Saint-Lazare artist’s work graces Canadian Mint collector coin


PHOTO BY KATHIE LINDSTROM

Caitlin Lindstrom-Milne’s artwork featuring detailed flora and fauna was discovered online by the Canadian Mint who then contacted her to create custom artwork for the 2019 edition of the $50 collector coin.

Life rarely goes according to plan and for one artistic Saint-Lazare resident who is opting to take things on a day-by-day basis focusing on what she enjoys, fate has favoured her decision after an employee from the Canadian Mint began following her on Instagram.

“I love finding new Canadian talent,” said Product Manager Jamie Desrochers who follows many artists on social media. “For numismatic (collectible) coins, the Product Manager selects the artist based on the design requirements and has a competition with several artists. The most appropriate art is selected.” The Canadian Mint issues over 100 numismatic coins annually.

“Jamie contacted me and asked me to submit a design of a bear for the 2019 $50 coin,” said 25-year-old Caitlin Lindstrom-Milne who is currently working as a tattoo artist. “(The opportunity) just kind of happened.”

The former student of Westwood Senior High was the recipient of the Hudson Artist Award and went on to study Illustration and Design at Dawson College, graduating in 2014.

While searching for freelance graphic design work and showcasing her artwork on social media, Lindstrom-Milne was approached by the tattoo community who felt her creative work would lend itself well to the skin-inking industry. Not one to say no to an opportunity, Lindstrom-Milne took on the challenge and now works at Le Loft hair salon in Vaudreuil-Dorion inking her intricate animal and floral patterns that can take up to six hours to complete.

PHOTO COURTESY CANADIAN MINT

The design featuring the grizzly bear, its habitat and food source were vetted by wildlife experts for accuracy.

The coin design, cast in gold-plated pure silver that the mint released February 5, shows a growling grizzly bear design incorporating its habitat of mountains, waterfall, and trees into the final image. The salmon that is such an important part of its survival is portrayed both as a food source and in the shape of part of the shoreline.

Desrochers said the artwork competition focused on the ‘inner nature’ of both the animal and the artist with authenticity being a key component.

“Even stylized art needs to be accurate,” he said. “In Caitlin’s case, we had to be sure that the grizzly bear, sockeye salmon, landscape and flowers were all accurate, and the design was vetted by animal experts to ensure that.”

“The total design took about a month, in between my regular work days,” Lindstrom-Milne said. “I had full creativity, I was just told, ‘We need a bear, a fish, and where the bear lives.’” The rest was up to her and her final design also includes background images of Canadian violets that grow wild across the country.

“It was a great honour to be chosen to do this,” Lindstrom-Milne told The Journal. “It’s always cool to have new media to put your art on. I’ve graduated from working on paper to skin – the challenge of working with the constraints of a round coin was a great opportunity.”

Desrochers commended Lindstrom-Milne for staying true to her own unique style while working within the parameters of the coin design.

As far as future design opportunities with the Canadian Mint, Lindstrom-Milne isn’t sure if she’ll be doing another coin, “But there is potential.”

Follow Caitlin’s work on Instagram at caitlinlm.art. To see more of the Canadian Mint 2019 numismatic collection, consult www.mint.ca.

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