AUSTRALIAN STORY profiles the epic tale of a mother and son

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Australian Story
Source: ABC

The epic tale of a mother who moved mountains for a son who had a gift that only she could see.

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.

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Australian Story first met Tim Sharp when he was a 16-year-old schoolboy.  Single mother Judy had mortgaged her house to give Tim the opportunity of a lifetime – he’d been selected to exhibit his work in Washington DC at the Very Special Arts (VSA) Festival, founded by Jean Kennedy Smith, the last surviving sibling of JFK.

Judy says it was the beginning of “an amazing explosion of Tim’s work and creativity.”  Galleries wanted to show his work; people like Cate Blanchett bought it. Laser Beak Man has since been exhibited all over the world.

In 2014, Tim and Judy flew to New York to work with a team of innovative puppeteers to create a live show of Laser Beak Man. It premiered at the Brisbane Festival in 2017 to rave reviews and in January 2020 featured at the Sydney Opera House. Now there’s talk of a movie deal. 

Now aged 32, Tim acknowledges his mother’s determination and devotion and says, “it’s my dream come true.”

Producer: Kristine Taylor

AUSTRALIAN STORY – Monday 11 May at 8pm on ABC and iview

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