Gum artist from London. In the last 10 years, there’s moments when I was like a grey London and I walked through the city with my eyes fixed on the pavement. However when I saw the glimmer of bright primary colors immediately, it positive and cheered me up. Ben Wilson, the city’s chewing gum artist, has been making playful miniatures of the millions of gum blobs that have been applied to the city’s paving stones since 2004. Wilson’s work is unique and each one is dedicated to a person who wishes to express his love for others, to honor the lost ones or simply to declare “I reside in this city.” While I’m not sure of the exact amount of these things, it’s my opinion that Wilson provides more little moments of happiness or peace to Londoners than any other artist alive.
In 2005, I had the pleasure of meeting him and he created an artwork for me. The painting was kept a secret from their high-street friends for a long time. Then one day, they discovered that “their” paver stones were being taken away and replaced. Wilson has captured thousands of these photographs throughout the many years. He has a photographic collection of them, as well as many of their admirers. He then goes back to fix any stones that is damaged or scratched. If you know where to locate them they will be able to create an alternative path of blue (and red and yellow) plaques, which pay tribute not just to the deceased as well as the variety of the city.
Then, he softens the gum by blowing it with the blowtorch. Then the gum is sprayed with lacquer, and then applies three coats of acrylic enamel.
Wilson is often in the process of creating art when you’re lucky. There are a variety of places where that he visits: the Edwardian streets that surround his house in Muswell Hill, Crouch End Hackney’s old parts as well as the Millennium Bridge. He has also created hundreds upon trails of chewing gum art, that have led to shady incursions into Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. Wilson is now 58 years old. older, was reworking films in the outside of the Everyman cinema when I first met him. He was tall with a beautiful smile. He was dressed in vibrant orange industrial overalls that had paint layers. He laid down on the ground on a thick mat which he carried in the rucksack he was carrying and his equipment.
This method is very precise. The first step is to soften the gum by using the help of a blowtorch. Then the gum is sprayed with lacquer. Then , he applies three coats of acrylic enamel to the surface. The most common style is selected from his latest book of suggestions from people who crouch or speak. He employs tiny modellers’ brushes and then quickly drys his work with an energizing flame. After that, he seals the painting by applying more varnish. Every painting is finished within a few hours and will last for a long time.
Wilson’s bizarre actions of daily creation appear more natural as explained by him. Wilson is adamant about the concept of public spaces. Technically speaking, he’s not painting commercially owned real estate or public property, but painting gum. The images he paints are designed to create a tiny landscape of common land across the city. He believes that gum is the most popular consumable product. It is not nutritionally significance and is hard to get rid of. There is a certain symbolism in changing something that is thoughtlessly and tossed out into something that is meaningful.
Wilson is keen on promoting the concept of local intimacy and promoting communities. He is currently cleaning and improving a photograph which shows a small smattering of stars over Brighton Pier. He states, “I felt terrible about this picture.” The idea was on my wish list, but the person who requested it was too sick to do it before I was able to. I saw his son in an eatery nearby and I asked him to do the picture in his memory. He was a fan of those murmurs and I was able to. The picture is a favorite of his.”
He carefully cleans it, and paints to areas that are damaged. He takes me to the other areas of the kerbsides. He says, “This is for Ivan who I ran into in the area. He was looking for Ivan The Terrible and I decided to do this.” They stroll along the road until they reach a row of shops. He snaps a picture in front of the Ryman and reads the message. “This is in memory of Nadia,” he said. The post office outside is a tiger in honor of the Sri Lankan postal worker. Wilson could write each name of Woolworths employees on a piece of gum to commemorate the closing of Woolworths several years ago.