Opie, Julian

Julian Opie (born 1958) is a leading contemporary English artist, who uses computerized imagery.

He is a graduate of Goldsmiths College (1979–82) and achieved some early gallery success, which was an incentive for slightly younger artists in the same college, such as Damien Hirst, to do likewise.

His work, derived in part from Patrick Caulfield and Michael Craig-Martin, involves the reduction of photographs (or short films) into figurative reproductions (created using computer software). In his portraiture, the human face is characterized by black outlines with flat areas of color, and mineralized detail, to the extent that an eye can become just the black circle of the pupil, and sometimes a head is represented by a circle with a space where the neck would be. Opie uses computers in art for other works. His Imagine you are… series, demonstrated how activities such as driving, walking and climbing could be represented by simple reductions. In addition, Opie uses sculpture and light installations to present items of everyday life.

Julian Opie also implements computer technology by cutting out the outlines and colored shapes, sometimes on vinyl, as in large display banners at Tate Britain. His studio and workshop is based in Shoreditch, London. He was the subject of a film by Illuminations in their The EYE series, in which they profile contemporary visual artists in Britain. He was also the subject of a book by Mary Horlock published by Tate Publishing as part of their Modern Artist series.