Taken from the artist’s Tourists series, Tourist With Watch is a print by Julian Opie from 2014 that shows a three-quarter length portrait of a woman dressed in black, turning away from the viewer with her hand near her mouth. As implied by the print’s title, Opie shows a watch on the sitter’s hand as her distinguishing feature.
Opie draws upon conventional art historical portraiture and media imagery in order to create a representation of the contemporary world from his uniquely modern perspective. Utilising these conventional formats, such as the three-quarter length portrait, Opie produces vivid, simplified images with computer-generated graphics. As with other prints in the series, Tourist With Watch is created from a photograph taken by the artist which is then altered on a computer-drawing programme.
Opie’s simplified visual language offers the viewer a new perspective on the technological age that is saturated with information. Tourist With Watch exemplifies the way in which Opie questions how we can communicate what we see and feel with the most intensity or quickest speed. Opie finds a contemporary language with which to describe how the world feels now by distilling both ancient styles and modern techniques.