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Last Updated: Wednesday January 19 2005 17:16 GMT

Artist who paints on chewing gum

Chewing gum art
Gum art of NR's logo and a Welsh dragon for Laura
Most of us just chew it, but artist Ben Wilson has other ideas about what to do with old gum.

The London artist is working his way around the city painting on used pieces of gum stuck to the pavement.

Treating each lump as a mini canvas the painter carefully turns each old chew into a piece of street art.

With an estimated 300,000 pieces of gum stuck to London's popular Oxford Street, Ben Wilson is unlikely to run out of places to paint.

Not graffiti

The painter takes his chewy art quite seriously, and has been painting the lumps for over a month.

Artist Ben Wilson creates gum art
Artist Ben Wilson creates gum art

"I'm not defacing the pavement. It is more sensitive than that. I'm not a graffiti artist" he said.

As each sweet portrait is just a few centimetres, he is forced to squat down or lie on the pavement to complete the work.

Sticky problem

Each year Britain spends 150m on clearing up discarded gum.

Last year several councils in England and Wales spent thousands of pounds on a high pressure steam cleaner to blast gum off the streets.

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