It takes Ben Wilson an average of about three hours to create each piece of gum art. If you’re lucky you may even spot him lying on the concrete with his blowtorch and acrylic paints tackling the latest gob of abandoned chewing gum with an intricately detailed mini-masterpiece. Adds a new dimension to appreciating the little things… Ben’s been at it for eight years.
Look down and look carefully. You may be lucky enough to spot one! If you thought Pablo Delgado‘s work was easy to spot, here’s a good treasure hunt challenge for you. Ben’s work is found mainly around North London, especially Muswell Hill and Barnet. Apparently there’s one on Argyle Street W1 where the road bends. There are now a bunch near East India on the DLR where last weekend’s photo exhibition of Ben’s past work was supplemented by a new trail of his gum art.
Here are some photos of the exhibition images followed by a few of my own findings in East India along the way.
Outside, a small trail…lens cap so you can judge the size.
As you’ve probably guessed from these, Ben often works to requests so a lot of them are quite personal.
Have you found any of Ben’s chewing gum art over the past eight years?
If you could have a personally designed piece, what would it look like? Any particular flavour?
LOOKING FOR MORE ON BEN WILSON?
- A follow-up post on Ben’s work here with a short video
- An LLO interview with Ben, part 1 (July 2013)
- An LLO interview with Ben, part 2 (July 2013)
- A post about Ben designing a customized piece of chewing gum art for LLO (July 2013)
I managed to get a photo of Ben Wilson at work on a painting in September 2009: http://www.flickr.com/photos/m_j_b/6847705963/
Ben also showed me this one which he had managed to make on the Royal Academy forecourt http://www.flickr.com/photos/m_j_b/3944767775/
I keep finding them around that area!
this is so awesome :o) i want to find one!
Try Muswell Hill, High Barnet, Piccadilly, Trinity Wharf or King’s Road!
He did it so well that I it doesn’t look gross to me at all. Haha
He doesn’t even really touch it very much so it’s actually not as gross as it first sounds.
I have to say this really made me smile (: Gum art? What a perfect example of somebody taking something unpleasant, some wasteful and unsightly output of society, and using human creativity and skill to make it beautiful. The little pictures are so cute and I bet they’re not easy to do. Whenever I’m next in London I’l look out for these. Thanks for sharing!
Let me know if you find any. When the weather gets a bit warmer, I’m going on a chewing gum treasure hunt in North London to see if I can find any more. Apparently there’s thousands floating around…
I was going to say exactly the same, but you said it for me 🙂 love these!!
Art turns up in the most unsuspecting places!
It’s the thrill of the hunt 🙂
I LOVE creativity.
wow!! who would have thought to make art out of chewing gum? imagination = limitless possibilities. love it :0)
Indeed. It’s definitely an example of someone adhering to that cliche of thinking outside the box!
Clearly, this Ben dude is NOT a germaphobe.
But WAY cool!
Hehe 🙂 Clearly! Just pure awesome…
This is seriously one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a long time.
Me too 🙂
check out my blog renovationperfection.wordpress.com
hey if u like art check out my blog 🙂
Another great example of human creativity! Thank for sharing.
Welcome! Thanks for reading!
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Wow, I’ve never seen anything like that before! Amazing!
Me neither. He is one of a kind!
Such an odd thing to do, yet I admire him tremendously!
Yes, and he does it with good reason – he feels very strongly about the way humans have an impact on the environment. This is his stab at making a positive change to the destruction we leave behind.
Some of the detail in such a small area! Especially the 7th one shown with a lense cap!!
I know, pretty amazing, isn’t he? I mean, he takes about three hours to make each one, I’d imagine with teeny little brushes. Like nail art! 🙂
How is it possible that something so disgusting can be turned into something so (dare I say it) pretty?
Now, that Ben guy is full of all KINDS of crazy talent!
He sure is 🙂 And plenty of imagination to boot.
I hate thinking of all that work being stepped on !
I know! That’s what I thought as well. It’s so easy to miss them unless you’re looking for them…
Ok, this made me smile. And as an artist, I’m totally amazed at making pictures that small with so much detail and on GUM! Wow! But I agree with Mikalee.. yuck. I think I’d at least chew the gum myself, spit it on the ground and then start creating a masterpiece.
He may occasionally work with his own gum. I know sometimes he places it on tinfoil so it’s easier to transport, in which case, I would assume it’s probably his own. I’m hoping to possibly be able to meet him one of these days, in which case, I will ask!
I’ve always loved how he takes something so “ugly” and creates a wonderfully artful surprise to delight whoever may pass by. Recently featured him with some other street artists on my art blog, Artsy Forager: http://artsyforager.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/friday-faves-street-cred/
PS– Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!
Thanks 🙂 I just had a look at your street art post. Couple names I haven’t heard, but love alice pasquini’s work always. She’s awesome. 🙂
I wasn’t so sure about gum art but that’s actually very cool. I haven’t been to London in years, but next time I go, I’ll be sure to look down as well as up! Thanks and congratulations on being freshly pressed!
Thanks Claire 🙂
Interesting . . .
But, ewwww . . .
Wow, that’s amazing. Love this…
Some people are just endlessly creative. Who’d have thought of this?! And he does such a wonderful job, wow.
Yes, he has an excellent imagination!
i just saw an artical about a gum artist in a scolastic art magazine! was that you!? awesome work! check mine out http://www.lindseyeileen.wordpress.com
Very likely it could be Ben’s work… not sure. What was the magazine called? I’d be interested to read it!
the magazine is called Scholastic art its the November 2011 issue http://www.scholastic.com/art
i just found the magazine and it is him!
Really good article highlighting Ben Wilson’s art, which is carried out in one of the more random mediums & yet is nonetheless detailed & extremely effective. When I lived in Muswell Hill it was always fun to spot a new piece, as well as see tourists & art snappers hunched down on the ground taking photos.
I need to get up that way and have a look around. Once the weather warms up a bit! 🙂
This is so cool!
Ben Wilson’s art is so cool, totally love it! Thank you for this post, otherwise I wouldn’t have found his art 🙂
Welcome! Thanks for reading!
Reblogged this on dawaralshams.
مقزز ولكن فكرة ملفتة للنظر
I have some questions…
-How permanent are these creations?
-Does Ben ever catch some flack for this?
-Who is Jess?
-Do people try to rip these up and collect them?
“Well, there are some things you should know. First off, you see gum on the street, leave it there. It’s not free candy.” -Santa Claus to Buddy the Elf in the movie Elf.
I’m hoping to interview Ben at some point in the near future, so I shall ask! Permanence probably depends on location. I imagine there are some from quite a long time ago that are hanging on, others probably get ruined quite quickly from people stepping on them or perhaps even taking them home. Hm. Ben’s had many run in with the police, but usually they are pretty cool with it once they figure out what he’s doing. Plus, he’s not exactly doing anything wrong. Littering with gum is the crime. He’s just making it prettier. Jess is probably one of the people he did a special request for at some point. I’m sure people do try to collect them. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least. Hopefully they have gloves and a good scraper…
Only the creative mind can see something in a piece of old used chewing gum stuck to the sidewalk.
Yes, and turn it into something meaningful as well.
How about a small devil?hehe
This is Ah-may-zing! Who would’ve thought?! So clever
Yes, he has a very creative mind!
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Reblogged this on lovethisyogi and commented:
Chewing gum art on the streets of London…I love the idea of these little works of genius lying on the ground for people who take the time to notice the little details to discover.
Thanks for reblogging and I agree with you on loving the idea – it’s a little reminder how we should stop to appreciate the little things.
This is fantastic! I love the idea of turning something as unsightly as used chewing gum into art.
That’s something unique I got to see today.
Many thanks to you SIR!
Glad you stopped by then!
Wow! So unique and wonderful! Tiny treasures for passersby. 🙂
Yes, treasures indeed. That’s a good way to put it!
Brilliant Fellow! Radical and awesome.
woo, it’s so talented, it’s hard to recognize they are made of chewing gum
Yea, it’s pretty amazing how well he transforms them!
oh, this is fxxking coooool!
Oh so wrong but creative!
All I can think of when I see it is Catholic elementary school when I’d accidentally put my hand in sticky ABC gum shoved under the desk–yuck! 🙂
I love the art of creativety. Absolutely love it!! I will follow you !!
Wrong but oddly inspiring….hhmmm
Reblogged this on youthinkimfunnydontyou.
Thank you for reblogging!
really impressed by this! taking something disgusting and making it beautiful. like space invader or banksy but doing a public service.
I like the way you put that! 🙂
Living in the Barnet area myself, I’ve seen these amazing little pieces but for the moment I haven’t done so in a while!
It’s a great way to brighten up North London and use something that is completely unexpected to make a modern piece of art on the pavements ^^ I only met the guy once quite a few years ago. Amazing stuff and wonderfully intricate.
He is quite a fascinating person to meet. You’re lucky! I’d love to wander around Barnet looking for these but unless you walk by regularly or know generally where to spot them, it could be difficult!
Yes it is 🙂
Great find! When you think you saw everything about art, this comes along! Chewing gum seems so irrelevant, but when seeing in eyes of artists, you have art! Amazing pics, thanks for sharing!
It’s the little things 🙂 And you’re welcome. Thanks for stopping by!
that is just about the coolest expression of street art I’ve ever seen. I hate it went people spit their gum out of the sidewalk but I love that someone turned it into something great!
Yes, he is very concerned about the way we impact the environment in a negative way sometimes and this is his way of putting a positive spin on it!
How wonderful!! It seems that, between Mr. Wilson and the Pothole Gardner, London must be one of the most interesting places to walk around. As long as you’re looking down 😀
Aw, yes, I have interviewed him! https://littlelondonobservationist.wordpress.com/tag/pothole-gardener/ and others like Pablo Delgado, for example, are worth looking down for too!
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Reblogged this on hannahroseb and commented:
I just found this the most amazing idea ever. It really made me want to jump on the train and go hunting for one myself.. can’t believe I have never seen one of these before, will have to keep an eye out from now on!
Thanks for reblogging 🙂 I hope you have since spotted one of your own!
Wow! These are fantastic! Lol, I love the idea of going in search of them. I wish I lived nearby so I could go on a treasure hunt for them.
Yes, its fun when you have a general idea of where they can be found and then rewarding when you spot one!
What a cool art form! I love it 😀
Reblogged this on unearthinganki.
Thanks for reblogging!
Reblogged this on Artistic Creations and commented:
What a unique approach to a new medium Gum.. never would have thought of using gum in Art, but it works and looks great
Thanks for reblogging!
Amazing what a person can turn into something that constitutes ‘art’. A very talented and creative individual. Thanks for sharing and congratulations on being FP’d.
Very creative indeed. Thanks for stopping by!
I love seeing things that almost everyone wouldn’t think twice about painting on. Ben is a very creative!
Yes, he has a great imagination!
Reblogged this on jintao21 and commented:
Amazing! Gum art!!!
Thanks for re-blogging!
This is pretty phenomenal.
Sure is! 🙂
I was in Piccadilly today and checked to see if the painting on the railings that I mentioned earlier is still there, It isn’t – the railings have now been removed – but I did discover three more paintings on the pavement, all next to the Royal Academy. They can be seen, along with their exact locations, in this video:
So, if you’re visiting the Hockney exhibition, you can impress anyone who is accompanying you by pointing out these three genuine original Ben Wilson Gum paintings.
Awesome, cheers for that. 🙂 I’ll post it on the blog tomorrow. x
These are beautiful photos! I am a WordPress photographer, and this really brightened my day. Great job.
That’s great 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
Reblogged this on Uma Madrugada Qualquer and commented:
LOL, por que não deixar essa selva de concreto mais colorida? E por que não fazer isso reaproveitando os milhões de chicletes jogados nas sarjetas? Chewing Gum Art com Ben Wilson! 😀
That’s cool! It’s like seeing many badges, but remembering the artistic process, it makes them way cooler than just badges.
Brilliant painting. You’re very courageous to get so close. Come and visit the college at the end of our street. Roughly one splat of gum per 6″ square. Enough to keep you painting for ever and ever:-)
That is the coolest thing ever! Brilliant idea turning something gross into something beautiful! I wish this guy could do some work on NYC sidewalks…
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This is amazing! He has a never ending array of places to work…im chewinggum fanatic so im most likely guilty of throwing my gum on the floor every once in a while…maybe it will become a work of art one day! Great post!
Ha, when I first read the title of this post, I was a bit disgusted and also a bit curious. However, after checking out the pictures and reading a bit, I find myself absolutely amazed. Who would have thought chewing gum could be art? Great post!
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Very creative! Isn’t chewing so much gum painful for the jaw? 🙂
As street art gets – fantastic.
Oh my goodness, this is so creative and they are so colorful and cute! How’d this idea come about?
Reblogged this on thephantasmiccollaborative.
Reblogged this on Arrancat's Blog and commented:
What a brilliant piece of art! And a beautiful yet grotesque kind of art concept – I love it:)
Fabulous idea! I also like that there were other objects around in the photographs (lens cap, etc.) to give you an idea of the artwork’s scale.
Niiiiiice art !!! 😀
Thankyou for all of your comments, which I will pass onto Ben as he does
not ‘do online.’ This gum art trail is the first in a series of artist residencies funded by Trinity Buoy Wharf Trust where artists look at environmental issues use waste products and eco themes specific to the site to create new work. As a curator I have worked with Ben on a number of projects, two of which can be seen here –
– those pieces are still in Fitzrovia, London W1 and one was done for the community arts group that I run, founded in 2007 to document the demolition of a 250 year old public hospital, The Middlesex.
– if visiting the area use the tower as a beacon to locate Ben’s gum work on Maple Street, Charlotte St, Mortimer/Wells St, Tottenham St etc
The gum art is meant to be permanent and is impossible to remove from the pavement without damaging it – people do try but Ben returns to
previous pieces and repairs missing corners. Generally they are pretty
Thanks for that Garry!
I’m the English Editor of Perdiz Magazine, a mag about what makes people happy and all the wonderful things humans do out of sheer enjoyment, We’d love to interview Ben for the mag, but he seems to have no online presence – is there any way to get a message to him, or contact him? It would just be a short interview, nothing time consuming. Please let us know if there is any way to get in touch with him.
Hi Derek – could be good timing as I’m working with Ben next Wed/Thurs on Kings Rd as part of this – http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/subsites/intransit/routesofkingsandpunks.aspx
I can send you some pics / info if you email me on email@example.com
Cheers – Garry
A very cool idea, and the results look wonderful. I’ll be sure to be on the lookout for these next time I’m in London!
this is prtty cool….gum art, makes sth that possibly be annoying and disgusting look beautiful. (^^,)
Amazing! I walk by Argylle Street almost everyday and failed to see this. 😦 must watch out for this
Truly cool. Couldn’t find that Korean island he is talking about on nr 6 .. I know people that could provide a lot of raw material for this
Love this! Makes me want to rush back to London so I can look for gum on the sidewalks. Thank you for sharing.
Disgusting sticky art…but I like it!
wow this is amazing, it’s amazing how everyday objects can be turned into something simply gorgeous
Takes a creative mind to see chewing gum that way 🙂
What a starving artist will do to paint. He probably can’t afford canvas.
this is aweeeeesome!
super cool idea
Reblogged this on darktrilly and commented:
…della serie: non perdiamo mai l’occasione per fare un po’ di “arte”… o chiamatela come volete voi…
Reblogged this on dansummers78 and commented:
What a great idea
please tell me
how you do celebrate valentines day? on my blog
Reblogged this on Live, Laugh, Love.
This is so creative….those who love sticking gums under desks and chairs should seriously consider putting some efforts and creativity into their messy job.
Reblogged this on My Favorite Spaces.
really cool, creative ideas! Thanks for sharing
This is impressive!! Gum is much more appreciated here than under a desk 😉
This is great! He needs to come to Seattle and improve our gum wall!
Is this really art from chewing gum? For example, Ben would be walking down a London street and come across gum, stop, bend down and create art?
that’s so neat. It’s amazing how anything can be turned into art!
It is true 🙂
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I love his art 🙂
Recently read about this, great idea and very impressive – though if you’re into collecting ‘free’ street art, a trifle difficult to obtain – guess you could life the pavement up!
Banksy, eat your heart out!
WOW,never seen something like that 🙂
Ewww! I hope people realize what it actually before touching it, lol. But let me get this straight: you’re brilliant and extremely talented! Who in the world would ever thought to draw on a chewing gum?? (Obviously you, lol.) This is unique!
This is so creative. Those guys who love sticking gums under desks and seats should seriously consider at least put some efforts and creativity into their messy work.
Weird and wacky, yet creative and fun! . . . Who would have thought?!?!
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Very Cool! I put a link to this post on my blog, tinyartroom.wordpress.com
I might just try this with some of my students!!! : )
i wonder who chewed all these chewing gums….???/ or are they fresh….? well creativity has no ends people can do things with chewing gums after already using rices, beans, jelly … what next?
Reblogged this on ronitnestel.
Cool, brilliant – and gross!
This is really interesting work, the delicacy of it, the precision, the tininess, and particularly the concept. Me, I am into exploring ‘edges’ and (from some of the comments) the chewing gum thing seems to push at people in that way – which is great. I relate to it. It doesn’t bother me at all. If you fancy taking a peep at another devalued, neglected space in which work is made, maybe you might check me out (me-moment – ooo, another edge). I’m a Holloway, London cookie. I’m anonymous. And a bit taboo.
I am so impressed – itjust goes to show there is beauty in everything
Even discarded chewing gum. Well said.
This is absolutely awesome! I now know not to throw away all of my chewing gum – it can be put to better use 😉
Well he only works with gum that’s already been discarded, so it may be put to use even if you do throw it away!
I *loathe* chewing gum spots on the sidewalk and the evil people who spit their gum out there. This, however, is delightful. Thanks for sharing!!
Awesome concept and like the originality. Really enjoyed looking!
clever!! a much better use than littering on the sidewalk 🙂
He should come to Dublin where there is enough chewing gum on the streets to keep him and all his future generations busy foverer! Great post.
There seems to be something completely unsanitary about this idea, but also kind of genius. I appreciate that he turns something disgusting (masticated litter) into artwork!
wow! amazing artwork!!
Love this, so original 🙂
Thank you for posting this. It made me smile and think of good old Europe with its people who think out of the box. Refreshing, a bit weird and beautiful in its intricate style. Keep it up!
This is great, thanks for sharing 🙂 pity I wasn’t able to see it during my recent trip there.
superb work and art.
These are so cool! I love the idea of him improving what’s basically a blot on the landscape. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for them in future!
Reblogged this on Bimba mia. and commented:
One of the reason I ove London is coz it is so special and original! 🙂
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This is excellent, I’m so impressed.
coolest thing that i have ever seen……..
Reblogged this on Okkie Nikijuluw.
Peoples opinion think its ‘cool’ but is it. it may make the place look brighter but its still disgusting and a waste of money in a few ways.
Someone who has hardly any money re-decorates there house, new carpet and then they come back home one day not realizing to chewing gum on there shoe and stepping it in to the carpet, there new expensive carpet that they cant afford to buy new things.
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I see Ben every day on the way home from school!
Seriously? This is not the kind of art I found under my desk at school. It’s a new day!
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the worlds best art i have ever seen in my life
That’s a pretty high compliment!!
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wonderful blog, fantastic art.
I came across this blog doing a Google search on Ben Wilson, “the chewing gum man” . Is there a way, if one comes to London, of getting to know where he is working?
He is currently working around Sloane Square and has various projects around London. But you’ll most often find him in Muswell Hill!
…and for our TransManchian friends, Ben is due to be in Paris for the first few days of this major Outsider Art expo :
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Looking for the elephant Ben did on Millenium bridge yesterday but can’t find it!!! Have retraced all our steps
Oh no, and in the rain! I actually haven’t been to see his work there yet. It’s something I want to do soon. Did you find it in the end?
There is quite a few other bits there but we wanted to see the ones he was doing- thats rubbish- its hardly graffiti! Petition away!!!! I’m joining!
Ben is battling with so-called ‘graffiti removers’ who are sadly determined to remove his work from the bridge, but he keeps on going back ! Time for a petition ?
We have discover Ben´s work and we were imperesed with it!!!. It´s soo original, diferent and exciting!
We work for an Spanish magazine about trendes, and always original and diferent topics. This week we are traveling to London and it will be great for us have the posibility to chat and meet Ben.
Any one know if it is possible to contact ben by e-mail?
Thanks in advance
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