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Martin Sharp by Garry Shead

Artists Garry Shead and Martin Sharp recount their friendship and the creation of Martin's portrait.

Interview with Martin Sharp and Garry Shead
Video: 2 minutes

Garry Shead: My friendship with Martin goes back a very long time – 1961 I think we first met at art school.

Martin Sharp: We were both doing cartoons for The Bulletin. We were putting out little cartoons, yeah. And he was the star.

Garry Shead: I used to make experimental films. Because Martin was so good-looking he was in some of these bits and pieces of these films. He was quite intimidating sometimes, because he was so quick-witted you’d be scared to say anything because he’d be too clever for you. And I suppose in a way I was trying to get my own back at him. I used these film tricks of kind of filming it backwards. I suppose that’s what I was trying to do, trying to get to the bottom of him a bit.

Martin Sharp: He’s wonderful, Garry. Definitely one of my favourite artists.

Garry Shead: I’ll tell you about the portrait. First of all, I have captured a kind of body language, and Martin himself is big and such a dapper kind of person. And he wore those shoes, the Mickey Mouse kind of shoes. Because he invested so much of his creative life into the project of Luna Park, the scene behind is that terrible, you know, fire.

Martin Sharp: I think he captured what I saw about Luna Park – you know, that prophetic, apocalyptic vision, if you like.

Garry Shead: None of us can ever forget it.

What’s Martin think of it? I’ve never asked him.

Martin Sharp: It’s not for me to criticise one of my brother painters.

Garry Shead: But he would just kind of chuckle, like he does.