A World in Denim
Born Huddersfield, UK 1984
At first glance, many believe that Ian Berry’s work are blue toned photographs or indigo coloured oil paintings. This is not only when viewed online or in print, when much of the depth and detail is lost, but even up close. Even at touching distance, many viewers don’t realise that they are looking at many layers, and shades, of denim jeans.
But of course it is testament to his work that it is not all about it being made in old jeans that makes it special. It is simply his medium for seeing the world, his paint, and what a material to use in this modern world; with all its symbols and dualities, as well as being such a common item of clothing that unites many around the globe.
To see them up close, you become aware of the depth and texture and see how each small piece of denim has been considered and crafted out of jeans with washes, and fades, which help create that painterly tone.
To create a shiny metallic surface or a polished bar top out of denim, it is staggering to see. He creates melancholic urban scenes, often depicting a lonely or less glamorous side of city living. He says denim is now such an urban fabric, after having such rural origins. What better way to capture everyday urban life. This is no gimmick.
It is hard to believe that this all started by one simple observation. Noticing a pile of old jeans and noticing the contrasting shades of blue. Some scissors and glue later he soon became one of the most talked about young artists. While he acknowledges that it started out as an experiment, while working with denim he started to realise his own connection with jeans – and especially other people’s. A material that we feel so comfortable with. He had found his way to communicate and then soon became written about as a leading top 30 artist under 30 in the world.
His success has caught many eyes and while the works are painstaking to make he had been able to take a few commissioned portraits; Debbie Harry, Jennifer Saunders, Giorgio Armani and Lapo Elkann and Brazilian model Giselle. To name a few. His most well known though, was one made of another Brazilian, Ayrton Senna, using his family's jeans and in support of the institute in his name.
His work has been seen in many countries, giving a chance for people to see the work in person. With a number of sell-out solo shows in London and Sweden, he has also shown across Europe and the States, including the home of the modern jean, San Francisco. It has been written about in major media in all corners of the globe.
His London Solo show in November 2016 with two exhibitions 'Behind Closed Doors' and 'My Beautiful Launderette' with the Catto Gallery was met with both commercial and critical success. In 2017 the year was filled with commissions and also shows in France, and during Miami Basel.
Watch out for details on future shows on www.ianberry.art
Ian's new book Ian Berry | Denim on Denim can be bought on his website now.
///// UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS
Watch out for news of Ian popping up in San Fransisco as well of news on his 2019 Spring Show in London.
///// PAST EXHIBITIONS
Paducah, Kentucky, USA
Ian was a special guest of the Paducah Art Alliance in the UNESCO Heritage City of Paducah in Kentucky.
April 18-21, 2018
Miami Basel 2017
Jonathan Levine Projects
Art Basel Miami
December 7 - 10, 2017
VIP | Press Preview: Dec 5, 2017
JUXTAPOZ CLUBHOUSE MIAMI
New York Denim Days
Winchester Discovery Centre
27 Aug – 23 Oct 201
Gosport Discovery Centre
29 Oct – 21 Dec 2016
Ian has exhibited all over the world, from Madeira to Miami, Sweden to San Fransisco, New Orleans to New York in Hamphire UK the Hamptons in the USA.
He has mainly shown in London, with each show selling out making it hard for his time consuming work to be seen too often. Keep an eye out on the website and social media to find out when you can see the work next.