British artist Julian Opie challenges traditional approaches to portraiture through his digitally designed and seemingly contradictory, depersonalised works. Working also with landscapes and cityscapes, Opie’s highly stylised work involves the reduction of photographs or short films into figurative reproductions created using computer software. The hallmarks of his artistic style are portraits and animated walking figures, rendered with minimal detail in black line drawing.

Opie’s simplified forms use thick black outlines which are filled in with solid, flat colour. Resultingly, these forms blend Minimalism with Pop Art. Opie draws particular influence from Roy Lichtenstein’s cartoon and comic book imagery as well as Andy Warhol’s industrialised form of portraiture, particularly through the use of the screen print, and Patrick Caulfield’s painted blocks of colour which are outlined in black.

Considering inspirations as diverse as billboard signs, classical portraiture, Japanese woodblock prints, Egyptian hieroglyphs and traffic signs, Opie turns to a vast array of media and technologies to connect the visual language of modern life with art history. Namely, his works have been realised in screenprint, LED, painting and billboard screens. Opie’s paintings and limited-edition prints can be found in many public collections worldwide including The Tate Gallery, London, The Arts Council of Great Britain, The National Museum of Art, Osaka and The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

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Julian Opie Artist Portrait Photography


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