Skip to main content

Martin Sharp
, c. 1974

by Greg Weight

gelatin silver photograph (sheet: 40.5 cm x 50.5 cm, image: 30.5 cm x 44.8 cm)

Martin Sharp AM (1942–2013) was a printmaker, painter, cartoonist, designer, songwriter and filmmaker. Born in Sydney, Sharp was founding co-editor with Richard Neville and Richard Walsh of Oz magazine, contributing cartoons to the controversial journal. When he and Neville relocated Oz to London, Sharp continued as art director, producing posters that were sold through the magazine. For a time he lived with Eric Clapton, collaborating with him on song lyrics and designing album covers for his band, Cream. Returning to Australia in 1969, Sharp helped set up the Yellow House, an artists’ space in inner Sydney which became a focus of the underground art scene of the 1960s. Sharp is renowned for his poster designs for the Nimrod theatre in the 1970s, and for his obsessions with Tiny Tim, toys and Luna Park. In the late 1970s he was engaged to oversee the restoration of the Park, but in 1979 a terrible fire in its Ghost Train took seven lives. Amidst talk of redevelopment, Sharp and his supporters formed the Friends of Luna Park to lobby for its retention as a going concern.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Patrick Corrigan AM 2004
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2004.104