After hearing in the early hours of this morning Martin had died last night, the first email I got was from William Yang who wrote “The way I see it, his sparkling spirit has been released from his body.”
Yes, he was a sparkling spirit, often confused and disappointed by the ways of this world.
The first time we met was in 1969 in Kings Cross when we began our collaboration that became the Yellow House. When I walked up to him his eyes sparkled with a jewel like blue light that was supernatural. The eyes of his favourite story character, ‘The Little Prince’ . A noble creature from far away who does not really belong here but the people of this planet are lucky to have as a visitor .
Martin’s visit, as it always is for strangers in strange lands, was never easy but he has left a trail of pure star dust behind which will continue to inspire young artists for eternity.
When people ask me who my favourite Australian Artist is and my biggest influence I always answer,”Martin Sharp”. Martin taught me how to make clear, sharp images that could reach the widest audience and say what needed to be said with simplicity.
Martin was a mystic and always had one foot through the door into the other side. This invisible thread that stitches the mystical to the mundane in Martin’s work is what makes it so exciting.
The colours in Martin’s paintings glow and can grab attention a mile away but the gate keepers never got that. A couple of years ago he had his painting of David Gulpilil in the Archibald Prize. It stood out as the only masterpiece on show , making all the other portraits fade into insignificance. But when I expressed this opinion to other people, they looked puzzled. They would think about it for a while and then, reluctantly, agreed. I have never understood this reluctance.
Vincent Van Gogh had the same problem. I am sure Martin is tip toeing between the stars with Vincent and Tiny and glad to be out of this place.
My heart is full of sorrow today and constantly wells up when I think he is gone and tears run down my cheeks. Martin, I love you and look forward to catching up when the clock stops ticking and we can get back to painting eternity.
The top image was my spirit photo of Martin…. trying to photo his soul by using infra red film, taken in 1970 at the Sydney Yellow House.
I am not sure if I took the Stone Room one or someone else.