Mike hails from California, but has family here in the valley. If you regularly attend comic book conventions, then you have probably seen Mr. Bennett and his suitcases full of original art pieces. He is easily one of the most prolific and eccentric artists on the pop culture scene and he creates 18 or more originals every week.
Danny Bushey, owner of the Rusted Nail Gallery, hooked up with Mike at the recent Phoenix Comicon and snagged 25-30 originals for the gallery’s “Hallucinatory Pop” art show. “I grew up on Hanna-Barbera cartoons so his stuff really struck a chord with me,” said Danny.Why “Hallucinatory Pop,” or as Mr. Bennett calls it, “stream of consciousness” artwork? It’s because of the extremely wild imagination Mike uses to tell single frame stories of time travel, creatures of destruction, heroes & villains and monsters & mayhem; and also because of his unique style of using neon & fluorescent colored paper and inks that look fantastic under a blacklight.
Mike’s art is a blend of many pop culture styles; and in addition to Hanna-Barbera, you also see strands of Jack Kirby’s influence on the artist, as well as a lifetime worth of comics, cartoons, films and rock & roll. His work is also unique in that it is extremely affordable. The pieces in the Rusted Nail show will be selling for as low as $30 each and you won’t find cooler original art anywhere for that price.
The Hallucinatory Pop show opens Friday, June 8, from 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m., as part of downtown Mesa’s 2nd Friday night out. The show will run until July 7, but you’ll want to make it to opening night as these pieces are sure to disappear fast. The Rusted Nail Gallery is located at 158 W. Main St. in Mesa.