'Mister Tambourine Man' was produced while Sharp was living in London and working as an illustrator for the underground magazine Oz. The image appeared on the cover of the seventh issue of the satirical journal, one of the most visually exciting publications of its time. Sharp also designed posters for musicians and bands, including Donovan, Cream and Jimmy Hendrix.
Sharp's image draws on the lyrics of the song by the subject of the poster, Bob Dylan. This image of the singer is synonymous with an emerging spirit of the 1960s. Emphasising youth culture’s emphasis on change and experimentation, Dylan’s lyrics have been widely interpreted as recounting his early experiences with LSD. Experimentation with LSD and other psychedelic drugs became a major component of 1960s counterculture, influencing philosophy, art, music and styles of dress. As one commentator noted, 'Sharp's living colour interpretation of LSD provided an instant in to psychedelia'.
This complex, multi-stencil design is printed on gold foil paper, and features spiralling circular motifs which radiate from the singer's head. Sharp has related 'Mister Tambourine Man' and other images from this period to his experience visiting the ancient Cambodian temple complex of Angkor in 1966. There he witnessed majestic fig trees sprout from the multitude of smiling faces which grace the towers at the Bayon temple of Angkor Thom.
Blowing in the mind
Mr Tambourine Man
Blowin' in the mind
Mister tambourine man
Dylan - Mr Tambourine Man
screenprint, printed in black and red ink from multiple stencils, on gold foil laminated paper
75.4 x 49.8 cm image/sheet
Signature & date
Signed within image to print l.r. corner, "SHARP". Not dated.
Thea Proctor Memorial Fund 1970
Not on display
© Estate of Martin Sharp. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
Where the work was made
Shown in 7 exhibitions
Survey 14: Martin Sharp, National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne, 15 May 1981–04 Jul 1981
1968, National Gallery of Australia, Parkes, 29 Jul 1995–29 Oct 1995
The power of the poster, Victoria and Albert Museum, England, 02 Apr 1998–26 Jul 1998
Larrikins in London: an Australian presence in 1960s London, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Paddington, 04 Sep 2003–11 Oct 2003
Australian Collection Focus: Notes from the River Caves: Peter Kingston & Martin Sharp, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 20 Sep 2006–19 Nov 2006
Sixties explosion, Macquarie University Art Gallery, Sydney, 18 Sep 2012–21 Oct 2013
Pop to popism, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 01 Nov 2014–01 Mar 2015
Referenced in 26 publications
anonymous., Sydney Morning Herald, 'Sharp Dylan', Sydney, 14 Dec 1967, page number unknown. not AGNSW impression
Annmarie Brennan, Proceedings of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand 30, Open, 'Strategies of a Counter-Culture: Oz Magazine and the Techniques of the Joke', pg. 595-608, Melbourne, 2013, 602 (illus.). not AGNSW impression
Roger Arthur Butler, Australian prints in the Australian National Gallery, Canberra, 1985, 52 (colour illus.). not AGNSW impression; dated 1968
Roger Arthur Butler, Poster art in Australia: the streets as art galleries - walls sometimes speak, Canberra, 1993, 44 (colour illus.). not AGNSW impression; dated 1968
Mike Evans, The art of British rock: 50 years of rock posters, flyers and handbills, 'Draw the dream', pg. 46-73, London, 2010, 64 (colour illus.). not AGNSW impression; titled 'Blowing in The Mind'
Christine France, Art and Australia (Vol. 47, No. 1), 'Martin Sharp: A democratic surrealism', pg. 90-99, Sydney, 2009, 92 (colour illus.), 93, 96. not AGNSW impression
Anthea Gunn, Journal of Australian studies, A-changin' times: the art of Martin Sharp in the 1960s', pg. 179-192, London, Jun 2010, 186. general reference
Norman Hathaway, Electrical banana: masters of psychedelic art, 'Martin Sharp', pg. 36-61, Bologna, 2011, 39, 61 (colour illus.). not AGNSW impression; dated 1966
Karen Hughes., The Australian, 'Artist on the street', Sydney, 11 Feb 1981, page number unknown. general reference to 'Bob Dylan one'
Terry Ingram., The Australian financial review, 'Sharp the Oz star of poster show', Sydney, 02 Jul 1998, page number unknown. not AGNSW impression
George Melly, Revolt into style: the pop arts in Britain, 'Visual pop', pg. 125-156, London, 1970, 137, 138. not AGNSW impression; titled 'Dylan'
Joyce Morgan., Look, 'Dedicated follower of passions', Sydney, Mar 2017-Apr 2017, 68,69 (colour illus.).
Michael Organ., http://sixtiessharp.blogspot.com.au/, 'Sunshine Superman', Bulli, 29 Dec 2013, n.pag. (colour illus.). viewed 31.01.2014, http://sharpsunshinesuperman.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/martin-sharps-sunshine-superman-1967.html
Ted Owen, High art: a history of the psychedelic poster, 'Swinging London', pg. 113-132, London, 1999, 122, 126, 142 (colour illus.), 143. not AGNSW impression; titled 'Blowing In The Mind'
Jennifer Phipps, Sixties Explosion, 'Martin Sharp, Big O Posters Ltd, London, England, Publisher', pg. 88-91, Sydney, 2012, 88, 90 (colour illus.), 121. not AGNSW impression; titled 'Mister tambourine man'; dated 1968
Martin Sharp., Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, 'Mister Tambourine Man', text on his own poster, Canberra, 2002, 263 (colour illus.). not AGNSW impression
Martin Sharp, Survey 14: Martin Sharp, Melbourne, 1981, n.pag. (illus.). not AGNSW impression; cat.no. 53; titled 'Dylan - Mr Tambourine Man'; dated 1968
Wayne Tunnicliffe, Pop to popism, ''The easel did not go pop: it went bang!': Australian pop art', pg. 137-186, Sydney, 2014, 166, 167 (colour illus.), 304, 325.
Peter Vincent, Sydney Morning Herald, 'Up against the wall', pg. 12, Sydney, 15 Oct 2003, 12. money supplement
Nick Waterlow (Curator), Larrikins in London: an Australian presence in 1960s London, Sydney, 2003, 113.
Natalie Wilson., Notes from the river caves: Peter Kingston and Martin Sharp, 'Notes from the River Caves: Peter Kingston and Martin Sharp', Sydney, 2006, (colour illus.). Website catalogue for the 'Notes from the River Caves: Peter Kingston and Martin Sharp' exhibition held at the AGNSW in 2006.
Unknown, Just for fun: the prints of Martin Sharp, 'Notes of key works', pg. 7-8, Adelaide, 2000, 8. not AGNSW impression; titled 'Mr Tambourine Man'
Unknown and Christine Dixon, 1968, 'Happiness is a new idea', pg. 29-34, Canberra, 1995, 30 (colour illus.),31, 94. not AGNSW impression; titled 'Mister tambourine man'; dated 1968
Unknown and Unknown (Editors), The sixties. Britain and France, 1960-1973, London, 1997, 198 (colour illus.). not AGNSW impression
Unknown, The power of the poster, London, 1998, 61 (colour illus.). not AGNSW impression; cat.no. 53