Ian Berry’s New York denim garden

17th January 2018

Sometimes you bump into a project that is too nice not to share.

Ian Berry, a denim artist, has caught our eye several times. Ian’s works is made of many layers and shades of denim. He creates melancholic urban scenes, often depicting a lonely or less glamorous side of city living. He says denim is now such an urban fabric, after having such rural origins. What better way to capture everyday urban life.
Old jeans is his medium for seeing the world, it’s his paint. It holds so many dualities and symbols but at the same time is such a common item of clothing that unites many around the world.

Over many days, Ian Berry and a team of helpers installed this incredible Secret Garden installation at the Children’s Museum Of Arts (CMA) in New York. The museum has the mission to introduce children and their families to the transformative power of the arts. Sometimes, they even get  the chance to make art side-by-side with working artists.

The Secret Garden is an installation that you can walk through, the denim path is filled with various flowers and plants, from roses to cacti, wisteria to chrysanthemum – all made out of jeans. But the most impressive part is the trellis coming down from the ceiling. Hundreds of vines and leaves dangling, as if taking over the museum. Part looking like a magical urban secret garden, part looking like the place has been abandoned and left for nature to take over.

The installation was inspired by childhood. Immediately Ian thought of playing outside at his Yorkshire hometown. He feels nowadays, children play less outside and interact less with  the nature around.
Sadly I also feel that with the stresses of life parents even spend less time with their kids, even if they are with them, they may be distracted by their phones and the constant fear of missing something‘ Ian says.

He had noticed in the past that when recreating familiar scenes people took for granted, out of a material so common, people saw it differently and revalued it.

I also thought that while in many other ways New York would be one of the most inspiring cities for a child to live in, many kids wouldn’t have gardens. Yes, there are places to go and famous parks with amazing open space and the High Line too, but perhaps it may inspire parents to find a little secret garden near to them.

In a interesting opening to the garden, Ian shows a cotton plant and explains that this is where the jeans we wear first comes from. Not bad going from plants to pants, to plants again.

Practical info
The installation is up until April.

Children’s Museum of the Arts
103 Charlton St., NYC

Ian will return in April 2018 to help to take some classes based on his work.