Everyone loves denim – it looks good with everything and it’s a great democratiser, worn by everyone from builders to duchesses. But for Sweden-based British artist Ian Berry, it’s a lot more than that.
Not only has he made a career out of turning old pairs of jeans into striking works of art, he’s also changed his name to Denimu in honour of his favourite fabric. Slightly odd, maybe, but you’ll forgive the eccentricity when you see his work – remarkably detailed urban landscapes and portraits worked into the fabric.
To celebrate his first UK show, at the Catto Gallery in Hampstead, Ian has created a special collection of London-themed works featuring Hampstead, Camden, Borough Market and Shoreditch, among others. See views of Hampstead Heath and Hampstead Village rendered in patches of discarded denim, cut, stitched and glued with only the varying shades of the fabric to provide contrast and shadow. They really are amazing.
Last year Ian won the commission of a lifetime when the town of Fairmont, the birthplace of James Dean, asked him to create a giant public mural of its most famous son in his trademark Lee Rider jeans. A portrait of James Dean will be on view at the Catto, alongside ones of Marilyn Monroe and Marlon Brando.
Ian Berry/Denimu’s debut UK show is at Catto Gallery, Heath Street, Hampstead until May 9, Monday to Saturday from 10am to pm and on Sundays from 12.30pm to 6pm. Details: 020 7435 6660, www.cattogallery.co.uk