Miami artist Jordan Betten, a self-described “urbanist,” promotes sustainability through his abstract sculptures and paintings. With roots in New York City and inspiration from Miami, Betten’s unique art styles fuses aspects of street art and contemporary styles, allowing for limitless interpretation of his work.
His experiences living in Overtown, a historic neighborhood northwest of downtown Miami once known as the “Harlem of the South,” inspire the local artist.
“I like seeing the architecture,” Betten said. “There’s a lot of rust and decay and spray paint and graffiti, which all influence my art.”
Overtown’s proximity to Wynwood, the iconic street-art neighborhood in Miami, is reflected in Betten’s work. Quick brushstrokes of bright, complementary colors give his pieces a worn out look.
Betten incorporates recycled materials from his studio into his sculpture work to give seemingly useless items new meaning and value.
“If I finish a gallon of paint, instead of throwing out the gallon of paint, I’ll keep that bucket and use it in a future sculpture,” Betten said.
This curious and environmentally conscious habit of Betten’s is reminiscent of the “found objects” concept often seen in modern art.
Betten’s relationship with fine art began in New York City, six years before he moved to Miami.
He entered the NYC fashion industry as a designer for his project and brand, Lost Art. His work, which he designed using hand-crafted leather, attracted the likes of high fashion stylists and rockstars.
After his initial exposure to the fashion industry as a young model in Europe, Betten went on to design wardrobe for Lenny Kravitz — Lost Art’s largest collector according to Betten. He even went on to design a pair of wings for a Victoria’s Secret fashion show.
“We also worked with tons of stylists and editors and press people from all over the world, so I think it was a combination of the press that we would get and the style of what we were doing [that] just drove people our way,” Betten said.
After making a name for himself in the fashion scene, Betten moved to Miami to focus on his painting studies and further the resourcefulness aspect of his work.
“For me, the materials were always a driving force of inspiration and respect,” Betten said. “So I made it a point to use everything, as much as I possibly could use of what I had in some way or form or eventually used in some projects.”
Betten continues to make the most out of the world around him and incorporate it into his art.
“I like [letting] the material have its own voice in the painting or in the sculpture,” Betten said.
Currently settled in his Overtown studio, Betten continues to play a significant role in the art world. His work has been displayed in Miami Art Basel galleries for several years, beginning with the Originals Art Basel Miami 2016 Goldman Global Arts Gallery.
To keep up with Betten’s latest endeavors, follow @jordan_betten on Instagram and visit jordanbetten.com. For more information on the Lost Art brand, visit lostart.com to learn more about Betten’s past work.