Julian Opie Facts

Julian Opie is one of the world’s leading contemporary artists. He is best known for his minimally detailed portraits, and for his art installations incorporation LED technology.

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Facts About Julian Opie

  • Julian Opie was born in 1958 in London, England, and he grew up in Oxford.
  • His father, Roger Opie, was a famous economist and presented The Money Programme TV show.
  • He went to The Dragon School (a private prep school), and then in the 1970s, he attended Magdalen College School.
  • He studied art at Goldsmiths, University of London. One of his tutors was the artist Michael Craig-Martin. Another was Richard Wentworth.
  • His painted metal sculptures were the artworks that first got him national attention in the 1980s.
  • In 2007 he made a four-sided LED sculpture called Ann Dancing. It was installed in Indianapolis, United States.
  • He has also had public art projects shown in New York, Tokyo, Prague, Dublin, Seoul, London, Calgary, and Zurich.
  • In 2000, he designed an album cover for the British band Blur’s Best Of compilation. He has also created artwork for U2’s Vertigo world tour.
  • In 2010, he was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to create a portrait of James Dyson, an English inventor and engineer.
  • The Tate has several of Julian Opie’s pieces of work in its collection, as does the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
  • He loves Japanese woodcut prints by Utamaro and Hiroshige, and he collects Ukiyo-e woodblocks.
  • He enjoys reading the short stories of Raymond Carver.
  • His personal art collection includes work by Gary Hume, Carl Andre, Roy Lichtenstein, Kara Walker, and numerous Japanese woodblock prints.
  • He is quite colourblind.

What is Julian Opie’s art style?

Julian Opie’s works have been described as similar to pop art. His graphic portrait work often features simple, minimally detailed figures with black lines and outlines.

“I often feel that trying to make something realistic is the one criterion I can feel fairly sure of. Another one I sometimes use is, would I like to have it in my room?”

Julian Opie (2001)

Opie has said his portrait style was influenced by the Tintin cartoons and comics produced by Herge.

He has also produced sculptures out of steel, and he has incorporated LED lights and other digital media and computer-generated elements into his art projects.