Michael Craig-Martin, the tutor of Julian Opie while at Goldsmiths University describes his work as: "an art of sustained artifice. Nothing is what it seems. The objects blatantly present are only images. Things that are not objects are treated as though they were. Words and numbers are as material as books and lamps. Even abstract shapes become ‘real’, with highlights and shadows. A world presented as tangible is ultimately described as surface. Spontaneity and casualness are implied, while planning and labour are disguised. 

This is also an art of broken rules. Nothing is sacred. Though painted, these are not paintings. Though occupying space, they are not sculptures. Their painted surface denies their metal structure, confounding truth to materials. Their visual language employs every device of representation, rejecting all the principles of reductiveness. Conventional values are upturned: Old Master paintings and boxes of Oxo cubes are treated alike, just two types of object. The work is rudely direct; though not without subtlety, it is not subtle."

Michael Craig-Martin, exhibition catalogue, 1985