Petr Patka, DiS.


What brought you into the world of coinage?

Since I was a kid, I liked to draw and paint. During my studies in primary school, I attended several art clubs. When it came to deciding where to go next in ninth grade, it was clear that I would attempt an art school entrance exam. The first choice was the Secondary School of Arts and Crafts in Železný Brod, specializing in glass figurines. What fascinated me about this work was the malleability of heated glass and its colourfulness, but in the end, I was not accepted. I chose Secondary School of Arts and Crafts in Jablonec nad Nisou, specialization of engraver, where I got in through a sieve of talent exams and successfully finished it. As a graduation thesis I made a medal dedicated to Ferdinand Porsche, a native of nearby Vratislavice, and I even met his great-grandson. After graduation, I felt that I was not yet ready to start working, so I decided to continue my studies at the Jablonec Higher Vocational School with a focus on minted coins and medals. There I had the honour to meet excellent medal makers Luboš Charvát, Jiří Dostál, Petr Horák, Jan Lukáš and others who were and still are great role models for me. I have also successfully graduated from this school, and I received another honour when I graduated. My opponent was Mr. Jiří Harcuba, an excellent medal maker, who told me: "The author's own style must be clearly visible on a coin or medal. This makes it unique."

During your career you have tried a variety of professions. Engraver, foreman, artist, … Which job has grown closest to your heart?

Yes, I have, and I'm very glad I did. With each profession I gained new and new experiences, and they all brought me closer to the field I studied, and which is actually the closest to me. As an engraver, I worked in the glass industry – this is where I learned how to work on different machine tools and how to file and form metal with precision. From there I moved on to work as a foreman at the Czech Mint – this work was also very interesting, and I enjoyed it very much. Every day was different and brought new experiences and knowledge in the production of coins and medals. In time, however, I began to feel that working with people was not my cup of coffee… In 2016, the first offer came to try and design a medal, which I gladly accepted. The theme was Baccalaureate. It was a return to the craft for me and I was able to brush up on what I had learned during my studies. Requests for coins and medals kept coming in and I found that I would like to do more of them.

Would you like to try something else? What are your plans for the future?

Yes, in fact, at the moment I already have the opportunity to grow. I have moved from the position of a foreman at the Czech Mint to the position of a designer, where I am learning to design coins and medals using a graphic software on a PC. I am at the very beginning, but I take this job as a huge challenge and a step forward… In the past I have tried to make several coin designs for the Czech National Bank and my big dream is to win this competition.

As a medal maker, you have covered a wide range of subjects. You have created a graduation medal for bachelors and a ducat for newborn babies. Your coins have featured animal champions, prehistoric reptiles, and the heroes of the animated cartoon Well, Just You Wait! From the historical topics you worked on the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich and the tanks of the World War II. Architecture in your portfolio is represented by the Petřín lookout tower and the Hluboká château. Which commission from the Czech Mint made you the happiest?

It is impossible to choose just one theme that I enjoyed the most, because each one was interesting and different in its handling. However, each one made me very happy. At the same time, I treated each one with respect and as an opportunity to move on in different fields. I enjoy the thematic diversity and the opportunity to develop myself. This way, there is basically no danger of me getting stuck. I strive to be a versatile medal maker and look forward to all potential commissions. I don't shy away from any subject, be it children's or nature motifs, architecture, technology, or portraits.

For the Prehistoric World series, you create elaborate paintings in addition to sculptures. Where do you look for inspiration?

Already as a young boy I liked to watch Karel Zeman's unforgettable Journey to the Beginning of Time. That's why I didn't hesitate and accepted this commission with excitement. The exact form and colouring of the prehistoric animals are unknown, so I try to use my own imagination. I look for inspiration not only in the aforementioned film. The internet, books and dinosaur exhibitions that I visit with my family are also great helpers. Every such exhibition enriches me with knowledge that I was missing, and at the same time my two daughters and my wife also learn something.

The Czech Mint is connected not only to your professional life, but also to your private life. It was here that you met your wife… Can you imagine your daughters following in their parents' footsteps and working at the Mint?

Yes, that's right – I really "picked up" my wife at a party organised on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Czech Mint. We recently celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary and have two wonderful daughters together. They are still young, 6 and 9 years old, but they both love to paint and create. The older daughter attends pottery class at school and her work is amazing. Some time ago she tried making her own design for a medal at home using coloured modelling clay. She told me: "Daddy, when I finish it, the Mint will mint it for me." But so far, it doesn't seem like a coin industry for her. Both girls are "clear" about what they will do as adults. The older one wants to be a designer and seamstress, the younger one a pastry chef. Both of these fields require an artistic flair. Of course, if they choose anything meaningful in the future, we will encourage them to do so…


Czech Mint