jeans art

Ian Berry, Textile Artist. by Ian Berry

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Now, we are not one to believe in labels, and many textile artists should really just call them artists on many occasions. But after over a decade of working with denim, the Textile art world over the last few years are starting to take note of Ian's work using denim. It's a textile after all.

He may not stitch, sew and they are no quilts. However many of the skills are the same and with viewing them, many in textile art have been amazed by his skills in manipulating the layers of fabric to become almost photo-realistic pieces.

Over the last number of years Ian has been invited to show in many contexts in the fiber and textile art genres and after initially declining to focus on his gallery shows, he also found himself saying

'I want more people to see the real work'

So, the seeds were sewn and with some persuasion, over the years, he agreed to a number of shows. Many which attract tens of thousands of people. And not one to ever do anything by halves, he put on a show, one with installations and some of his best work (often loaned back by clients)

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First up was Quilt en Sud in Biarritz in the south of France with the one of the organisers, Christine Lacroix being the driving influence to his appearance. We cannot thank her enough for her organising (we tested her a little) as well as the rest of the team who were so warm, kind and friendly. For Ian it was great to meet so many people who work with Textiles to see his work, and to get so many amazing comments. It was also good to meet and make friends with other artists, like Sheila Frampton Cooper, Françoise Tellier-Loumagne, Francine Flattard and Claudia Pfeil

Ian received great reviews from both the public and the press from his appearance in the South of France. Here Les Novelles (left) by French Patchwork featured a nice double page spread and QuiltMania stated how Ian has been setting the art world alight as well as comparing his work to Hopper.

Ian received great reviews from both the public and the press from his appearance in the South of France. Here Les Novelles (left) by French Patchwork featured a nice double page spread and QuiltMania stated how Ian has been setting the art world alight as well as comparing his work to Hopper.

It was also a great way to travel with the work with Biarritz and the surrounding area a beautiful place to visit. The event was packed with many talented and committed people and filled with volunteers that did the event proud.

In the September Ian was an invited featured artist at Le Carrefour Européen du Patchwork in Alsace, France. For its 24th event Ian impressed the Twenty Thousand plus crowd with his work all made in denim. It was a great event and one where the booth was consistently full of people, taking pictures and trying to get autographs and selfies with Ian.

The booth was consistently busy. On the right, people watching the films by Ian Berry.

The booth was consistently busy. On the right, people watching the films by Ian Berry.

Showing in one part the My Beautiful Launderette installation where people could interact and walk into it. The other part hosted part of Behind Closed Doors the emotionally charged body of work first shown in London at the end of 2016. Most viewers were more interested in the construction of the works and with so many people at the stand the emotional aspect was sometimes lost. That said, the poem on the wall, by Ian's sister, Fiona, drew a large response and many tears.

The event spanned four days and the first three Ian's area had consistently at least three or four dozen people in, sometimes up to a hundred. On the last day, it was a bit quieter with only a dozen people in at one time and it was intriguing how many more comments were given about the content of the work, not just the style and technique. Many commented how they saw themselves in the work.

Ian was housed in an area with fellow artists Mirjam Pet-Jacobs - the award winning Dutch artist who like Ian is interested in how people communicate and interact. This museum standard show was a highlight for Ian to see. Alongside Mirjam's show was the work curated by Nancy Crow with by the Dairy Barn from Ohio. This internationally acclaimed artist is noted to be one of the leading figures of the quilt art movement of the 70's and 80's. SAQA was next to Ian and they had developed this exhibition in collaboration with the Stratford Perth Museum, Stratford, Ontario, Canada and featured many Canadian artists. A handful of which captured Ian's eye. The team there were great to be next to. We wish Lisa Walton all the success in her role as the new president and to carry on this organisations great work.

And last but certainly not least, was Ian's old friend Luke Haynes who have known one another for several years. Luke is a superstar in the quilting world and had reached out to Ian as far back as 2011 and they have been friends since. It was great to see so many of his works all in one place. He had collaborated with some other artists on these pieces. With the impact Luke and Ian had on the event it was hard for people to be not drawn in to their gender.

many school children came around and seemed to be impressed with Ian's work.

many school children came around and seemed to be impressed with Ian's work.

It was also great for Ian to meet some people who had followed his work for several years. This included people like journalists Alie Dijk, Astrid Franchet and Katell Renon who have written about Ian several times before. The interesting thing however is how they all saw the work differently to how they had done before. This is great to get so many people to see the work in real life.

Ian didn't get chance to really get out of the booth to see anything else, but did manage to see Andrée Leblanc's work who he was deeply impressed with and Paula Nadelstern's quilts inspired by the bilateral symmetry of kaleidoscopic images. Léa Stansal quirky work brought many smiles while he was sad not to get to see Willy Doreleijers's show, The Tentmakers of Cairo and his friends Val Holmes among others..

For Ian, not used to showing in this context it was strange for his gender to be brought up. It's only since showing with other textile artists has it. Now in hindsight, in this world we now see it is easier for males to stand out, but really we think that the work should stand for itself, regardless of gender or any other factor.

The only positive to this he takes from this, is that he hopes young children, and boys can see what can be achieved.

The Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace wrote very highly about Ian's work. Desctibing his work and the attention he got - as well as being a male in this woman dominated world. For those who know French, this was a very nice phrase to be given..  'Chaque édition a son chouchou... Cette année, c’est Ian Berry qui remporte la palme.'

The Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace wrote very highly about Ian's work. Desctibing his work and the attention he got - as well as being a male in this woman dominated world. For those who know French, this was a very nice phrase to be given..

'Chaque édition a son chouchou... Cette année, c’est Ian Berry qui remporte la palme.'

Quilt en Sud stood out by its friendly army of volunteers while at Carrefour it really felt like an event the whole region got behind with the event taking over many venues over many of the towns and one that the media got behind.

After two successful trips to France, it sets up Ian nicely to show again in the Textile world again during Quilt Week in Paducah, Kentucky next April as the guest artist. One of the highlight events of the year in the industry. You can read about Ian in the latest edition of American Quilter.

Dates

April 18 – 21, 2018 • Wed.–Fri., 9am–6pm, Sat., 9am–4pm
Schroeder Expo Center • 415 Park Avenue, Paducah, KY 42001

But before then two stops in the USA, with New York Denim Days coming up this weekend and Miami Basel Week in December. Watch out for more information.

And will you see Ian quilt or sew in future? Maybe so.

Ian Berry CCTV Installation on Regents Street, London by Ian Berry

Ian Berry has been busy over the last six months making a life sized installation of a CCTV control room. With London being the most watched city in the world, Ian wanted to make a comment on this. Most people in the UK just see surveillance as just part of everyday life, whereas many people in other countries are confused at how relaxed we are with it. We'd say most people in London see it as making them safer, while respecting some people's views of how it could be used to misuse.  In truth, no CCTV camera was used for this, instead over a dozen days of photoshoots around West London, actually taken from the winter to the final few in summer. This has been a project a year in the making and has been six months in the studio producing. With photoshoots up ladders to look down to get that voyeuristic angle and, well, sorry to say, a few using a selfie stick to create the same effect. 

Ian Berry has been busy over the last six months making a life sized installation of a CCTV control room. With London being the most watched city in the world, Ian wanted to make a comment on this. Most people in the UK just see surveillance as just part of everyday life, whereas many people in other countries are confused at how relaxed we are with it. We'd say most people in London see it as making them safer, while respecting some people's views of how it could be used to misuse.

In truth, no CCTV camera was used for this, instead over a dozen days of photoshoots around West London, actually taken from the winter to the final few in summer. This has been a project a year in the making and has been six months in the studio producing. With photoshoots up ladders to look down to get that voyeuristic angle and, well, sorry to say, a few using a selfie stick to create the same effect. 

Notting Hill Gate Station

Notting Hill Gate Station

And more suitably, the location that house this installation? The new flagship store of Pepe Jeans London on Regents Street. One of London's most famous shopping streets and a stones throw (even Ian could throw that far) from Piccadilly Circus, possibly one of the most CCTV hot spots in the world.

Pepe Jeans have just opened up their new flagship store in Central London and this piece was central to its design by acclaimed Martin Brudnizki Design Studio. The CCTV cameras focus on West London, where Pepe was formed in 1973 on the Portobello Road, which is 'watched' heavily on the monitors. It then tracks a journey from W11 to central London, Oxford Street, Piccadilly and then to the new store at 57 Regents Street.

Ian says: 'Pepe Jeans is all about London. They first bought a piece from my gallery in 2013 and we had a friendly relationship before that and had actually first met in 2012 and they have been really good to me, sending me many pairs of jeans. They have since bought other works from the exhibitions and put them in various stores, officers and showrooms - they saw and appreciated it as art.  Its a good chance for people who don't go to gallery shows to see the real work. I want more people to see the real work, and not just replicated in differwnt media forms.

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'So, they wanted a specific piece for the Regent Street store but I had complete freedom to make what I wanted, not trying to dictate anything. I said it should be something that could stand alone in a gallery as well as a store.'

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And that he has. This incredibly detailed work comprising 16 'screens' most of which have four in between has been painstaking in the production. In the centre of the piece is a TV screen, showing Ian's work and him in the studio from a vantage of a CCTV camera. It also enables Pepe to use it sometimes for campaign imagery.

Notting Hill Gate Station escalators

Notting Hill Gate Station escalators

But, whats the idea? says Ian 'Having got to know Pepe Jeans London well over the last few years and of course knowing them since my younger days, I know they are all about London. All that West London feel and aesthetic and aspiration. Their great campaigns all on the streets of West London, especially Portobello Road. It has such a good heritage routed there, of course, London doesn't have that many outright denim brands. But it's not just the heritage, they are forever looking at London for inspiration and this is my core feeling when making the piece.

'The control room is almost imagining them having it to keep monitoring the fashions of London to take inspiration from the street style of this great capital to keep evolving with the fast moving city'

With scenes including Portobello Roads famous Electric Cinema and market street, to some of the local pubs and music stores, showing some of the places the West Londoner would be hanging out. Ian says:

'As its the tourist area of London on Regent street and many of the customers coming in will probably be the many visitors to London I did think, they are not familiar perhaps with the West London scenes and wanted to add a few familiar sights, ones which I wouldn't normally do, but I think would catch the attention in the store - and perfect with the location.'

That's how the idea was born to make it the journey to the new store and he brilliantly utilizes the famous ad board of Piccadilly Circus which you can see from the store window as well as the iconic streets of Regents and Oxford which will bring the familiar to those less familiar with the city. And of course, all out of this familiar material - but one so unusual and unexpected as an art form that Ian has perfected for well over a decade.

Go and have a look again at this very contemporary art piece showing Ian's favorite subject of urban life and living out of the material of our time. Denim jeans.

You can view the piece daily at the Pepe Jeans flagship store at 59-61 Regents Street, London.

You can see a photo gallery here

Heritage Post Features Ian Berry by Ian Berry

Ian Berry is featured in this months Heritage Post the magazine for men's lifestyle. It's always great to be in a magazine, even better to be in ones we read! A big thank you to the magazine and Stefanie Kobayashi and Joachim Kurz there. Ian has been featured in many magazines around the world, but this one is one of the best designed features so far, so, we are proud to share this one here. 

The article leaves you with this conclusion.

'Clearly, Ian Berry is an artist with a great future ahead of him – simply because he is aware of the values of the past and the fleeting nature of our lives, always managing to allow this knowledge to flow into his art.'

 

Some shots from Behind Closed Doors by Ian Berry

It may now be closed and most of the work now displayed Behind Closed Doors, but here we look back at some of the shots from what proved to be an amazingly successful show with the Catto Gallery. For those that were not able to get there, it will be good to see the way the work was displayed in the gallery setting with many installations set up to display the work.

Here you can see more of the Exhibition

My Beautiful Laundrette by Ian Berry

The installation My Beautiful laundrette would not have been possible without many amazing contributions from many talented people.

The first to mention is Luke Aan De Wiel, an experienced model maker, set builder, prop maker and all round top human being.

His work has predominantly consisted of providing creative, beautifully crafted solutions to the advertising industry (both stills and TV), the film and music industries. He has also worked extensively in the exhibition and editorial worlds.

He collaborated here with Ian Berry to make the washing machines for the laundrette and also helped with the installation.

Then of course there are the jeans, Pepe Jeans London have supplied many for Ian to work with over the last few years, of which he particularly likes using the washes from denim Pepe sends. 

laundrette

On the dryers, you may see Ian has tried a new technique. While known for his handcrafted, painstaking work cutting up pieces of denim, here Ian experimented with the super creative talented Moreno De Angelis to try lasering the denim to get the reflections of the washing machines opposite. Moreno is at the Iskoteca lab in Italy and is a creative genius with laundry methods as a brilliant chemist. This is a technology Ian is wishing to pursue with seeing the full potential and possibilities

A massive thanks to all.