Martin Sharp born 1942 in Sydney,is an Australian artist, underground cartoonist, songwriter and film-maker. Sharp is widely recognised as Australia’s foremost pop artist but his discerning insight into many of the social and cultural issues of our time reaches beyond artistic labels.
His famous psychedelic posters of Bob Dylan, Donovan and others, rank as classics of the genre.
“I have never been shy about cutting things up if I had a good idea. To me it was worth the price of a book for the idea it expressed, the interconnecting of different worlds. I could put a Gauguin figure in a Van Gogh landscape, make the composition work, and also say something about their relationship.”
His career began during his student years at the National Art School when his cartoons were published in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, Honi Soit and The Bulletin.
In 1963 he joined forces with student newspaper editors Richard Neville and Richard Walsh to produce the downtown publication Oz, a magazine of social satire which gave a voice to a younger generation with a scarifying sense of humour and, in its second and better known incarnation, became a “psychedelic hippy” magazine from 1967 to 1973 in London. Strongly identified as part of the underground press, it was the subject of two celebrated obscenity trials, one in Australia in 1964 and the other in the United Kingdom in 1971. On both occasions the magazine’s editors were acquitted on appeal after initially being found guilty and sentenced to harsh jail terms.
Today many of Sharp’s images of Sydney have had such wide acceptance that they have become a part of the city’s visual language.