What I learnt trying to win the Archibald Prize last year (and how it’s going to help me - or maybe you - win)

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Hello there friend.

If we’ve not met, my name is Oscar Finch. I’m an artist who hides in plain sight to capture unnoticed strangers and objects then imagines their tales.

Last year I shared my quest ‘How to Win the Archibald Prize’.

I would have won but for the judges picking someone else. But there was a secret I'd been keeping: the Archibald Prize isn't really a prize. It's a raison d'être - a reason for being - each year for the 900 or so artists who enter.

What was my master plan to win? I analysed all previous winners to identify common traits and gaps to be a pioneer (oil on a rectangle canvas is common, as too is an artist as subject, likewise impressionist styling).

What did I learn from my 85 day odyssey and how will it help me win this year? A few things.

  • Standing out amongst the swath of 900 artworks is vital. You could stand out by drawing a hairy green chicken but standing out for a good reason is more helpful. Without standing out you’re an autumn leaf tramped underfoot.
  • If you’re no Monet or Picasso don’t try to out-paint someone who is. You’ll need another weapon so...
  • Have a big, bold breathtakingly idea that screams.
  • The Archibald is an art prize in the art world for the art world. As I swanned around the Archibald Prize opening last year I realised the obvious. It’s an inner circle so to win you need to find a way into the inner circle (and therefore the judges).
  • What this means is you don't need a million people to care about your artwork maybe just one or two or three.
  • Frame your artwork (unless it’s as tall as the ceiling). It might be little realised but a frame is kind of a shibboleth that you’re part of the inner artworld circle.
  • Have a plan for your artwork when you don’t win (something more useful than a room divider or garage filler). On the flip side use the Prize as an excuse to do something you always wanted to (meet your pop culture hero by painting them or yell a message to the world).  Here’s the secret: everyone who does this is a winner before the winner is announced.
  • Finish your work with a week to spare (unless your liked midnight study cramming as a high schooler).

I'm going to do all of these things and a few more. And I have until 24th June to do them and I'll be sharing my journey. I've called it:

Wish me luck.

Oscar

P.S - I'd love to send you my updates, just go here.

You can see my Archibald Journey here and my other creations and art here.

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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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