Muswell Hill Broadway, London, N10. Photo © Roger Dean 2011
The cost of cleaning up London’s streets from chewing gum is estimated as being as much as £10 million every year.
The cost of removing each bit of chewing gum is between 50p-£2.
Deep cleaning the entire length of Oxford Street to remove chewing gum takes three months and during this process over 300,000 individual pieces of chewing gum are removed from the pavement.
[ Ben Wilson creates what the establishment likes to call outsider art. He creates tiny works of art by painting chewing gum stuck to the pavement. He estimates he has done over 10,000 of the little works and although they can be seen all over the United Kingdom and in Europe the vast majority are in Muswell Hill where he lives. The creative process starts with heating the gum with a blow torch, after which he uses acrylics to paint on them, finishing each one with a clear lacquer seal. The paintings can take anything from a couple of hours to three days to produce. Living and working in Muswell Hill many of his paintings reference local people and places such as the Finchley Cafe and the staff of the now defunct Woolsworths store. R.D.