Page last updated at 15:27 GMT, Thursday, 25 March 2010

Search on for London street gum artist

Pavement gum artist Ben Wilson
Ben Wilson has held a number of exhibitions of his work

Chemistry academics are scouring London to offer work to a man who paints tiny pictures on discarded chewing gum.

The Royal Society of Chemistry is offering a reward of £118 to the first person to put them in touch with artist Ben Wilson.

They want him to paint miniature depictions of the 118 known elements to promote conservation.

Mr Wilson was spotted by a society member last week, painting on some hardened gum in London's Piccadilly.

"We think that a commission to depict the elements the Ben Wilson way would be novel and memorable," said Jon Edwards of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Gum picture
This chewing gum picture was on a traffic island at Piccadilly

"If Ben could produce images of the elements for us in miniature on the gum I am sure they would attract attention widely.

"I would add that we do not support people dropping their gum on the pavement. In fact there has been work performed in the UK by chemists to combat the problem."

Mr Wilson paints directly on to the discarded gum and has added his touch to pavements from north London to the Millennium Bridge.

BBC News Online contacted a colleague of Mr Wilson, who said she would pass the Royal Society of Chemistry's appeal on to him.



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