In a miniature example of tuning lemons into lemonade, artist Ben Wilson transforms the discarded chewing gum that can stick to your shoe into tiny graffiti paintings. After finding each new “canvas,” he begins by first heating the gum with a blowtorch to even out the surface, followed by the addition of his brightly colored designs.
Wilson began the unlikely street art form in 1998 and went full time with this work in 2004. Having created more than 10,000 mini-works, his recent tallies are clocking in at 400 individual paintings in the seven months that he spent working on the discarded gum of London’s millennium bridge.
“I was upset by all the rubbish and sense of disconnectedness where people just affect things in a slightly detached way,” said the artist. “When people detach from their environment, that’s when the environment gets destroyed and that’s also when people destroy each other.”