She is a true rock icon.
And now Blondie singer Debbie Harry has been immortalised by a Huddersfield artist in the material favoured by rock stars over the years.
A stunning portrait of the star was created by Ian Berry, known as Denimu, from denim.
It was presented to the singer at a glittering evernt in New Yorks’s District 1937 club, hosted by sunglass firm Ray-Ban.
Berry, 30, of Netherton, is regarded as one of the most influential artists in the world and was commissioned by Ray-Ban to work on the huge piece for the rock star.
The piece, made over several weeks in his Swedish studio using varying shades of denim jeans, measured 244cm x 130cm. Only on close inspection can you really see that it is made from denim, and many guests assumed it was a photograph or painting from a distance.
Guests attending the event got the chance to experience the work of contemporary artists inspired by these unexpected materials: such as Berry’s amazing denim masterpieces, Mark Evans’ painstakingly etched and dyed leather canvases, and Anne Lilly’s kinetic steel sculptures.
Berry said: “After the 50’s film scene another great period in the story of denim happened down the Bowery in New York in the 70’s. Richard Hell among others mastered the ripped jeans and tee look which Malcolm Maclaren took over to London to form the look of the Sex Pistols.
“But there were also the Ramones famous for their denim look in CBGB’s, and of course the beautiful front singer of Blondie, often seen in double denim, Debbie Harry.
“Having the opportunity to do a portrait of Debbie was quite surreal and did make me think of many things that had got me where I am right now.
“Ironically, the first piece I ever did when I first started working with denim seven or eight years ago, was Debbie Harry. I did six in a weekend, all kinda denim icons… Dean, Monroe, Brando. It was just for fun, just to see what it would look like.
“There’s not many people in the world left I don’t think are of the calibre of Debbie Harry. A superstar that has transcended many generations, an icon, almost a myth. A legend. So, while I had thought what I may say when I was to meet her, the first meeting happened unexpectedly so I was not prepared and while not the first ‘famous’ person I met, it was very surreal and was left a bit of a nervous wreck seeing her and Chris Stein in front of me.
“I did later have a really good conversation with her, and some of the rest of the band including Tommy Kessler who invited me to their Stockholm gig and gave me his denim jacket. It was great to hear they liked the piece, and for some of them to say they didn’t even realise it was denim first.”
Ian has been based in Sweden for the past few years but remains a dedicated Huddersfield Town fan.
The Netherton-born artist first had the idea to make his collections out of denim while clearing out his old room at the Huddersfield home of parents, Christine and Eddie.
He went to Newsome High School and Greenhead College and spent two years at Huddersfield University before transferring to Buckinghamshire to study advertising.
He worked in advertising until the call came from mum Christine to clear out his old room – and it’s there he discovered piles of old jeans which have now become his signature.
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