Eliminating Chewing Gum Spots

I have read about various ideas that are supposed to prevent chewing gum from sticking to sidewalks. I also have written about the damage costs and innovation related to gum removal (back in 2006).

The problem of chewing gum is a fascinating one. How much damage is really done? Who is liable? Manufacturers? Spitters? Who should pay for cleanup?

This new video by the BBC has to be the oddest angle I have seen on the subject: Artists can recycle chewing gum spots by turning them into a miniature street canvas for painting.

An artist is making the streets of London a little more colourful by painting miniature pictures on pieces of discarded chewing gum.

For the past six years, Ben Wilson has spent days on end scouring pavements for discarded gum that he can bring to life.

Mr Wilson has created more than 8,000 works of art this way – each one photographed and catalogued for his archive. A picture can take anything from two hours to three days to complete.

As well as producing his own compositions he takes commissions from members of the public. The Royal Society of Chemistry recently asked him to paint depictions of each of the 118 known elements.

His work has even made him a minor celebrity in South Korea after he appeared on television there.

BBC News spent a day on the streets with Mr Wilson to see how he creates his miniature masterpieces.

His work is very sincere and heartfelt imagery, very unlike Banksy’s infamous style. I wonder if this, like Banksy, will spawn imitators to the point where people will spit out even more gum to increase the size of their canvas. It can be a lot to chew on.

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