This British artist will make you wonder if he has created blue-toned photographs or oil paintings... check them out
Ever thought that your denim jacket or your old denim shorts could contribute to a beautiful painting? If you think it’s a far-fetched thought then check out work by British artist Ian Berry.
Different tones of blue – some dark, some light – but all shades of denim put life into portraits, landscapes and different subjects. The about section of Ian’s website elaborates about what exactly is Ian’s work, “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.”
All of Ian’s work is made with denim. On the My Modern Met Podcast, the artist reveals he started working with denim by accident when he was studying to get into advertising as an art director. “On the side I was always working with denim, while I was working in advertising in London and then in Sydney. Eventually, I lost my job, and it turned out to be the best turning point of my life. I had a month to leave Australia and go back to London, but I managed to go to Sweden, somehow I managed to workout there,” he says in the podcast.
He goes on to say that he was obsessed with denim because he saw most famous people like Marlon Brando and James Dean wore denim. People saw them wearing jeans and started copying them. He believes, as an artist, he has to have a voice and tell a story, particularly of the material of our time. He shoots pictures and then works on them with denim. “I like to share a narrative, it’s not always about denim, I keep pushing my art. I try to make people think it’s not jeans,” he says on the podcast.
It will be surprising to know that all of this started with a simple observation, when the artist noticed a pile of old jeans, and the contrasting shades of blue. He started by just cutting pieces and using glue to paste them and has today emerged as a strong voice on the international platform of artists. He was on the list of 30 artist under 30 in the world (2013) and was a Rivet 50 winner, making him a top 50 influential person in denim in the world 2019.
Initially when he started creating his work, Ian used pockets, hands of jackets and other identifiable pieces of denim, but now he tries to hide that it’s jeans. “I use the cat whiskers (like patterns) on the hand, the crotch area, and other fading areas from the denim. I try and think about what works,” he says on the My Modern Met Podcast.