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Martin Sharp

Martin Sharp (born 1942) is an Australian artist, underground cartoonist, songwriter and film-maker. Sharp has made tremendous contributions to Australian and international culture since the early 60s, and is hailed as Australia''s foremost pop artist. he lived in america for three years and now is in britain for the "Auchde Feaze" His famous psychedelic posters of Bob Dylan, Donovan and others rank as classics of the genre, alongside the work of Rick Griffin, Hapshash and the Coloured Coat and Milton Glaser. His covers, cartoons and illustrations were a central feature of Oz magazine, both in Australia and in London. Martin also co-wrote one of Cream''s most famous songs, "Tales of Brave Ulysses", and in the 1970s he became a champion of singer Tiny Tim, and of Sydney''s embattled Luna Park.

Martin was born in Sydney in 1942 and was educated at Cranbrook private school, where one of his teachers was the noted artist Justin O''Brien. In 1960 Martin enrolled at the National Art School at East Sydney, where began his artistic career, contributing to the shortlived student magazine The Arty Wild Oat, along with fellow artists Garry Shead and John Firth Smith. He also began submitting cartoons to The Bulletin. In 1961 he enrolled for two terms in Architecture at Sydney University before returning to the NAS.
In 1966 Martin published a selection of cartoons in the book Martin Sharp Cartoons. By this time,"Swinging London" was the mecca for young artists, writers and musicians, and after the traumatic experiences of the Oz trials, Sharp and Neville needed little encouragement to leave Australia. They set off on an overland trek through Asia, parting company in Kathmandu and making their separate ways to London.

On arrival, Sharp stayed for a short time with Neville''s sister, writer Jill Neville in Knightsbridge. It was at this time that he was introduced to a musician in the famous London nightclub, The Speakeasy. During the evening Sharp told the musician about a poem he had recently written; the musician in turn told Martin that he was looking for a lyric for some new music he had just written. Sharp obligingly wrote out the poem and his address on a serviette and gave it to his new acquaintance.

The musician turned out to be none other than acclaimed guitarist Eric Clapton. The song that resulted from the meeting, "Tales of Brave Ulysses", was recorded as the B-side of Cream''s smash hit "Strange Brew" and was included on Cream''s second album Disraeli Gears. His friendship with Clapton led to the commission to design the famous ''dayglo'' psychedelic collage cover for that album, which included overpainted photographs by Sharp''s friend Robert Whitaker, whom Sharp knew from Australia and whose studio was in the same building where Sharp lived.

The following year Sharp designed the spectacular gatefold sleeve for Cream''s third album, the double LP set Wheels of Fire (1968), for which he won the New York Art Directors Prize for Best Album Design in 1969. He also designed the cover for the eponymous debut L.P. of London underground legends Mighty Baby (1969).