Martin Sharp: His Life and Times

By Joyce Morgan Allen & Unwin


Joyce Morgan

Judges' report


Martin Sharp was an unusual character who lived an uncommon life. The only son of a wealthy Sydney family, he became immersed in the great social and cultural upheavals of the 1960s by virtue of his calling as an artist. His irreverent cartooning prompted the notorious obscenity trials over Oz Magazine, which became a flashpoint in the generational conflict between a conservative and censorious establishment and the era’s burgeoning spirit of creativity, liberation and openness. When he relocated to London in the late 1960s, he rubbed shoulders with rockstars and designed vibrant posters and album covers that captured the psychedelic mood of the times. Upon his return to Sydney, he was to inscribe his colourful aesthetic onto the visual memory of his home city when he painted the luminous facade for Luna Park. Joyce Morgan has written an exemplary cradle-to-grave biography of her intriguing subject, one that takes stock of his flaws and idiosyncrasies as well as his talents. Her crisp and economical prose seamlessly incorporates a wealth of historical research into a brisk and entertaining narrative. Martin Sharp: His Life and Times is a thorough account of the life of a fascinating artist and a no-less-fascinating slice of cultural history.