This poster is one of my first published works after my arrival in London in 1966. I can remember my dear friend Eifa Vehka-aho creating all the beautiful circles that make up Bob Dylan’s hair and which contribute so much to the work. The photograph, which forms the main image, was enlarged from a small photo in a book. The central image in the hair is a knot design, possibly by Leonardo da Vinci.
Aubrey Beardsley’s work was enjoying a revival at the time and there were many posters being produced from many sources and periods, as well as by the young artists of the day. There is certainly a Beardsley flavour. The lettering is by me and all these elements were collaged together to make the complete image.
Bob Dylan’s Mister Tambourine Man was a favourite song of mine. My poster is really just a tribute to Bob Dylan, a songwriter and singer I have greatly admired since first hearing him in 1964. The poster was printed by Peter Ledoboer, who was the printer of OZ Magazine, and he also distributed it to the numerous poster shops and stalls. It was sold for £1, in an unlimited edition, and was very much a part of the times in London in the late 1960s: a decoration.
Martin Sharp 2002
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002