Julian Opie

Posted: March 27th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: no blah blah: one artist | Tags: , | No Comments »

The work of Julian Opie is so recognizable.
His imagery is graphic, simplified and schematized. And the use of bright flat colours has become a brand mark.
Everyday life is dominated by images and Opie says he finds inspiration in the everyday world. His influences are various, such as classical portraiture, comic books and computer games.
He has a methodological approach with the drawing at the core of his work. An image usually becomes a sculpture, an animated film, a postcard, a CD cover, a screensaver or many other multiple forms. He is making images with existing images, extending some of the projects he is working on, into any other medium.
The first drawings were very simple, but that gave me a language on which to build. They started as black and white, with very pared-down parameters -the mouth was just a straight line and so on- and bit by bit I adjusted it until it seemed like the right balance between someone real and this generic form.” from Julian Opie (J.O.), Tate Gallery publication, 2004


Graham, Dave, Alex, Damon, 2000

Opie is exhibiting his portraits since 2000. At the time they were close-up portraits with front-facing heads and shoulders like on the Best of Blur album cover. Men and women of all races and ages are depicted in Opie’s portraits. Title features first name and occupation, which also avoids distance with the depicted subject.
The pictures are apparently simple, with the trademark for his portraits involving a black circle to represent the pupil. Specific individuals are displayed with a generic pattern. The style could easily remind us Hergé’s Tintin comics, especially in the way the pupil is depicted.
The personal characteristics that distinguish every human face have been omitted. Julian Opie has reduced the image down to its essential forms.
It is always the same method, with the use of computer-drawing programme.
We ask ourselves: What is a portrait ? What are the specific elements that make a person unique ?
People are quite self conscious when I photograph them, which is embarrassing in the photo but helps to give life and presence to a painting. When I’m drawing, I feel like everyone’s face is fabulous. I don’t know if this is also true of bodies. I try to make a universal symbol for each individual I draw.” Julian Opie for the British Council, 2001.

Bijou, model, 2004

I found a method in www.mancubist.co.uk, a website dedicated to the city of Manchester.

Julian Opie is born in 1958. He is currently working and living in London.
He is exhibiting his work with both solo and group exhibitions since 1982, after he graduated rom the Goldsmith’s school of Art in London.

official website:

online shop:

art galleries:
Lisson Gallery

Alan Cristea Gallery

Blood by Ben Darlington, graphic art student from Dorset, England

Found in the website www.woostercollective.com (dedicated to celebrating ephemeral art placed on streets around the world)