When I wandered through the seemingly endless halls of the National Portrait Gallery in London, I suddenly stood in front of my favourite contemporary artist: Julian Opie.
People were flooding into the room, walking past me, bumping into me, but I wasn’t able to move as my eyes were fixed on him.
There he was, blinking, breathing, with a serious, waiting look on his face – ‘Julian with a T-Shirt’.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t him in person, but almost.
By now the picture cannot longer be seen in the National Portrait Gallery – unfortunately it has been replaced.
I first ever saw Julian Opie’s art on the cover of a book. “Starter for ten” (“Keine weiteren Fragen”) by David Nicholls – a very good book, by the way. (It also is a movie now.)
On the first glance, the images may have a lot in common with stick men. They display features in a very minimalistic way. But this is why they work so well.
They strip every person to the core features.
By sticking to those features, the portraits make a person’s nature visible.
Have a go at turning yourself into an Opie-portrait. (Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll put them on the blog.)
Or you can try out the Julian Opie technique on yourself in a more professional way. Here you find a Photoshop tutorial to turn any picture into an Opie-piece-of-art.
Here is my best attempt:
But the moving and breathing Julian in the Portrait Gallery is also a little creepy. Because there he is – a statue of Nelson Mandela and a painting of the Princes of Wales next two him – all of them forever frozen in time. He, on the other hand, will be ‘living’ in this frame forever – just like Dorian Gray.
Click here to find a (rather pricy) professional way of getting your own picture ‘opiefied’.
Read here about Opie’s outdoor exhibition in Indianapolis.