From first sight, we were totally charmed by the art of Bennett Mitten; with an unpretentious and thoughtful approach to his craft, Bennett attentively restores life and energy into found pieces of art that have been tossed by the wayside and need (usually more than) a facelift to find their way into the hearts and homes of a new, appreciative audience. An adopted-Vancouverite, this artist hails from New York, having spent much of his life training and working in art restoration under some of the industry’s most well respected masters (seriously – his portfolio of furniture restoration blew us away!). Now, as his focus has shifted to capturing the life and love of found art, Bennett is impressing a whole new set of onlookers: forward-thinking peeps who are looking for a fresh, candid and unassuming take on what art is and what it can be. Each piece – which ranges from traditional landscape pieces to quirky animal portraits to darker, much more intricate scenes – is brought back to a superior version of it’s original condition with the utmost care being taken to honour the quality and feel that it would have initially offered. Bennett makes great effort to remain, for the most part, an invisible “giver-of-second-chances” to his pieces, not wanting his restoration work to be obvious to the glancing eye. It is only upon true observation that his (sometimes cheeky) injections of personality reveal themselves – with wit and an obvious emotional investment, Bennett invites us to explore and interact with his art. Sharing even more of his creative self with his viewers, Bennett composes original poetry to accompany every piece; it allows us a small glimpse into his perspective and interpretations of art. If you are as intrigued as we are and want to check out his fun & fabulous pieces for yourself, make your way over to his collections at ReFind and Space Lab (1849 and 1847 Main Street, respectively) where, like us, Bennett can often be found. A true testament to his character, he humbly offers credit for his growing success to both Bart Taylor (of ReFind) and Clint Moroz (of Space Lab) for opening their spaces as a platform to showcase his work. Despite his modesty, we’re giving a huge shout out to Bennett for continuously creating and sharing… we’ve already got one of his pieces to call our own, a few more on our Wish List and we are super excited to see what he offers next. Here’s a small sampling of his work (we’ve left the accompanying poetry a treasure for you to find when you check out his work in person!) – enjoy, explore and tell us which one you love best!