Chewing Gum Art Found Sticking To England’s Streets

Photo: DisillusionedBitterandKnackered (CC)

Photo: DisillusionedBitterandKnackered (CC)

One man’s flavorless gum becomes another man’s art, thanks to Ben Wilson. You can view some of his chewing gum art here. The New York Times reports:

When first exposed to the art of Ben Wilson, or to Mr. Wilson in the act of creating it, people tend to respond with some degree of puzzlement.

“When I first saw one, I thought it was a fruit sticker,” said Matt Brasier, who was walking through this north London suburb the other day.

A woman named Vassiliki, who was passing by, said that when she came upon Mr. Wilson, prone and seemingly inert on the sidewalk, “I thought he wasn’t very well.” She added: “I was like, ‘What is he doing?’ And they told me: ‘He’s painting the chewing gum.’ ”

That is exactly what he was doing. Mr. Wilson, 47, one of Britain’s best-known outsider artists, has for the last six years or so immersed himself in a peculiar passion all his own: he paints tiny pictures on flattened blobs of discarded chewing gum on the sidewalks of London. So familiar is he here, painting in any kind of weather, that he has become something of a local celebrity and mascot.

[Continues at The New York Times]

, , , , , , , , , ,

  • Simiantongue

    “The police often question him, but when he explains that he is not the
    one who spat the gum on the sidewalk, he said, they come around. He was
    arrested once and was brought to a local police station for questioning,
    but the charges were dropped after dozens of people wrote letters of
    support.”

    I was delighted with the article, I was actually really enjoying reading that. Not something that often happens when reading a fish wrapper like the NYT. Then I got to the part quoted above and a dark cloud passed over my brain and ruined the whole thing, an ominous dose of reality. Of course he’s been arrested and brought up on charges. You can’t do something as innocuous, but strange, as this and not attract the attention of the state. 

    You may think it totally irrelevant to this story, but a funny sort of thought occurred to me while I read that. Our society has resources enough that when any one of the multitude of commoners stops marching in lock step with certain expectations that individual is inevitably pounced upon by an overseer class, the police. All you have to do is act out a little strangely, you don’t even have to be doing anything threatening or disturbing. All you have to do is be different and you’ll be brought up on some sort of charges.

    Part of my problem is how the NYT states that exactly also. As if he was arrested and brought up on charges, and rightly so, that is to be expected. Until some worthier people wrote letters to vouch for the guy. As if that is the way things are supposed to be. That someone who is doing something unexpected SHOULD be arrested and brought up on charges until it can be established that nothing untoward is happening. That sentiment of the NYT is somehow darker than the response of the police.

    Like I said a dark cloud passed over my brain when I got to that part. That just seemed really screwed up to me.

  • Simiantongue

    “The police often question him, but when he explains that he is not the
    one who spat the gum on the sidewalk, he said, they come around. He was
    arrested once and was brought to a local police station for questioning,
    but the charges were dropped after dozens of people wrote letters of
    support.”

    I was delighted with the article, I was actually really enjoying reading that. Not something that often happens when reading a fish wrapper like the NYT. Then I got to the part quoted above and a dark cloud passed over my brain and ruined the whole thing, an ominous dose of reality. Of course he’s been arrested and brought up on charges. You can’t do something as innocuous, but strange, as this and not attract the attention of the state. 

    You may think it totally irrelevant to this story, but a funny sort of thought occurred to me while I read that. Our society has resources enough that when any one of the multitude of commoners stops marching in lock step with certain expectations that individual is inevitably pounced upon by an overseer class, the police. All you have to do is act out a little strangely, you don’t even have to be doing anything threatening or disturbing. All you have to do is be different and you’ll be brought up on some sort of charges.

    Part of my problem is how the NYT states that exactly also. As if he was arrested and brought up on charges, and rightly so, that is to be expected. Until some worthier people wrote letters to vouch for the guy. As if that is the way things are supposed to be. That someone who is doing something unexpected SHOULD be arrested and brought up on charges until it can be established that nothing untoward is happening. That sentiment of the NYT is somehow darker than the response of the police.

    Like I said a dark cloud passed over my brain when I got to that part. That just seemed really screwed up to me.

  • Simiantongue

    “The police often question him, but when he explains that he is not the
    one who spat the gum on the sidewalk, he said, they come around. He was
    arrested once and was brought to a local police station for questioning,
    but the charges were dropped after dozens of people wrote letters of
    support.”

    I was delighted with the article, I was actually really enjoying reading that. Not something that often happens when reading a fish wrapper like the NYT. Then I got to the part quoted above and a dark cloud passed over my brain and ruined the whole thing, an ominous dose of reality. Of course he’s been arrested and brought up on charges. You can’t do something as innocuous, but strange, as this and not attract the attention of the state. 

    You may think it totally irrelevant to this story, but a funny sort of thought occurred to me while I read that. Our society has resources enough that when any one of the multitude of commoners stops marching in lock step with certain expectations that individual is inevitably pounced upon by an overseer class, the police. All you have to do is act out a little strangely, you don’t even have to be doing anything threatening or disturbing. All you have to do is be different and you’ll be brought up on some sort of charges.

    Part of my problem is how the NYT states that exactly also. As if he was arrested and brought up on charges, and rightly so, that is to be expected. Until some worthier people wrote letters to vouch for the guy. As if that is the way things are supposed to be. That someone who is doing something unexpected SHOULD be arrested and brought up on charges until it can be established that nothing untoward is happening. That sentiment of the NYT is somehow darker than the response of the police.

    Like I said a dark cloud passed over my brain when I got to that part. That just seemed really screwed up to me.

  • Anonymous

    “But officer, I wasn’t littering I swear, I was making art I was!”

  • Anonymous

    “But officer, I wasn’t littering I swear, I was making art I was!”

  • SF2K01

    “But officer, I wasn’t littering I swear, I was making art I was!”

  • http://strictlyapathy.comoj.com/ SoulArbiter

    What you can do with a lot of spare time…

  • http://strictlyapathy.comoj.com SoulArbiter

    What you can do with a lot of spare time…

  • http://www.chewbynumbers.com/ gum pictures

    Hi, 

    Thanks guys for sharing information about Chewing Gum Art Found Sticking To England’s Streets. 

21
More in Art, artist, Ben Wilson, Briatian, Chewing Gum, Culture, Found Objects, Gum, London, Outsider Artist
Your Name Impacts How Others Judge You?

Gee, wonder how that Barack Obama guy is doing ... Via LiveScience: Alexandra will get an A in class but Amber won't. At least, that's what their peers expect, according...

Close