Thursday, February 13, 2020

London's Chewing Gum Artist

57-year-old Ben Wilson has toured London, UK for the past 15 years sculpting and repainting scraps of gum discarded by passers-by. 

But it's not just an eccentric hobby. 

Wilson (left) considers the results "a form of art" – as well as recycling. He explained: "(It) is taking a thoughtless action and trying to transform it hopefully into something positive". 

His colorful creations, barely bigger than a small coin, can be found all along the pedestrian bridge and in the surrounding area. Unless passers-by look closely, they are easy to miss.

Many are miniature representations of the famous cathedral nearby, while others are vivid – almost psychedelic – drawings, often signed and dated. 

His unusual hobby has earned him the nickname "chewing gum man", a moniker he has fully embraced.

His procedure is now well established. 

Wilson will spot old gum stuck to steps, streets and other parts of the urban landscape. 

Then, out comes his equipment: an old paint-stained blanket to sit on; bottles of acrylic paints and varnish; a burner to melt the gum; and, of course, a brush. He is careful to avoid painting on the actual bridge or other surface, in case he is accused of vandalism by the authorities. 

"The person who spat out the gum is the person that created the criminal damage", he noted. 

He estimates he has painted "thousands and thousands" of pieces of gum, and prides himself on having produced his "hidden art" across central London. 

He’s spot on when he said: "It's nice to actually create something which evolves out of the environment rather than being imposed on the environment". 

Last evening, I was in Jalan Pantai Baharu, KL to attend the Telekom Toastmasters meeting. 

I was given a speaking slot barely four hours before the said meeting – and I gladly took it. This was my project speech #871:

It was an Advanced speech from the Speaking to Inform manual, project #1 Speaking to Inform titled Breaking News. Yes, it is something about which that is very much in the news lately: Covid-19. 

And I am one speech away from my ACG #7.

I also took part in Table Topics and I was voted Best Table Topics Speaker:

Photos of the said meeting on Level 17, South Wing of Menara TM:

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