From plane parts to artwork: Emerging artists upcycle Delta aircraft parts in Miami during art week

Situated high above Miami Beach, six artists put their passions on full display by upcycling old Delta aircraft parts into works of art at an open-air gallery event hosted by Delta in Miami to celebrate art week.

As part of the airline’s ongoing efforts to support emerging talent, Delta commissioned pieces from these six up-and-coming artists to elevate their work to new audiences and showcase their talents during one of the art world’s biggest weekends. The immersive galleries – both in the air and on the ground – featured commissioned pieces as well as past work from the artists, inspiring guests to explore their own connections between art and travel.

As a connector of people to places, passions and their own potential, Delta is partnering with six artists with deep ties to Miami to bring their art to life and elevate their work against the backdrop of one of the art world’s most sought-after and exclusive events.

The commissioned pieces were crafted from handpicked materials from retired Delta aircraft. Each artist utilized their own creative vision to transform these materials into unique pieces of art, with many exploring new mediums and disciplines.

While Delta continues to boost its presence in South Florida with additional flights from Miami, it is also investing in the local arts community with a contribution to Arts Access at The Miami Foundation. In celebration of the partnership with these six Miami-born and based artists, the donation will help provide access and arts education to children in the Miami area to inspire the next generation of artists to take flight.

See below for details of each artist’s upcycled art:

Jillian Mayer's artwork on display in Delta's Open Air Gallery at Miami Art Week.

Jillian Mayer

Glass Plain, 2023 

Aluminum, Steel, Glass 

“This opportunity with Delta allowed me to actualize a steel and glass sculpture that I have been wanting to make for years. The wing flaps on the plane were in conversation with materials that made the most sense for my practice at the time, so I was able to move forward with this vision.

The shapes of the glass for my sculpture call to the windows on the plane, which becomes an obvious focal point for travelers. The colors and the abstract shape were informed by one’s journey while ascending, and how the visuals quickly distort into beautiful abstract shapes. Focusing on the hues of blues and greens.” – Jillian Mayer

Derek Abella's artwork on display in Delta's Open Air Gallery at Miami Art Week.

Derek Abella 

Kendall, 2023 

UV Prints, Acrylic Paint on Trolley-Cart Trays 

“My work combined my usual digital style with a more painterly style I usually only do in my sketchbook. Utilizing 12 trolley cart trays as canvases, I illustrated scenes of moments that have brought me peace when staying in Kendall, the Miami neighborhood I grew up in.” – Derek Abella

Olivia Pedigo's artwork on display in Delta's Open Air Gallery at Miami Art Week.

Olivia Pedigo 

The Pursuit of Specialness, 2023 

Vinyl Print on Titanium Fan Blades 

“I found inspiration in the concept of upcycling plane parts, causing me to reflect on what dictates the life cycle of an object and also the rapid trend cycles defining our modern era. Exploring the overlapping aspects of identity and consumption, particularly from a female perspective often targeted by marketers, my artwork questions societal pressures governing self-worth through possessions. The narrative emphasizes the emptiness that comes with this pursuit of specialness, as our identities become entwined with ever-changing possessions, shifting between adoration and nostalgia, and the futile grasp for remnants of spiritual relief.” – Olivia Pedigo

Emmett Moore's artwork on display in Delta's Open Air Gallery at Miami Art Week.

Emmett Moore 

Compressed 737, 2023 

Titanium Exhaust Duct, Emergency Exit Door, APU Valve, Nose Landing Gear Wheels, Various Access Panels, Aluminum, Composites, Rubber, Stainless-Steel, Hardware 

“Airplanes are beautifully engineered utilitarian machines but also must have the comforts of home. They are a merging and flattening of spaces from the purely functional to the domestic. My work utilizes parts from the very front of the plane (the front landing gear) to the very rear of the plane (the APU valve) and several parts in between, to compress the entire airplane into a singular, human-scale object that also flattens spaces and plays with dualities of art/design, interior/exterior space, and domestic/utilitarian objects.” – Emmett Moore

Elliot and Erick Jiménez's artwork on display in Delta's Open Air Gallery at Miami Art Week.

Elliot and Erick Jiménez 

Title TBD, 2023 

Aluminum, Prints 

Elliot & Erick Jiménez created the work from a repurposed window belt that belonged to a plane. They wrapped the window belt in black vinyl and repurposed the plane part into a large frame which featured five lenticular images, one in each window. Los Portales is inspired by Elliot & Erick’s body of work centered around Cuban folklore and the syncretic deities within their culture, merging Yoruba tenets with Catholic ones.

Images: © Delta

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