Ian Berry is a British born artist currently based in Sweden, who creates artwork solely from denim. Using old jeans, jackets, and other denim clothing, Berry creates monochromatic portraits, urbanscapes and other unique works. Berry even adopted the name Denium, the Japanese phonetic spelling of denim, to further emphasize his obsession with blue jeans.
To produce the works of art, Berry would cut pieces of denim into precise shapes before painstakingly gluing them all together. To achieve different looks, he sometimes uses bleach, either with a stencil and spray, or experiments with different color jeans.
“I was about 14 and we were going to a family party”, recalls Berry. “I wanted to wear my favorite pair of jeans, but my mum had other ideas. Out instead came the corduroy. I still remember feeling so self-conscious and uncomfortable, and not myself. How I wanted to be in my beloved denim, just like my cousins were wearing. A few years later I came across the very same pair, now unique through wear, on top of a pile of cast offs ready for the charity shop. I found myself staring at them, wishing I could still fit in them remembering the times when I could. I was transfixed by the ripped, faded beauty of the fabric.”
Berry began experimenting with denim artwork while at university and then while working at TMW as an art director. He hunts around charity shops looking for old jeans, and gather discarded ones from family and friends. He also has a supply from a warehouse in Sweden.
“I have probably had a thousand pairs of jeans. I end up rationing some of the better shades as they really can set a piece off. I don't throw any away and I have a system of areas where smaller and smaller bits go. The smallest pieces will be saved for things such as bushes and trees.”
His artwork has been featured in galleries across Sweden, Portugal (Calheta Madeira), United States (New Orleans, Miami, Fairmont, Asbury Park), as well as United Kingdom (London). He also did a mural on a wall in Indiana, USA, which measured eight feet by eight feet.