Julian Opie was born in London and raised in Oxford. He is a graduate of Goldsmiths College (1979-1982).
His highly stylised work involves the reduction of photographs into figurative reproductions created using computer software. In his portraiture, the human face is characterised by black outlines with flat areas of colour and minimalised detail to the extent that an eye can become just the black circle of the pupil and a head, a circle with a space where the neck would be.
Opie's style was brought into the public eye when he was asked to design the cover for the British band Blur's “Best Of” album. On the cover, the band members are transformed in Opie's individual style. As one of the leading figures in computerised art he implements computer technology by cutting out the outlines and coloured shapes, sometimes on vinyl, as in the large display banners at Tate Britain.
Opie is a former trustee of the Tate Gallery and exhibits with Lisson Gallery and Alan Cristea Gallery in London.