British Commercial Poster
Regarded as one of the classic British psychedelic posters of the late 1960s, Martin Sharp's tribute to British singer songwriter Donovan captures the spirit of the Summer of Love in swinging London. The Australian born artist and co-founder of underground journal Oz magazine became fully immersed in the music and mind-altering drugs of the counter-culture scene on his arrival in London in 1966. Incorporating lyrics from Donovan's 1966 song Sunshine Superman, the poster is a psychedelic explosion of swirls, stars, pulsing stripes and theatrical figures. In a 2011 interview for Electrical Banana: Masters of Psychedelic Art, Sharp recalled ...the Donovan piece was a tribute poster, which I did as an admirer of his songs. There was a photograph central to that, and then I cut up some old Sketch magazine for the theatrical figures around the edges. The artwork was done at actual size, and I just started off and followed my nose, really. I would often work on Kromekote so you could scratch off mistakes, but often my mistakes led to my effects, because I'd accidentally drop spots of ink on my drawings... And I really loved the effect of foil, so we printed on foil stock. Printed in blue and black ink on silver metallic-faced card as number BO7 in the Big O Posters series, a first version was printed in 1967 with red ink to add depth to the central blue portion. This example is from the second, more widely known, version printed in 1968 without red ink. Similar examples are held in the permanent collections of MOMA, New York, the V&A Museum, London, and the Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney.
Unfolded cardstock, not backed. Nicks and creases to corners and edges. Two small tears at upper and lower edge, the largest ¾ in. Tarnishing to silver throughout, typical of foil-faced posters of this period. Colours fresh.