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Everyday litter, revitalised

This week, I spotted a new gumpic on the Millennium Bridge. The brightly coloured Bunnie is on the slope up to the bridge and you’ll spot it easily if you focus on the floor.

Gumpic work by the Chewing Gum Man, London, 2020

A few years ago, I came across the Ben Wilson, aka The Chewing Gum Man, hard at work on the Millennium Bridge.

He turns well trodden litter into little gems, being careful to cause no damage to the surroundings, only applying his intricately painted details to the offending chewing gum.

Here’s a little collection of his work, some with scenes that you’ll recognise, and many are dated and signed.


Copyright Debbie Smyth,  26 August 2020

Posted as part of Lens-Artists

23 replies »

  1. I am speechless . I had to go back and read your post again and then read the comments to make sure I understood what you said about Gumpics. Although it sounds gross but the artist really made astonishing pieces of artwork. I am assuming it must be tiny , easy to miss and yet the details he put in are fantastic and that too on discarded chewed GUM!!! I am stunned.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And he’s been doing it for years. It is almost impossible to remove that awful glue-like litter so he turns it into art. It is walked on by millions in London and survives amazingly well. Very easy to miss but once you spot them there are usually plenty in the same area. The Millennium Bridge across the Thames is particularly well endowed.


  2. Dear Debbie, even if this type of art has its merits… the defect of dirtying nature by throwing the butts on the ground, should be fined.
    Forget the “education” issue, unfortunately it starts with these “small” manifestations of absolute disrespect (or see also the cigarette butts…) and then ends with the absolute littering of those who throw almost everything on the ground.
    This world does not belong to us, we have borrowed it for the period in which we are allowed to live… towards Nature we should show the utmost respect, and consequently, carry with us any filth that should be stored and recycled in the most convenient way.
    We cannot learn certain things at school, but the family is the first “teacher in the art of education and respect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely, but the amount of litter still out there shows the messages are not getting through. In fact it is worse at the moment, as caring members of the public who would normally have picked up others’ litter do not not do that (understandably) during the pandemic. Personally, I would ban chewing gum totally, as I hate seeing it chewed, and the spitting out even more.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi, Debbie. Well, this is a new one for me. Art out of discarded chewing gum! Amazing that he’s inspired by this little blob of gum! And his images are so detailed. I’m thunderstruck! A great idea for the challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think London’s streets keep him busy! And gum pic seems to be a new word – I don’t think it was in use when I first discovered him in 2014. But now it a social media tag.


  4. OK I have to admit Debbie that the idea of painting someone else’s gum after it’s been chewed and stuck somewhere rather grosses me out! Can you imagine picking up someone else’s discarded gum? YUK!!! That said, your images have shown me something I’d never heard of! Live and learn.

    Liked by 1 person

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