JAN BERRY – PHOTO ARTIST CREATING PICTURES FROM JEANS PANTS
Ian Berry, also known in the art environment as Demimu, is a British artist who does not paint with paints, but draws them from jeans shreds like an old mosaic. His works are incredibly popular, they are expensively bought and exhibited in galleries around the world. The most famous company Ray Ban even released a limited collection of sunglasses with a “jeans” design, inspired by the work of Berry. His paintings, even close by, can be mistaken for stylishly retouched photos – they are so realistic and accurate. Meanwhile, the artist always works in the patchwork technique, using jeans and nothing but them.
Ian Berry creates incredible portraits of celebrities, city landscapes, life sketches, photos of which are often replicated in famous print and online publications – Elle, Playboy, Metro International, Nylon, Trend Hunter. He became the winner of the Rivet 50 and for his work was included in the TOP 50 of the most influential people in the “world of denim.”
Also, Ian Berry is on the list of 30 leading artists under the age of 30. He creates unique works – for example, a 3×3 meter picture on the wall of a building in the US state of Indiana or a portrait of James Dean for the museum in Fairmount, the actor’s hometown. In addition to this symbol of generation, Berry made paintings with other celebrities – Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, designer Giorgio Armani, model Gisele Bündchen. For a portrait of race car driver Ayrton Senna in support of the organization of his name, Ian used jeans that were given to him by the family of the late Formula 1 champion.
The artist published his own photo book Denim on Denim, which presents interesting examples of his monochromatic and color works, but, of course, you can truly appreciate their originality only “live”, so Berry’s exhibitions in different parts of the world always attract spectators. The most famous of them are Behind Closed Doors, organized in 2016, Soho Records 2018 and Hotel California 2019. Berry plans to have a permanent exhibition in San Francisco and several new expositions in Europe and the USA in 2020-2021.
Jeans on jeans
Ian Berry creates all the paintings, using denim as a basis and laying pieces of denim on it. To diversify the color palette, he processes textiles with solvent, dyeing sprays, and recently began to work with colored jeans.
Initially, Berry takes photographs, then processes them, translates them into monochrome or gives a certain blue tint, then, on the basis of photographs, begins to create pictures.
The main technique that the artist uses is a patchwork with gluing elements with duct tape or stitching with threads. To give the picture depth, Berry makes a multi-colored stitch at the seams and is constantly looking for new, unusual shades of denim. He walks around charity bazaars for hours, buys denim rolls, or buys several identical new things in the store, so that he can immediately cut them.
An artist can “draw” anything with a denim – an amazingly accurate portrait, an image of metal barrels or pillars, a stone wall, grass and trees, for which he uses the smallest shreds and scraps. The versatility and familiarity of denim make Berry’s paintings “close”, warm, but thanks to the unusual technique and meticulousness of Jan, his works amaze the imagination and sophisticated skeptics.
With the help of paintings, the artist conveys to the viewer the beauty and variety of shades of indigo on the shreds of fabric that once struck him. Their bright contrast, soft color transitions, some brutality and earthiness turn the work into an artistic and even social manifesto – after all, jeans are still associated with protest, the “voice of the streets”, democracy, simplicity and intransigence of youth. Denim also has a downside – pronounced materialism, egalitarianism, and, according to the author himself, they help to fill the work with duality and “multi-level” meanings.
At the same time, Berry’s paintings correspond to the spirit of the times and the trend towards informed consumption. In most cases, the artist uses worn out, obsolete things and he even started by buying things in second-hand and charity sales. On the artist’s official website, you can make a “jeans donation” – send him used clothes so that they don’t harm nature, but become part of art.
Experiments from childhood
The beauty and diversity of denim struck Jan Berry, even when he was a child. The future contemporary artist was born in 1984 in the British city of Huddersfield and from childhood loved to wear jeans. Until now, he remembers how uncomfortable he was in other trousers. When, as a teenager, he stumbled upon his beloved old jeans in a pile of things for a charity bazaar, he could not part with them. The artist says that the richness of the shades on the wiped fabric, its texture and beauty was simply mesmerizing, and even then he became interested in its capabilities.