Because of its geographical isolation, Australia is a land like no other. It is estimated that more than 80 per cent of its flowering plants, mammals, reptiles and frogs are unique to the continent, along with most of its freshwater fish and almost half of its birds.
Since 2006, Discover Australia has been our numismatic showcase for a multitude of iconic Australian animals and other wildlife. To mark the release of our 2012 pure platinum coins, we caught up with one the designers, Tom Vaughan, to learn more about the creative approach to this year’s series.
“As artists we’re always looking for something new, some way to really move and inspire the viewer,” explains Tom. “With this year’s designs we wanted the creatures to be seen in their natural habitat.”
As a result, the latest coins pay particular attention to the realism of the environment in which each animal lives.
“Precise details are really important. The Red Kangaroo, for example, is shown against ochre-coloured earth. It’s a particular hue authentic to central Australia, where temperatures can reach in excess of 40 degrees…you really have to try to encompass that feeling.”
The fascinating Green and Gold Bell Frog, which can be seen resting on green reeds, is another example. “The colours have to reflect the real creature and its environment,” continues Tom. “The green reeds, for instance, really did have to be a particular type of rich green.”
It would be true to say that nature has inspired artists for hundreds of years and still today proves to be a continuing source of creativity for our inventive designers.
Adds Tom, “There is such a wide variety of beautiful animals and locations in Australia that it makes my job inspirational!”