Artist Paints Tiny Pictures On Chewing Gum Spit

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

Wilson, who's been doing this for six years, has a specific technique in painting the hardened gum. The New York 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 footpaths - like a pockmarked rite for any big city. I think what Wilson is doing - re-dressing them in Skittle-like colours - is a wonderful idea. Can we steal him for New York? [NYT]

Photo: Andrew Testa/NYT

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