Made from a domed, fine silver disk set with a sterling silver backing, the Forward under 40 award (above) contains the UW crest set within the state of Wisconsin and superimposed on an image of a globe. The crest is enameled with red transparent glass, allowing light to enter and reflect back toward the viewer, and the award winners' names are engraved on the back of the medallions.
Who better to design the Forward under 40 award than a UW alum? Before the launch of the now-annual recognition program, with help from the UW-Madison Department of Art, WAA put out a call to the campus art community to submit award concepts. We received 13 well-crafted submissions in a variety of media, making for a tough call. But in the end we decided that the medallion submitted by Jason Noble '07 best embodied the Wisconsin Idea, the driving force behind the Forward under 40 award.
We asked the alum to tell us a bit about himself and the award-making process.
Did you always plan to pursue an art degree at UW?
Yes. I began as an art education major. During my sophomore year, however, I took an art metals class, Intro to Jewelry, loved it, and have been doing it ever since. After that, I changed my major from art education to fine art and proceeded to take every metals class the university had to offer.
And we're glad you did. Did you have a favorite course?
I'd have to say Intro to Pewter, taught by professor Fred Fenster, now retired.
What has been your proudest achievement as an artist?
Shortly after I graduated, I won a grant from the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design, meant to help young, recently graduated craft artists make the transition from school to a career as a professional artist.
Are there any other artists in the Noble family?
I am told that my grandmother discovered an amazing hidden talent as a draftsman late in life. She started out by drawing portraits of my mother and her siblings and could draw detailed renderings from memory, having once drawn Michelangelo's Pieta while waiting for a doctor's appointment.
How did you arrive at the winning Forward under 40 design?
I've never been big on sketch pads for use in idea generating. I come up with a rough idea in my head and begin producing right away. Some of the most interesting ideas arrive along the way, rather than right from the start.