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Garry Shead

In their own words

Recorded 1970

Garry Shead
Audio: 2 minutes

The Arty Wild Oat was the first magazine of its type then, I mean, things were pretty dull in Sydney, I think, that time. Martin started doing his cartoons and I was still involved in my literary crap, so through Oz I discovered cartoons were a very satisfactory way of expressing social political annoyances of mine. Later on, my paintings tried to do the same thing. I got a bit confused between painting, pure painting, and trying to be a social commentator.

I find cartoons very easy to do, they’re a natural thing for me. I like [the] vulgarity of cartoons – that appeals to one side of me.

I usually do a cartoon when I’ve just been affected by something, some person, who I dislike; I usually vent my anger in a cartoon.

I’m not going to change society, certainly not by cartoons. I know where I am in the structure, in fact I’m not in the structure, except in the way I’ve got to live from society. I don’t believe you should take anything too seriously. Living is more important than art. Art is a reflection of living. People who take art as being everything, or their world living in a fantasy – life is a struggle of survival of the fittest and it’s a place where you are learning, discovering or strengthening individuality, for we lose our bodies and the most important thing is living and doing.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Garry Shead is from the De Berg Collection in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

Audio source

National Library of Australia, Hazel de Berg collection

Related people

Garry Shead

Related information

Martin Sharp by Garry Shead

Portrait story

Artists Garry Shead and Martin Sharp recount their friendship and the creation of Martin's portrait.

Martin Sharp
Martin Sharp
Martin Sharp
Martin Sharp

Oz and beyond

Magazine article by Diana Warnes, 2007

Martin Sharp fulfils the Pop art idiom of merging art and life.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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