A brush and canvas make a perfect pair for producing beautiful art, but creatives like UK-based Ian Berry love to think outside of the box. This unconventional artist has pushed aside the paintbrush and picked up a pair of jeans. Denim is his medium of choice and there’s no tricks or illusions to his creations. “Everything you see in my work is denim, nothing else, no paint, nor bleach,” he tells us in an email.
Rather than burning, bleaching, or painting directly onto the sturdy fabric, Berry opts to reshape the material with scissors and adhere layers atop one another with glue. Using blue, black, and gray jeans, he manipulates the assembly of various shades to capture brilliant contrasts of light. He’s able to mimic remarkably lifelike visions of shadows and depth within his textured “paintings.” The results are astoundingly photorealistic depictions of everyday life.
Berry’s most recent work focuses on launderettes—a place you’d commonly find jeans, tumbling in the washer. The series pays homage specifically to the laundromats of London. With so many of the city’s launderettes closing down, Berry has fond memories of what these overlooked establishments symbolize. “They’ve been places where people could meet and talk and get to know each other. Now, they’re disappearing,” he says. “They were the heart of the community, and the fabric of our city is changing.”
The series, titled My Beautiful Launderette, is one of Berry’s two exhibitions currently on display in London. For this particular series, the artist went so far as to create a life-size launderette made of denim. To see it in person, head over to Catto Gallery—and be quick because the exhibit only runs through November 30, 2016.
My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Ian Berry.