FOCUS ON DESIGN: Aleks Stokic

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06 January 2020
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Aleks Stokic has been designing circulating, uncirculated, and proof coins and medals for the Royal Australian Mint since 2011. Her award-winning designs include Japan Mint’s International Year of Astrology 2009 coin, and recently, she received an Honour Award for her Sydney coin at the Shanghai Coin Design competition. Paula Hammond asked Aleks about her coin career so far

Tell us little about yourself?

I was born in Serbia where I received a degree in Applied Sculpting within the University of Belgrade. In addition to studying monument and gallery sculptures, I also studied medals and jewellery, which was my first contact with bas-relief and precious metals.

In 2005, I went to the School of Medallic Arts in Rome where I spent three years learning about traditional coin and medal-making techniques. At the end of my studies, I accepted a scholarship to work for the Italian Mint for additional three years before becoming part of the coin design team at the Royal Australian Mint.

What inspired you to become involved in the world of coin design?

My first memory of coins, as not only currency, but as something to admire, was my brother’s collection of circulating coins. I was impressed with their beauty, with the small and detailed sculpts, and with the different story that each depicted. I often used to line the coins up and try to imagine how all those different countries might look, based on the coins. It is amazing how coins can actually describe nations. 

Which design has been most challenging/fulfilling and why?

Each coin is special to me. Every design is a new challenge, whether theme, size of the coin, or type of the metal. One of the most meaningful circulating coins I have designed is the ‘International Year of Indigenous Languages, 2019, 50c Circulating Coin’. Languages are crucial to the identity of Indigenous Australians, as well as being an important part of Australia’s history and culture. The coin design incorporates 14 translations for ‘coin’ from some of Australia’s many indigenous languages. Every letter is hand-written and each word is placed in a pattern that is inspired by Indigenous artworks.

Can you tell us about your Sydney coin?

It was quite interesting and challenging to create a design for the Shanghai Coin Design Award, as the competition wasn’t limited to a specific subject. Sydney is one the most celebrated and iconic cities in Australia. Well-known for its harbour, architecture, and many prominent buildings of grand design. [But my inspiration was] my first trip to Sydney and the breathtaking scenery I saw when I walked out from the bus. Skyscrapers, modern and interesting buildings, mixed with the Victorian-style architecture. I really liked that mixture of old and new.

If you could design a coin to commemorate any place, person or event what would it be and why?

Music is often an inspiration for me and I would like to design coins dedicated to particular musicians and their work.

How does it feel to see your designs in your pocket? 

It is exciting and very satisfying to see my artworks in the circulation and I am proud that I have the opportunity to design the coins for the nation.  

Look out for Aleks’ latest design on the Kangaroos at Dawn 2020, $1 1/2oz Fine Silver Proof Coin.

Read more about the latest new coins from around the world in our 'NEW COINS' pages…