We had the good fortune of connecting with Betirri Bengtson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Betirri, what do you attribute your success to?
As a visual artist, the most important factor to succeed is to have the right mindset. Within this mindset, there a few important elements that I have to remind myself constantly. These elements are to be patient when things don’t go the way I expected, to leave all my fears behind when it comes to presenting an idea, to keep following your gut and instinct when there are some doubts, and to always stay positive and surround yourself with like-minded people.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I received a B.A. in architecture from the University of Houston in 2007. In 2009, I received a B.A. in fine art. I love both professions. However, art is the one that defines what I do now. In 2008, I created a series of paintings where I combined my passion for the sport of football with art. I painted bodiless footballers in motion. I thought it was an interesting concept to focus on the jersey, the colors, the team but not in the athlete. In 2010, I started to get requests to sell these paintings online. I started to see that this concept had a lot of potential, so in 2012 I decided to pursue art professionally. Since then, I’ve had an incredibly journey. Mixed and full of emotions, I found myself overcoming my dream as a child of becoming a professional footballer through my art. I have suffered from asthma since kid, so playing or training football was always hard to do. However, depicting this sport in a different form in canvas, allowed me to be as close to this sport as if I was playing it. I have faced many challenges since then. First, football/soccer is not a major sport in the United States, making it harder to find people to purchase my art. I was able to overcome this thanks to the internet. Another big challenge was my lack of business knowledge when I started art professionally. The business side is something that I’ve learned in the process. In addition, in 2015 I risked my health for trying to do too much and not taking care of myself. Art has been really a self learning life experience. I have learned to have a strong mind while trying to stay as authentic and humble as I can. I have learned to set short and long term goals that will make it easier to accomplish more things. I’ve learned to express myself better and came out of that introverted shell. I feel that I have accomplished success by doing what I love every day in a self sustainable way plus trying to inspire and motivate others to do the same. I want my brand and art to express that successful crossover between art and sports.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Houston has so many interesting spots! From parks, to hidden murals, historic architecture, museum variety to amazing diverse restaurants. I would take my best friend first to a morning bike ride all along the bayou trails. Then, we could visit downtown and see the fantastic infrastructure of the highrises. Then, we would go to East Downtown for a mural tour. We could end up at any of the beer parks or gardens around East Downtown or Midtown. We would have dinner at Coppa Osteria for good Italian food in the Rice Village area. Another day can be a tour of museums all around the city.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Yes. I can give a shoutout to so many people that have been very supportive and believers of my art career. However, there are two special persons in my life that have been key to my continued success. First, I believe that most of my encouragement to choose to do what I love comes from my mother: Socorro ‘Bengtson. She is a big risk taker, She is a person that likes to help others without any expectations in return. She is a very positive person and always told me that we are capable of doing anything that we put in our minds. She is really my biggest motivator and my hero! A couple of years ago, I met an amazing human being. She is not only beautiful from inside and outside, but she is also a very caring and understanding person. Maria Virginia Ivanez is my girlfriend who have been very supportive of my career in different ways. Besides supporting my career, she makes and idea to work much better and brings its potential to the fullest. Even though we have been together for over a year, she deserves a lot of credit since I feel that a lot of my recent growth has come thanks to her. I am very lucky to have these two amazing women closely by my side.