Taken from Julian Opie’s We Swam Amongst The Fishes series from 2003, We Swam Amongst The Fishes 2 shows an underwater scene of various species of fish. Rendered in Opie’s bold, graphic style, the fish swimming across the picture plane are depicted in thick, dark outlines and set against a flattened blue backdrop.
We Swam Amongst The Fishes 2 has an all-over composition that is arbitrary in its cropping and creates the effect of a graphic pattern. Despite the flattened picture plane and use of thick, graphic lines, the image exudes a sense of realism in the way it captures the movement of the fish through the water, provoking familiarity within the viewer. The realism of Opie’s style mixed with his strong sense of line, and bold use of simplified shapes is indicative of the way he strikes a balance between graphic design and high art.
Inspired by a trip to Bali, this series is unusual for Opie in terms of subject matter but is representative of the artist’s desire to capture the world around him. Throughout his oeuvre Opie has worked from photographs taken on holidays, the streets of London and everyday life which are then reworked through new computer technology to form highly stylised and colourful prints.