to do every aspect of the creative effort up to die production. The artist can be an engraver, but more likely will work in clay and plaster to produce the required models. Also a commissioned artist may be weak in some rendition, say in lettering. The factory artist must be able to improve or retouch the original artist's model, to have the best product possible, before the dies are made, without, perhaps, offending the original artist. Contrast this with remodel.

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


Roger W. Burdette, Editor

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