Sharp came to prominence in the 1960s as an underground cartoonist and was one of three who founded the controversial Oz magazine that led to him being imprisoned on obscenity charges.
He was regarded as Australia’s foremost pop and psychedelic artists and his posters of Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan have become icons of the genre.
After returning to Sydney, Sharp established the Yellow House, an artists’ collective in Sydney’s Potts Point that shaped the creative output of a generation of artists, film makers and performers.
Arthur Stace’s Eternity signature were recurring themes in his work. The work of US singer Tiny Tim was also a major inspiration after Sharp saw him perform in London in 1968. Sharp was also deeply affected by the fatal fire at Sydney’s Luna Park in 1979, and this also became a theme in a number of his works.
Sharp was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2005 in recognition for his contributions to the pop art movement in Australia. His work can be found in a number of major collections including the National Portrait Gallery, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and the National Gallery of Australia.
Image: Martin Sharp – courtesy of South Hill Gallery