With the art award, Posti wants to raise the status of stamps and increase people’s appreciation for them. “The award may be granted to a person or group working in the field of art as a recognition and encouragement of visually interesting expression. The winner can represent visual arts or visual design more broadly, as long as the expression can be recreated in the form of stamps,” says Posti Design Manager Tommi Kantola, explaining the reasons behind the award.
“Mert Otsamo clearly fulfills the criteria for the award. He is a talented artist who works skillfully in various fields of design,” adds Kantola, who acts as the chairman of Posti’s Art Committee.
This is the third time Posti’s internationally unique art award is being handed out. In 2017, the art award was given to sculptor Jasmin Anoschkin, and in 2018, it was given to graffiti artist EGS.
The Posti’s art award 2019 stamps are based on gown sketches by Mert Otsamo, the statuesqueness of which is emphasized by the black background of the stamps. “Sketches are an important part of fashion design: with them, I can demonstrate to the customer what I am doing. I always make the sketches by hand with mixed media, using markers, felt-tip pens, watercolors, gold leaf and colored pencils,” says Otsamo.
On one of the stamps, you can see the brilliant golden sequin dress worn by top model Alexandra Escat accompanying actor Jasper Pääkkönen at the annual Independence Day Reception last year. The other stamp features a reddish silver dress that will be on display for the first time in a fashion show organized on the stamps’ release date, September 11, in Iittala & Arabia Design Centre Store.
A first day cover featuring a dramatic black evening gown by Otsamo that jewelry designer Saija Saarela wore at the annual Independence Day Reception in 2015 will also be released.
Mert Otsamo was surprised to receive the art award. “I am excited and grateful for the award. Stamps show the spirit of the time they were issued, and I am very happy that I can become a part of this distinguished tradition through my works. Furthermore, the stamps are also a great way to celebrate my 10-year career as a fashion designer.
Mert Otsamo, 29, is a fashion designer who dramatically draws attention to the contrasts of the human figure in his designs. He has designed clothes and jewelry for various celebrities. Over several years, his designs have been worn by guests at the annual Independence Day Reception, stages and galas, such as at the Oscars in 2014. Otsamo rose to fame through the 2009 Muodin huipulle (Finnish version of Project Runway) TV show, air on MTV3. Otsamo reached the top 3 in the competition.