Martin Sharp originally designed Legalise Cannabis: The Putting Together of the Heads to promote a public rally for the legalisation of marijuana in London's Hyde Park on Sunday 16 July 1967. An Australian born co-founder of London counter-culture journal Oz magazine, Sharp's own experimentation with psychedelic drugs and cannabis informed his artistic output during this period, as evident in the swirling psychedelic lettering above the dense collage of exotic ethonographic engravings of South American Indians. Intended for flyposting ahead of the rally, it is likely that few posters from the initial printing made it to the streets of London, as it was discovered that the flyposter had stolen the stock and sold it to an American poster distributor. The incident alerted Oz magazine distributor Peter Ledeboer to the potential market for commercial pop culture posters, leading him to set up Big O Posters in September 1967. Legalise Cannabis was then reprinted by Sharp and Ledeboer in red and black inks on glossy gold metallic-faced card and sold by mail order through Oz magazine as BO1, the first in the Big O poster series. With the Big O publisher credit in the lower margin, this example dates from the post September 1967 commercial printing. Similar examples are held in the collections of the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, New South Wales and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Very good (B+)
Unfolded cardstock, not backed. Nicks and creases to edges and dog-eared corners. Some light tarnishing to lower portion, typical of foil-faced posters of this period. Image and colours otherwise excellent.