Turning Gum into Art

-Look Up, Look Down Challenge, Week 46

Every Thursday, I publish a post containing photo(s) taken from above or below, and invite you to join in the challenge by posting your own photos with an up or down perspective.
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I’m known to regularly remind people to keep looking up, especially in cities, so that they don’t miss out on the sights.  But today my mantra is “look down”.  Next time you walk over the Millennium Bridge in London, keep your eyes glued to the ground.  Look closely and you’ll find more than just your eyes are glued there.

There is a host of miniature paintings on the floor of the bridge – look carefully as they really are small.

They aren’t in fact painted on the bridge itself, but on blobs of discarded chewing gum.  I don’t like chewing gum, I don’t like to see or hear people chewing it, and I particularly hate seeing it littering floors.  But Ben Wilson, a London artist, has turned this eyesore into tiny  pieces of art.

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Ben Wilson at work on the Millennium Bridge

Before starting work, he heats the gum using a blow torch, then coats it with several layers of acrylic enamel. He then uses special acrylic paints to paint his pictures, finishing each with a clear lacquer seal.  Subject matters vary hugely, including landscapes, animals, portraits and personal messages.  Not only is he an innovative artist, but he’s a nice guy too.  I had a good chat with him after almost stepping on him on the Bridge one morning.

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Here is a small selection of the pieces I have spotted on the Millennium Bridge and on pavements in Shoreditch.  The detail in some of them is quite amazing. He must have great eyesight!

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The Challenge

Click here to enter the challenge

Welcome to week 46 and a huge thank you as always to those who entered last week. There were some really beautiful up and down views last week; I can’t even begin to pick a favourite or two, so you’ll just have to look and decide for yourselves.  You can see all of the entries from previous weeks on my Pinterest board if you are seeking inspiration, or are just plain nosy.

All are welcome; please share your up or down perspective with us.  Simply create your own post as normal, create a link to this challenge and then click here to enter your link and to view other entries.  If you have any difficulties with the linky, please just leave your link in a comment below and I will upload your thumbnail.

Finally, please don’t forget to go and visit the other challengers and pass on your views and encouragement.

To find out more about how to enter, click here.  The linky list will open each Thursday at 00:01 GMT (or a bit before) and will be open for a week.

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27 thoughts on “Turning Gum into Art

  1. The artist has a neat idea, though I can’t picture myself decorating another person’s discarded gum. Thank you for sharing these; I love how travel and blogging (and travel blogging) can help me grow with knowledge about places I might never get to see in person. Bravo!

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  2. The artist has a neat idea, though I can’t picture myself decorating another person’s discarded gum. Thank you for sharing that; I love how travel and blogging (and travel blogging) can help me grow with knowledge about places I might never get to see in person. Bravo!

    Like

  3. An awesome post. It makes artwork out of vandalism. I can’t stand chewing gum either but this is one way of making something interesting out of something vile and gross. 😀

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    1. You do get about! He lives in Muswell Hill and does a lot of work there, but the bridge seems to be one of his other favourite stomping grounds.

      On Thu, Jul 3, 2014 at 2:12 AM, Travel with Intent wrote:

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