Meet the artist behind Portland’s plywood cartoons

Human Interest

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Portland illustrator is getting a taste of online fame through his viral cartoon scavenger hunt creations. 

Mike Bennett likes to take popular characters from TV, movies and comics and turn them into larger-than-life pieces of art.  

He traces, jigsaws and paints the characters onto boards inside his garage in Northeast Portland. 

Mike Bennett creates cartoon cutouts and hides them around Portland, June 5, 2019. (KOIN) 

Bennett then hides the cutouts all over Portland — from Helium Comedy Club to Hippo Hardware — and shares clues for people to carry out their own scavenger hunts. 

Bennett has been drawing since he was a kid. His passion for art matured into apps with multimedia art videos. Using the app TikTok, Bennett started sharing behind-the-scenes videos of his cartoon cutouts. 

“The response was pretty awesome,” he told KOIN 6 News. “From there, I started posting them on Instagram and Reddit and Facebook and Twitter.” 

Since then, the outpouring of support from neighbors and online fans alike have encouraged Bennett to continue. 

“Folks were reaching out to me, offering me a front window or a bar patio — anything to hide these characters at.” 

Artist Mike Bennett works on a Spongebob cutout in his garage workshop, June 5, 2019. (KOIN) 

His newfound fame on Reddit has also landed Bennett worldwide recognition on travel website Atlas Obscura and the BBC

It all started with an idea to make fun holiday lawn decorations. Bennett said he chooses characters that will make himself and his audience happy. 

But he also wants to branch out into his own designs. 

“I want to make a giant Sasquatch that’s my illustration, as opposed to these wonderful works of pop culture that I’m trying to emulate.” 

Bennett, who works as a real estate assistant, said he doesn’t sell the cutouts since the characters aren’t his own but he is looking for charity options and outreach opportunities. 

“There’s been some discussions of some Northeast and Southeast bars that want to do like a bar crawl,” Bennett said. 

And he doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon. 

“I’m gonna keep pumping these out and hiding them around the city, so keep an eye out!” 

If you see one of Bennett’s characters around Portland, be sure to sign your name and leave a nice note on the sheet attached to the back of it. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Top Headlines

More News

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss

Twitter News Widget