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Ben Wilson paints a Chewing Gum Trail across the Millenium Bridge

Street artist Ben Wilson is unique. While his medium is acrylic his canvas is chewing gum. He’s become known as The Chewing Gum Man for the miniature gum paintings that you can find dotted around the globe.

Ben Wilson, aka The Chewing Gum Man, is an artist famous for his beautiful miniature paintings on chewing gum. His work sits outside the gallery space and in the public domain, it’s there for everyone. Ben’s chewing gum picture trail, that runs from St. Paul’s, across the Millennium Bridge and into the Tate Modern, has particularly piqued the interests of London’s many visitors – and it’s this which we want to celebrate with the book: Ben Wilson – The Millennium Bridge Gum Trail. Click here to see the Kickstarter Campaign


Ben Wilson is a familiar sight on the Millenium Bridge

“Chewing gum art evolves out of the environment rather than imposing the image on the environment,” says Ben. “It’s determined by the shape, or the human context – any people I encounter when I’m working.” They stop to observe, curious as to why he is lying on the ground painting. Some ask questions, “what are you doing?”, “why are you doing that?”. Ben is happy to chat and explain what and why. One of those reasons is to give a little space back to people in an environment dominated by advertising and other messaging that we have no say over. “On the bridge, things are happening on a different scale” he says. “There isn’t the fractiousness of traffic and noise. It’s an area where people from all around the world meet – the chewing gum paintings become a celebration of everyday life and people – their nationalities, religions and their belief systems.”


A landscape on Chewing Gum of St Pauls and the Millenium Bridge

Often people come around to telling Ben their own story and ask him if he’ll paint a picture for them. They’re all carrying thoughts, burdens, mysteries, hopes – which Ben transforms to leave a long-lasting mark of remembrance or celebration on a meticulously worked chewing gum splat. And why chewing gum? Ben wants to turn a thoughtless action, something that is casually spat out and trodden into the ground, into a thoughtful one.

Ben’s work sits in the public domain like few other artists; if you were to visit his Millennium Bridge gallery it might take more than a day to take in the 600+ of his paintings – the accident of shape, environment and the thoughts of hundreds of passers-by, brought together and translated into miniature art works.


Chewing Gum art by Ben Wilson

Abstract art on the Millenium Bridge by Ben Wilson

Pop Art Chewing Gum by Ben Wilson

Ben is an activist, beyond the legalities governing painting within a public space (the chewing gums remain under the ownership of the people who spat them out). He’s also been discretely placing his art works within the Tate Modern. Gallery spaces worldwide define what is, and isn’t, accepted and recognised as art – what belongs and what doesn’t. Ben believes his work has just as much a right to be in these curated spaces, as anywhere else. “Chewing gum art celebrates diversity of thought and diversity of action. Hopefully through my work I can promote more direct action on a grass roots level. More and more people feel out of control and I’m saying we can find creative solutions to make things happen in different ways.”

This was a guest post for Inspiring City by David Reeve. A kickstarter campaign has been launched to raise money for ‘Ben Wilson – The Millennium Bridge Trail’ a new book on his unique work. Click here to see the Kickstarter Campaign


Ben Wilson working on the Millenium Bridge

A selection of works on Chewing Gum by Ben Wilson

Chewing Gum art in the Turbine Hall in the Tate

Dotmasters Paints Giant Facade at Rubys Rooms on the St Leonards Seafront

Overlooking the English Channel and nestled amongst the grand Victorian buildings of the St Leonards promenade. One of the grand facades has had a different kind of paint job from street artist Dotmasters.

Known for his wall paper inspired patterned surfaces and his ‘rude kid’ characters. The mural extends across the entire frontage of the building, a hotel known as Rubys Rooms. It’s not quite what you expect to see in the area in terms of street art and it’s certainly noticeable.


Painted front by Dotmasters on the facade of Rubys Rooms in St Leonards

The artist has been spending a bit of time in the area recently. He has a solo exhibition just around the corner at the Stella Dore Gallery on Norman Road. There, his latest body of work can be seen. His mainly stenciled images poke fun at the world of consumerism. Images he then blends with his inspirations from the world of graffiti.

Working with the Stella Dore, the giant painted facade is a collaboration with them and Rubys Rooms. The gallery has operated in a number of guises over the years. Now settled in St Leonards it has its roots firmly in the urban art world. Working with the likes of Dotmasters for a number of years they have now brought him to the town with a bang.

Line Em Out‘ by Dotmasters exhibits at the Stella Dore Gallery on Norman Road in St Leonards from 26 July 2019 to 24 August 2019. The painted facade can be found on Rubys Rooms, 54 Eversfield Place. For more articles featuring the work of Dotmasters click here.

The Ruby Rooms


The Ruby Rooms with a facade painted by Dotmasters

The entrance to the Ruby Rooms with one of Domasters ‘Rude Kids’

The Ruby Rooms on Eversfield Place in St Leonards

Stella Dore Gallery – Line Em Out Exhibition


Rude Kid in the window of the Stella Dore Gallery

A hidden little piece from Dotmasters on the St Leonards seafont just in font of Warrier Square Gardens

Sylvia Pankhurst Suffragette Walking Tour in East London

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Bow was the headquarters of the East London Federation of the Suffragettes. Led by Sylvia Pankhurst, it was an offshoot of the ‘Women’s Social and Political Union’. Sylvia, the daughter of Emmeline and sister of Christabel, was a campaigner for more than just the vote. She opened a nursery, a cost-price restaurant and a co-operative toy factory.  All with view to try and improve the conditions of the women of the East End. One of the countries most deprived areas.

A vocal advocate for working class women. She also published a newspaper called the Woman’s Dreadnought. She often spoke out at venues across the East End, much to the ire of the authorities. Between 1913 and 1914 she was arrested eight times. On each occasion she would be forcibly fed, a brutal practice that left her physically shattered.

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