Life On The Job



Famous or Historic People


Timothy William Sharp (9 May 1988 - ) Australian Artist

Tim Sharp with his creation Laser Beak Man

Introduction

Timothy William Sharp (born 9 May 1988) is an Australian artist who has been diagnosed with autism and is most famous for his creation of the colourful super hero Laser Beak Man. In 2010, Sharp's work garnered international attention when Laser Beak Man was turned into an eight episode animated television series screening in Australia on ABC3 TV and it was then sold to Cartoon Network Australia, New Zealand and Asia – a world first for a young man with autism to achieve.

Sharp is most famous for his bold and colourful artworks completed in crayon that all feature his superhero Laser Beak Man. Many of them are interpretations of pop culture icons or current topics of interest. Others are representations of Sharp's literal understanding of language, a common trait of autism. Most of them reflect Sharp's unique sense of humour and his often irreverent opinion of people and situations.

Tim lives with his mother Judy and has a younger brother Sam.


Tim Sharp's Family

(Source: Sunshine Coast Daily)

Sharp was born in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia in 1988. Following concerns about his lack of language development – he only used one or two words occasionally and exhibited some unusual behaviours and was constantly upset – he was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. The specialist's opinion was that the difficulties were so extensive that Tim would never learn anything and that the best thing that could be done would be to put him away and forget about him.

That news, delivered 29 years ago [2020], cut the mother of two to the core.

But as she strapped her son Tim into the car she felt his little hands wipe away the tears on her face. It was that moment, she said, that sparked a hope in her the doctor was wrong.
(Source: Sunshine Coast Daily)

His mother introduced drawing as a means of communicating with her son. After some time of watching his mother draw stick figures to explain a situation Sharp picked up a pencil at age four and began drawing. His mother remembers that his very first drawing displayed his quirky individual style.


Quickly, Sharp began to develop speech and went to using 10 words within a month, increasing to 100 words three months later, from which point his speech continued to develop.

Following a lifelong passion and interest in superheroes, at age 11 Sharp created his own superhero from his imagination called Laser Beak Man.

Laser Beak Man

Education

Cavendish Road State High School, Holland Park Brisbane.

 

Experiences


At age 16, in 2004, Sharp was the only Australian selected by jury for the world's largest arts festival for people with disabilities, VSA (Very Special Arts) that was founded by Jean Kennedy Smith, sister of President John F. Kennedy. Sharp travelled to Washington, D.C. for the festival and carried the Australian flag into the opening ceremony at the John F Kennedy performing arts centre. The ABC’s Australian Story, made a documentary about Sharp's trip to Washington DC which screened in September 2005.

In 2020, ABC's Australian Story revisited Tim and his Mum.

Albert Namatjira

 

 

Paintings of Tim Sharp
Tim with Mark Lutz from Art House Reproductions
(Source: Facebook)


Sharp's art is in demand from collectors from around the world. Preferring to exhibit in his home country of Australia, his exhibitions are sellout successes, attracting the attention of many prominent Australians and art collectors from both Australia and around the world.


The National Museum of Australia in Canberra holds an exhibition of Sharp's story and his art in its Eternity gallery. His art has been exhibited in the Sydney Opera House.


In 2010 during an exhibition of his art at the Brisbane Powerhouse, Sharp met visitors to the exhibition Sheldon Liebermann and his animator Igor Coric from BigfishTV in Brisbane who suggested animating the art and produced the series for the Australian Broadcasting Commission.

 

Australian Children's Television Foundation - Laser Beak Man - Series 1 Teaser
https://youtu.be/jSoKv0U7xrM

 


In 2012, a film about Sharp produced by Arts Queensland was screened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York City as part of the Sprout Film Festival. Also, in 2012, The Ghost Ballerinas, a rock band from Nashville, Tennessee, asked Sharp to create the artwork for their album "Play Me on the Radio". Together Sharp and the band members wrote the song "Laser Beak Man" which was included on the album and made available on iTunes. The band members were so inspired by Sharp, they wanted to help others with autism and raise autism awareness so they put on a music festival in Tennessee called the I Am What I Am music festival. Sharp travelled to Tennessee for the festival.


Sharp's 2014 TEDx Sydney talk received a standing ovation in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House.


The best selling memoir of Sharp's life A Double Shot of Happiness was published in 2015.

Did You Know?

Double Shot of Happiness

The inspirational story of how a boy diagnosed with severe autism went on to become one of Australia's best-known international artists and the creator of Laser Beak Man.

A Double Shot of Happiness (from the title of one of Tim's favourite artworks) is Judy's beautiful and heartfelt account of Tim's odyssey from that terrible diagnosis to his emergence as an acclaimed artist and a fulfilled, loving and loved young man. It's a story that has involved many hurdles, moments of despair and incredible hard work from Tim, Judy, his brother Sam and all those who have helped them, but that is ultimately moving, inspiring and triumphant.
(Source: Allen & Unwin)

A Theatre production of Laser Beak Man has been developed in conjunction with Dead Puppet Society and the New Victory Theatre at 42nd Street Studios in New York City. (Source: Wikipedia)

 

Opportunities & Training:

The Conversation 15 September 2017

The Conversation

 

 

Links:

bullet.gif (981 bytes)Laser Beak Man

Laser Beak Man

Facebook: Laser Beak Man





bullet.gif (981 bytes)ABC's Australian Story
11 May 2020

Australian Story

bullet.gif (981 bytes)ABC News 8 January 2020

ABC News




bullet.gif (981 bytes)ABC's The Drawing Room
26 September 2019 [16mins 42secs]

The Drawing Room
bullet.gif (981 bytes)Conversations with Richard Fidler & Sarah Kanowski
8 February 2016 [48mins]

Conversations

bullet.gif (981 bytes) Conversations with Richard Fidler & Sarah Kanowski
4 March 2014 [50mins30secs]

Conversations
bullet.gif (981 bytes)Laser Beak Man and Puppetry - ABC Arts - Facebook

Puppetry


bullet.gif (981 bytes)Myf Warhurst: Happy Birthday Laser Beak Man!
16 September 2019

Myf Warhurst
bullet.gif (981 bytes)Amaze

Amaze
bullet.gif (981 bytes)Autism Spectrum Australia

Aspect
bullet.gif (981 bytes)The Guardian 22 September 2017

The Guardian
bullet.gif (981 bytes)Sydney Festival January 2020

bullet.gif (981 bytes)SMH January 2020

 

bullet.gif (981 bytes)YouTube: LASERBEAK MAN - The Story of Autistic Artist Tim Sharp
https://youtu.be/_mRGSDnMAeE

 

bullet.gif (981 bytes)YouTube: A double shot of happiness: Tim & Judy Sharp at TEDxSydney 2014
https://youtu.be/78VbeiAbcYI

 

 

bullet.gif (981 bytes)YouTube: How Tim Sharp created a ‘double shot of happiness’ with Laser Beak Man | Australian Story (ABC Australian Story: Mother and Son https://www.abc.net.au/austory/mother-and-son/12225136)

https://youtu.be/WsPm57HuITw

When Tim Sharp was three, his mother Judy was told he had severe autism and should be put in an institution. Judy refused to write him off, believing he had a place in the world.

Judy nurtured Tim’s gift for drawing and quirky eye for detail. At age 11, he created “Laser Beak Man”, an alter ego superhero character, whose adventures Tim turned into vibrant works of art.

25 years later, Laser Beak Man has taken Tim all over the world with international art exhibitions and a puppet stage show at the Sydney Opera House.

Australian Story first met Tim Sharp when he was a schoolboy. Now, 16 years later, the next chapter in the epic tale of a mother who moved mountains for a son who had a gift that only she could see.

 

bullet.gif (981 bytes)YouTube: Laser Beak Man co-creators David Morton, Nicholas Paine & Tim Sharp
https://youtu.be/-3Qs3mUiEaw

 

bullet.gif (981 bytes)YouTube: Laser Beak Man [The Puppet Show]
https://youtu.be/f38027aVYZ4

 

 

Did You Know?

SMH

Sydney Morning Herald - Journalist Lenny Ann Low
4 January 2020


Laser Beak Man is a superhero dressed in a bright green and blue costume who shoots lasers from his red beak. Wordless, enigmatic and immersed in a world of eye-popping colours and pun-based humour, his lasers – powered by mythical underground Magna Crystals – turn bad things into good. As guardian of Power City, his beautiful, clean and pure home, this caped crusader keeps the world safe.
But now his powers have been lost. Arch rival and former childhood friend Peter Bartman has stolen the crystals and Laser Beak Man must demonstrate to his friends and the community why he should get his powers back. Will he succeed? Can Power City be rescued? Who will save the day?

This gripping plot drives Laser Beak Man, a rollicking and heart-swelling theatre adaptation of the cult-classic superhero Australian artist Tim Sharp first drew 20 years ago.

Developed collaboratively by Sharp and Brisbane theatre company Dead Puppet Society, the show – part of the 2020 Sydney Festival – is a joyful 90-minute mix of intricate puppetry, vivid animation, live music and helium-powered zeppelins flying above the audience. There is even an animated portrayal of Leigh Sales, voiced by the journalist herself.

Tim with picture of Leigh Sales
Tim with picture of Leigh Sales
Video: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laser.man.7/videos/10207490833588274/
(Source: Laser Beak Man)


Infused with ideas of accepting all people, protecting the planet and effecting change in a vulnerable world, Laser Beak Man – which was nominated for four Helpmann Awards – is about a superhero with a difference.

Artistic director of Dead Puppet Society David Morton describes the work as an uplifting and humour-filled adventure that explores staying true to yourself and the importance of radical inclusion.



Tim Sharp with David Morton
David Morton (left), artistic director of Dead Puppet Society, puppet Laser Beak Man and Tim Sharp, who created Laser Beak Man.
(Source: SMH)


“The world of Laser Beak Man extends way beyond what we have in the play,” he says. “In our version, Laser Beak Man, in the opening moments, loses his powers because of some mistakes that he made in his past. So we touch on Laser Beak Man’s origin story, where he met his best friends at kindergarten and then how he first discovered he had this superpower.

“Our show is about what happens when those friends feel wronged and come back and decide they’re going to take his powers from him. And how, after a massive soul-searching journey to get his powers back, he wins them back over.

“He a superhero, but not the typical strong man. Yes, he’s got the cape but he’s a superhero with a difference.”

Sharp first drew Laser Beak Man when he was 11. Diagnosed with autism at the age of three, Tim’s future was declared bleak by a child psychologist who declared he would, “be a burden for the rest of his life and he will end up in an institution”.

Tim’s mother, Judy Sharp, refused to accept the doctor’s view and began intensive therapy for her son. One day, seeking ways to communicate with him, she began drawing stick figures. Tim was entranced. Drawing became a way for the pair to connect. A year later he picked up a pencil and drew an elephant, his first drawing. His verbal skills rapidly evolved and a world of communication and creativity opened up.

Two decades later, Tim and his art have achieved a global, cult-like status. He has shown work in international art festivals and exhibitions, been part of documentaries and a book, Double Shot of Happiness, and, with Judy, given motivational talks, including a TEDx talk at the Sydney Opera House in 2014. When Laser Beak Man debuted on ABC TV, Tim became the first artist with autism to have an original artwork transformed into an animated TV series.

Original Puppets
Laser Beak Man features 35 original puppets built from laser-cut, ink-soaked balsa wood.
(Source: SMH)



The humour in Sharp’s art stems mainly from a play on words. Take Laser Beak Man and The Barbie Queue, which features 15 Barbie dolls lining-up for a sausage barbecued by Laser Beak Man. Or Flat White, showing Laser Beak Man driving a steamroller over an Anglo man outside a cafe. In Butterflies, Laser Beak Man hurls a slab of butter out the window, and in Sweet Dreams he flies on a magic carpet dispensing waves of lollipops and sweets across houses at night.

Morton, and executive producer of Dead Puppet Society, Nicholas Paine, were already fans of Tim’s work when they met him and Judy in 2013 at the Powerhouse arts centre in Brisbane. A three-year collaboration to bring Laser Beak Man to the stage began soon after.

“The process of making this show exactly mimics what the message in the show is,” Paine says. “The method of inclusion where Tim is an active collaborator in the creation of the work and his ability is equal to ours and his talent. We don’t see any of his disability as a holdback for what a fantastic artist he is and his ability to make great work.”

Morton says it felt like working with a collaborator who had been working on the show for 20 years. “Whenever we were unsure what a character would do, Tim knew,” he says. “Whenever we were unsure about what a thing should look like, Tim always knew. We were all trying to do justice to his world and his creation and it made for such an extraordinary experience because we all had something to work for.”

With 35 original puppets, each hand-built from laser-cut, ink-soaked balsa wood, the show features a team of puppeteers from Australian and the US and is accompanied by live music composed by Sam Cromack of Ball Park Music.

“It plays like a rock concert with a story,” Morton says. “Laser Beak Man doesn’t speak, something Tim was very insistent on, so the band express a lot of the emotion and the narrative role of him as a character through the music.”

Despite the puppets and big, bright colours, Laser Beak Man works best for audiences aged eight and up. “The humour in it is very adult,” Morton says. “Not in a way that’s too rude for young people but adults love this show because it’s witty and so funny and the pop-rock score that goes with it is unbelievable. It’s a feast that crosses the generations and, for 10- to 12-year-olds and their parents, it will just tick every box.”

(Source: SMH)

 Activities

 

bullet.gif (981 bytes)Education Resource Pack - To use with Laser Beak Man Play
On the Internet; Downloaded version [PDF] - 23 pages; loads of ideas and lessons.

High SchoolSecondary TeacherTeacher

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

CriticalAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking

There are a lot of resources that can be adapted without going to the play.

 

 

bullet.gif (981 bytes)Imitating Tim using Australian Slang

PrimaryPrimary MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary

CriticalAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking
LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy
Personal and social capability
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Personal and social capability

 

1. Tim Sharp takes things literally. Consider the term “flat white”. Most of us would imagine our morning coffee, perhaps being served to us by a bearded barista. Sharp, however, sees a steamroller and a rather unfortunate Anglo person.

Sharp is an artist with autism, who communicates his unique perspective on the world through quirky, hilarious and colourful drawings. The hymn Then Sings My Soul translates to a shoe opening like a mouth, spewing forth music.(Source: The Guardian)

Then sings my soul
(Source: Tim Sharp)

There is also...

The Barbie Queue

The Barbie Queue
(Source: ABC News)

I'm over it

I'm over it
(Source: Laser Beak Man)

 

Chick Magnet

Chick Magnet
(Source: Freeman Project)

2. You are to select one of the following Australian Slang phrases to draw in the style of Tim Sharp.

The phrases have been chosen from the NSW Government Dictionary of Australian slang [it also contains context and meaning if you need to look it up].

Australian Dictionary of Slang

Caught red- handed Ankle Biter As crook as Rookwood The best thing since sliced bread
Give us a yell See you round like a rissole She's cactus! Keep ya' shirt on
Technicolour yawn On the blink Galah Rabbitin' on


3. Start with an idea and share it with a partner. See if they can understand the concept and maybe add to it.

4. Start drawing. Remember to use colourful crayons and lots of them.


 

Materials sourced from
Laser Beak Man
Wikipedia
Allen & Unwin

Sydney Morning Herald

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