Artist Paints Tiny Pictures on Chewing Gum Spit Out on the Sidewalk

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Ben Wilson, a British artist, paints tiny little paintings on the chewing gum that mar the sidewalk of London. He transforms those black and grey blobs into delightful, colorful and meaningful works of art.

Wilson, who's been doing this for six years, has a specific technique in painting the hardened gum. The NY Times details his process:

He softens the gum with a blowtorch, sprays it with lacquer and then applies three coats of acrylic enamel. He uses tiny brushes, quick-drying his work with a lighter as he goes along, and then seals it with clear lacquer.


Each of his miniature paintings can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to complete. And once finished, the gum art could potentially last years and years if conditions are right (weather, repaving, etc.).

When I walk to work, I see hundreds of drab black gum scarring the sidewalks—like a pockmarked rite for any big city. I think what Wilson is doing—re-dressing them in skittle-like colors—is a wonderful idea. Can we steal him for New York? [NY Times, Photo Credit: Andrew Testa/NYT]