Born in London, Opie studied at the Goldsmith College between 1979 and 1982. His first one-man show was held, in 1984, at the Lisson Gallery in London, followed by another at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1985. Two years later, he participated in Documenta 8 in Kassel and, since then, he has had several one-man shows in British cities and abroad. In 1993, the Hayward Gallery in London held a major retrospective exhibition of his work. More recently, he has shown his work in Germany, France, Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, the Czech Republic, in the United States and in Great Britain. Like Alan Davie, Howard Hodgkin, Michael Craig-Martin, Tony Cragg, Stephen Cox, Gillian Ayres and Boyd Webb before him, Julian Opie was the British representative at the 9th Indiana Triennial.