Thursday, 25 February 2016

Beauty underfoot

I was so accustomed to the sight of black and white splodges on London's pavements
that if I thought about it at all, I presumed it was  part of the stone,
perhaps a mouldy stain, lichen or a natural imperfection.
I was genuinely shocked to discover it was all flattened chewing gum.
 Discarded gum costs £1.50 per piece, to remove -
a staggering £60 million per year.

Here is one solution spotted on the Millennium Bridge in London yesterday.
The Chewing Gum Man has been painting miniature artworks directly 
onto the gum for twelve years,
'transforming it into something beautiful that people would like to look at'.

At the other end of the bridge is the Tate Modern where
I met old friends to see the Alexander Calder exhibition.
More playfulness and beauty,
but not free.
Without concessions - £18
or 12 pieces of removed chewing gum.


  1. Lucille, this post is delightful! Thank you for introducing me to The Chewing Gum Man's fabulous creations. Somehow, perhaps due to lots of foot traffic and my looking at the views from the bridge, I never noticed these paintings when I last walked across the bridge.

    In a way the bridge resembles a fully warped loom, just waiting for some colorful weft to appear. I am guessing that Ben uses acrylic paint. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing these gems myself when I next visit London (not sure when that will be.)

    Did you get down on your knees to take these photographs? They are very good close ups.

    I'll bet the Calder show was fun. I am a fan, and always loved to see his circus at the old Whitney Museum. I've not yet been to the new Whitney and hope that the circus is on display somewhere in the new building.


    1. I just stooped over them and got in people's way but it did mean other people started looking for them. The circus was in the exhibition with some films to show things working. I loved the wire faces with their shadows and the larger mobiles that moved freely. None of the mechanical ones are strong enough to be demonstrated. The Black Widow was the last exhibit.

  2. I get so cross when people just throw things to the ground! Spitting makes me feel the same way.

    That was a steep price for the exhibition.

    1. Yes it was. Luckily I got in for £7.25 with concessions.

  3. That is indeed more beautiful to look at. I don't get why people throw their chewing gum on the ground.

  4. It is revolting to chew gum then stick it somewhere (such as under a table) or drop it onto the ground. I cannot comprehend why people do it and it reveals complete thoughtlessness and disregard for anyone else. I hate it. I wonder what inspired the artist man to start painting it. Clever and witty.

  5. Wow, what intricate little works of art. Chewing gum is vile, can't see the attraction at all. Although my littlest boy lives for the day he is allowed to have some. Hopefully he'll only be sticking it in a bin. There's a chip shop on Bristol's Centre that has about a thousand pieces stuck on the ground outside it. Horrible. Glad you got to meet old friends and see a good exhibition. CJ xx

  6. They remind me of those intricate bone carvings made by Napoleonic prisoners of war .
    I wonder if they get brittle when it's freezing ? And if those made from gum with Added Fluoride last longer ?

  7. .... and all because our Mum's told us, in their ignorance, that if we swallowed it it would do us harm. Truly a costly old wives tale!!

  8. Thank you for cheering me up with your unexpected juxtapositions - the new currency being gum removal fee is priceless.
    No pun intended. Or maybe yes.
    Sorry - don't feel you have to publish my silliness. I always make full use of other people's comment moderation :-)
    And of my own as well.
    OK.I'll stop now. Just readiong from now on. But tomorrow. Bedtime.