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Jean Genius

When artist Ian Berry describes denim as ‘very much the material of our time’, you may well think he’s discussing attributes of his daily attire or his favourite jacket. However, Berry is actually talking about denim in much the same way that most other artists may talk about acrylic or oil paints, and that’s because he creates his masterpieces solely from denim.

Ian Berry denim

His recent London solo exhibition called Behind Closed Doors, demonstrated this most incredibly whereby every single ‘painting’ is composed entirely from pieces of denim. The show explores themes of isolation and inner turmoil and is portrayed through solitary figures in familiar, domestic settings.

Ian Berry denim

Berry himself says of the work, “I strive for photorealist perfection and it’s amazing how denim can aid with this. I get a lot of jeans donated to me and I tend to use the ones that have the most character within them so, in a sense, that pair almost becomes my palette’.

Berry started to experiment with denim while he was still at university and later again when he started working as an art director. He claims one day he saw a pile of old jeans and noticed the various shades of blue and he began experimenting from that point onwards.

Ian Berry Denim

Considered by the art industry as one of the 30 most influential artists under 30, although now 32 years old he has already had private commissions from people such as Debbie Harry, Jennifer Saunders and an incredible customized piece for Ayrton Senna’s family using his families jeans and in support of the Ayrton Senna institute.

In a recent email to us Ian was very keen to get across the point, “the main thing I want to get across is that everything is denim, no paint nor bleach. Layers of denim making 3D works, most of which is lost online. But also, it’s not all about denim but what better way to portray contemporary life except with the material of our time?”