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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Martin Sharp part two

In their own words

Recorded 1970

Martin Sharp part two
Audio: 2 minutes

I think even freer than some of the cartoons were some of the advertisements I used to do, because we used to do all the advertisements to keep the magazine one flavour throughout. I used to do thinks like stick down a whole lot of heads and then draw balloons and then just write in the balloons as the thoughts came, the most surreal inane conversations between the people. The characters in the ad would develop and this was just me setting up a framework and just filling it in as spontaneously as possible. And these were often the funniest things, set the context up and then, as quickly as you could, put something into it. I made a lot of discoveries in doing that and I think the surreal thing developed through the cartoons, because the basis of humour is a surreal juxtaposition of two strange forces coming together unexpectedly, at the point where a joke is made.

Oz was prosecuted for obscenity which of course where we were all launched, rocketed into stardom. We really adored it all, actually, it was marvellous fun for everyone concerned. I think a bit worrying for the parents at some stages but it was a great adventure and we met a lot of marvellous people doing it – the witnesses who came to our aid were really the most important people in Sydney as far as we were concerned. Yeah that was really inspiring the way that they came to help us, and to sit through this court case listening to the greatest brains in Sydney laying it down to the police was really very exciting.

Well, I always paint with music playing all the time, I love music. And I’d love to be able to play and perhaps I will some time, I don’t know. You know, I’m tempted to explore so many different media, perhaps too many, I know but while I have the feeling to do it, I suppose I may as well do it and then try and pull them together if I can.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Martin Sharp is from the De Berg Collection in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency