I must confess that this post is somewhat of a personal indulgence. The artist in question, Julian Opie, is an old school friend of mine. Looking back more than 40 years to our days together at Magdalen College School, Oxford, it was always clear that he was set to be a successful and prolific artist, while I was predestined to be some form of critic.
In those days Jube, as he was known to his friends, was making teapots … lots and lots of teapots. Since then he has blossomed into an influential figure in the British art scene.
In the 1980s he produced a series of painted metal sculptures that humorously combined loosely painted imagery with steel shapes.
Portraits and animated walking figures, rendered with minimal detail in black line drawing, were and remain hallmarks of his style. His love of Tintin in his teens has obviously remained with him.
In 2010, Jube’s four-sided LED sculpture Ann Dancing was installed in Indianapolis, USA, as the first artwork on the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.
He has worked on many public projects in cities around the world, including the Dentsu Building, Tokyo (2002), City Hall Park, New York (2004), Phoenix Art Museum USA (2007), Dublin City Gallery, Ireland (2008), Seoul Square, South Korea (2009), Regent’s Place, London (2011), St Mary’s Hospital, London (2012) and Carnaby Street, London.
Jube even designed an album cover for Blur in 2000 while, in 2006, he created an LED projection for U2’s Vertigo tour.
In 2010, he was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to create a portrait of the inventor and engineer Sir James Dyson.
In this latest project, Jube was commissioned to produce an art wall for a new designer hotel, citizenM Tower of London. He turned to stoneCIRCLE to manufacture the frieze. It was produced in Jordans Basebed Portland Stone and patinated bronze, in a similar technique to Rhona Smith’s An Age, An Instant in New Burlington Mews. The Portland Stone was routed and the outline figures were cut from 5mm bronze sheet on the company’s waterjet cutting machine and then patinated and glued into place on site.
A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, March 2017.