Mike Bennett, a Portland, Oregon-based artist, is well-known for his cartoon creations, many of which can be found around the city. Recently, a photo of one of his large cut-outs has been floating around social media.
A Willamette Week article featured a photo (below) with Bennett’s glow-in-the-dark dinosaur bones next to someone sleeping on a sidewalk.
“I create these giant cartoon cutouts that I’ve been hiding all over the city for a few years now,” Bennett tells KGW8, a Portland news station.
After seeing the photo, Bennett thought he could be doing more, so he sent the picture to a friend and the owner of Shirt Nerdery, Rob Campbell.
“It was upsetting to see people having such hardship,” Campbell tells the news station, “and I was quick to say, ‘Yes, let’s work on something together.'”
They combined their skills, and in a matter of days, T-shirts with the dinosaur bone design seen in the photo were printed and available for sale. The proceeds from the sales go to Sisters of the Road, a nonprofit cafe working to end poverty and homelessness through meals and other resources.
The shirts look like they feature basic white ink, but they glow in the dark when charged up.
Melissa Lang of the nonprofit says this isn’t the first time Sisters of the Road has worked with Bennett. “We’re very thankful for Mike shining a light on this issue,” Lang says, “because community members forced to survive outside, you know, they deserve love, dignity, and respect.”
Around 400 T-shirts ranging from $18-$22 have been sold so far. Bennett plans to match donations up to $1,000. Two Portland businesses, EPIF vegan restaurant and Ship John, a leather and canvas store, plan to do the same.
“It feels like if I’m able to do this work for my community, then I should just give back as many ways as I can,” Bennett concludes.
View the shirts here.