Julian Opie is a visual artist born in 1958 in London. He is member of the New British Sculpture movement, the group of artists who collaboratively exhibited in London in the 1980s. Opie graduated from the Goldsmiths School of Art in 1983, and has since displayed his work nationally and internationally at numerous major museums and galleries. He is best known for his portraits and walking figures, rendered in a minimalist animated style. His work typically features thick black contours, reductive forms, and graphic aesthetics.
His oeuvre incorporates cartoon-like bust portraits, groups of people walking in modern cities, abstracted human profiles made with basic geometric shapes, and metal sculpture silhouettes of bodies in motion. He combines influences from classical portraiture, Japanese woodblock printing, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and public signage to create works of art that comment on the state of contemporary urban life while paying homage to the foundations of art history. Opie plays on colour, shape, and light to create a pop art-inspired visual language that incorporates themes of consumerism, humour, and representation/perception. He is particularly interested in the way people assign meaning to objects and explains his practice as a process of vision, awareness, and perspective.
His distinct style has become immediately recognizable, and his work can be found among many private and public art collections—including the Tate Museum, British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Museum of Modern Art—as well as viewed as public art installations. He is represented by twelve galleries around the world, and has exhibited at major venues including the Venice Biennial and Documenta. He is currently based in London, England.