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Martin Sharp

1942 – 2013

Martin Sharp (b. 1942), printmaker, painter, cartoonist, designer, songwriter and film-maker, is one of Australia's foremost pop artists. Born in Sydney, Sharp was founding co-editor with Richard Neville and Richard Walsh of Oz magazine, contributing humorous and often sexually explicit cartoons to the controversial journal. When he and Neville re-located Oz to London, Sharp continued as art director. He began producing posters for sale through the magazine including his celebration of Bob Dylan, Mr Tambourine Man, the electrically charged portrait of Jimi Hendrix, Exploding guitar, and several in support of the 'legalise pot rallies' at Hyde Park. Sharp lived for a time with Cream lead singer Eric Clapton, collaborating with him on song lyrics and designing album covers for the band. Returning to Australia in 1969 Sharp was instrumental in setting up the 'Yellow House', an artists' space at Potts Point in Sydney, formerly the Clune Galleries, which became a focus of the underground art scene of the 1960s. Sharp is well known for his poster designs for the Nimrod theatre in the 1970s, and for his obsessions with Tiny Tim, toys and Luna Park. The National Portrait Gallery holds one of Sharp's best-known paintings, Young Mo, which became Nimrod's signature image. He has exhibited widely since 1965 and is represented in all major Australian state galleries and the National Gallery of Australia. His work has been exhibited at the Art Gallery of South Australia and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and was an important element of the National Portrait Gallery exhibition "So you wanna be a rock star?"

Updated 2018