“HE WHO WORKS WITH HIS HANDS IS A LABOURER.

HE WHO WORKS WITH HIS HANDS AND HIS HEAD IS A CRAFTSMAN.

HE WHO WORKS WITH HIS HANDS AND HIS HEAD AND HIS HEART IS AN ARTIST.”

St. Francis of Assisi

Chiara Principe

These words have been attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi, and I really love this quote since I think that it is the recipe for creativity.

Handshead, and heart are the three elements that best describes the soul of my work, and without them I wouldn’t be who I am today.

As a matter of fact, these are the fundamental elements that come into play when I deal with the creation of a new design: hands, head, and heart!

The hands represent practicality and concreteness: whether they guide a pencil or a mouse, they allow us designers to express the world we have inside. They channel our creativity! In my case, I nearly always deal also with the realisation of the plaster model of the coin and medal designs I create, and I love the manual realisation precisely because it allows me to give shape to my idea and leave my distinctive touch on the final work.

The head, that is the mind, is what guides the hand and represents the rational aspect of creativity: indeed, the cultural and visual background of an artist is the basis of his style! The study, then, is the first step that I face when approaching the creation of a design: the first thing to do is always to know in depth the subject or the message that the coin has to embody. Furthermore, as a designer working within a sector as specific as numismatics, I may say that it is essential to know the particular and technical characteristics of the coin to be designed. Personally, I owe the years I spent at the Italian mint, where I got my specialization and then I started to work, a lot of my cultural and technical training. This experience has greatly enriched my skills because I had the opportunity to study in a context where I could learn both about the theory and the practice of coin production, from design up to the minting.

The heart. This is the core. The ingredient that turns the craftsman into a creative artist! It represents for me that intimate and unique insight that characterises each artist in a different way, and that gives everyone a different “flavour” that often allows us to recognise an artist from another simply by looking at one of his works. I often wonder how I know if I really put my heart into what I do. The answer is: whether my work expresses the love for what I do or not, whether that work talks about me!

 

A coin and medal artist faces the challenge of expressing his creativity in a small, small space: hands, mind, and heart merge in a few centimeters of metal, and this combination must be able to communicate the message in a direct and clear way, without the need for too many explanations. The art of money is in fact born by virtue of its usability! No work of art passes from hand to hand as much as a coin, nor can it be looked at so closely and touched in every detail. It is a huge opportunity, and at the same time an ever-new challenge.

Chiara Principe
Chiara Principe - Scultrice e Designer