The American Numismatic Association?s 2008 Numismatic Art Award for Excellence in Medallic Sculpture will be bestowed upon Philadelphia artist Jim Licaretz Aug. 2 at ANA?s World?s Fair of Money in Baltimore, Md.
Licaretz was a sculptor/engraver at the U.S. Mint from 1986 to 1989 and now serves as a medallic artist. He spent a year with The Franklin Mint and was a master sculptor for Mattel, Inc. for five years.
In between he taught life modeling and figure sculpture at Philadelphia?s Fleischer Art Memorial school and was a member of the faculty at Otis-Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles (1992-94) and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco (1995-2000).
?Although I was familiar with Renaissance and 19th-century French medals, it wasn?t until sculptor Eugene Daub introduced me to the American Medallic Sculpture Association in 1985 that I realized contemporary artists were creating handheld art,? said Licaretz. ?It was quite a revelation to me to see these small, personal statements in various materials that were being recognized as medals.?
His involvement with AMSA, which he now serves as president, led to his participation in the Federation Internationale de la Medaille. In September Licaretz exhibited three medallic works at FIDEM?s 30th Congress and Exhibition, hosted by ANA?s Edward C. Rochette Money Museum in Colorado Springs, Colo. His recent work for the U.S. Mint includes the 2008 Bald Eagle $1 reverse and Andrew Jackson Presidential $1 obverse.
?The greatest appeal of medallic art is the freedom one has to create his or her own world on a small scale,? Licaretz said.
?Though there are exceptions, most medallic sculpture has a magic and uniqueness not found in most art forms. I love that with the simplest of materials ? clay, plaster and wax ? an artist can birth something very personal.?