Shades of Blue: Scraps of Denim Become Art

We all have a favorite, go-to pair of jeans that fit just perfectly and make us feel like we can take on the world. But what can you do when those beloved jeans get too many holes or weight loss or gain prevents them from fitting? British-born artist Ian Berry, who goes by the name Denimu (which is the Japanese phonetic spelling of demim), transforms those baby blues into gorgeous pieces of art. He loves denim so much that it is the only medium he works with to create incredibly detailed portraits and landscapes.


According to his fascinating artist statement, Denimu first knew he was destined for denim during his adolescence when his favorite jeans were in the laundry and his mother made him wear corduroys to a party; he felt so self-conscious. A few years later, he was reminded of this moment when those jeans were in a pile to give to charity and he was “transfixed by the ripped, faded beauty of the fabric” in the stack of varying shades of blue denim. He couldn’t let them go, so he decided to recycle them by cutting them up and using the scraps to make images of the world around him. This was his a-ha moment:

Finally I was able to express my thoughts and memories. Finally I had found my voice. Through a material that while personal to me, is also so ubiquitous – transcending borders, race, age, social class and time. A link to my past, but also to one another. My own fluent language.

Initially drawn to the artistic possibilities offered by the deep and varied texture of the fabric, later I became fascinated by the rich heritage of Denim. A story that has run alongside that of modern history. A material that abounds in dualities and meanings. A symbol of both egalitarianism and of materialism. A reflection of the world in which we live.

This everyday garment is how I express myself in life, and my art.

It’s absolutely amazing to see how Denimu has created such detailed images using the stitching, seams, and various shades to create the perfect depth for each picture. To fully experience the denim fabric texture, you must see the larger images on Denimu’s website. To find out what the artist, currently living in Sweden, is up to follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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