What I learnt from drawing strangers on George Street in Sydney

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Hello there, my name is Oscar Finch.  You might have seen you somewhere on George Street in Sydney. You probably didn’t notice because I’m a quiet type, just watching silently in plain sight at the moving world around me.

You see I’m an artist. Actually I’m more of an imaginer who uses pen ink to capture unnoticed people and things. Why? Because I’ve learnt that ordinary things are actually spectacularly wondrous if you pause to ponder them.

I’ve not always done this mind you. I was a deep thinking child, always wondering and adventuring in my mind but it was an inner world unseen by others, much like a shoebox of ideas which remained locked in the attic. But as I passed my 30th birthday I was terrified of being a forlorn old man who had never released what was inside me.  So I began to wake 15 minutes earlier each morning to colour my world by creating a little.  At first it was excruciating but with each passing day 15 minutes was no longer enough then 20 minutes then 30 minutes and before long an hour was no longer enough. But some other things began to change as well.

These are the unexpected things I learnt from drawing strangers going about their lives around George Street in Sydney and imagining their stories.

Drawing strangers made me notice more. Like the lines on a face, the print on a t-shirt and the affection between people. These in turn made me wonder more. I wondered what it’s like to be you, or where you got that t-shirt from and if it’s special.  This made me admire more. I once saw a man who instead of hiding or shaving his balding head, magnificently combed his flowing back & sides and grew immaculately manicured sideburns to frame his face. I called him the renegade.

Imagining stories of strangers made me wonder what events made you who you are (and why I am me). I drew a bus driver I named Brian who might have been the greatest actor alive but for a missed audition. Likewise, I imagined a world where perception of beauty was reversed when a scientist released as gas which changed Sarah’s life.

Observing made me treasure the untreasured people we see everyday because I imagined the world without them. I imagined the world without cleaners, bus drivers and street sweepers if a sudden contagion wiped them out. Then I imagined if a security guard in Woolworths didn’t see himself as a security guard but rather the guardian of a small kingdom.

I thought about how we could make the untreasured cleaner’s life a little better with a fictional restroom experiment and what it told us about ourselves when no one else is watching.

When I ordered coffee one morning I wondered what the cafe’s story was, so imagined and wrote about a mysterious character named Herbert Klinok who founded Klink espresso on Clarence Street.

I imagined a world where everyone was more like me and realised I wouldn’t like that world much. I saw a hipster with bouffant hair, called him Eli and told a story about how Eli didn’t want to be a butcher but wanted to eat meat.

As I drew and wrote more tales I started to think about the point of all this. Not just what I was drawing and imagining but of art itself. I thought of a famous painting called ‘A Sunday on La Grande Jatte’ by George Seurat and what it said about Paris in 1884. I thought about my Archibald Prize entry as a 19 year old that sunk without a trace and whether if a painting is created in the middle of a city but no one is there to see it whether it exists!

After all that it dawned on me that maybe the point of art is to colour the world a little and to tell us a little about ourselves and hope it makes you wonder too.  Maybe that’s what makes us human. So perhaps next time you’re here on George St (or the park or beach or bus) try drawing and imagining, then see what happens. Who knows, maybe you’ll see me here too.

If you'd like to receive my latest work, I'd love to share it with you by joining my mailing list.

Theme george street, strangers, sydney, what I've learnt


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Frequently Asked Questions
What Others Are Asking...

These are the most common questions asked of Oscar.

Products

Why are your products so special?

Many products (including wall art and t-shirts) are made by combining stock art (you know, images you can buy on used on bad advertisements) to make pretty patterns that don't mean a lot.

Oscar’s works are original and interesting - all designed and crafted using his own hands onto real paper with his imagination, real pencils and ink. That’s what makes each piece like nothing else in the world.

What are the prints made of? Why are they such quality?

Each piece is printed onto the finest museum grade paper. Oscar chooses the Hahnemuhle brand because it feels and looks superb (if you’re interested it’s acid free and calcium carbonate buffered) plus it can last longer than 100 years!

The inking process is called giclée printing and is a high-quality way of getting ink onto the best paper.

Which size is right for me? A few helpful things to consider:

A4 is small and good for a small desk, kitchen or small wall like a corner.

A3 is medium and good for a larger desk, larger kitchen or moderate sized wall.

A2 a larger and really nice on a wall, behind a bed or desk, adorning a hallway or thoroughfare.

A1 a very large and a wonderful way to make an impact in a room, office, reception, thoroughfare or atrium. Pow.

Dimensions

A4 210 x 297 mm | 8.3 x 11.7 in
A3 297 x 420 mm | 11.7 x 16.5 in
A2 420 x 594 mm | 16.5 x 23.4 in
A1 594 x 841 mm | 23.4 x 33.1 in

Buying

Do you offer free worldwide shipping?

Oscar offers free shipping to anywhere in the world. The farthest flung so far is the Netherlands, United States and England but he’d love to go even further! (perhaps you’re from Nepal or Antarctica maybe?)

How can Oscar offer free shipping?

Well, Oscar loves free shipping and it’s worth what it costs him for radically happy customers!

Can I return and get a refund if I’m not 100% happy?

Yes! Of course. Oscar wants you to be radically happy and satisfied (that’s good business isn’t it? But also good humanness...). We’re convinced you will be! But if for whatever reason you’re not super happy please contact us and we’ll arrange a full refund as soon as humanly possible.

Oscar

Oscar is Award-Winning?

Yes. He’s entered and won art prizes including for a piece about a magical bus and its passengers and a 22 page piece Moleskin about a boy who woke up with a strange knowing one day. He was also featured in prominent publications for his work and journey to one of the world’s largest portrait prizes, The Archibald Prize.

But now he prefers to imagine and make to change the world.

What is Oscar’s life Mission?

Oscar mission is to change the world with a pencil, pens and beautiful paper so that his imaginative tales and creations can be found in rooms, offices, buses and wall facades in town and cities large and small - so people awe at the ordinary.

A billion people on earth would be nice :) A beloved collection of children’s books too (that Roald Dahl would be proud of). Oh, and a film trilogy...

But I’d love to start (if you don’t mind) with you today!

● Have another questions? Contact Oscar here and he'd love to answer it!

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