Graffiti comes in so many different forms. On a brick wall in an alleyway I often walk by in Needham, MA I always find a number of messages written with gum. At first I found this perplexing but after some time I became intrigued by the concept and couldn’t help snapping a few photos.
The messages on this wall are simple and sparse for now but after some research into gum graffiti and gum art I’m able to recognize that this may be the beginning of something potentially big and interesting.
BIGGER AND MORE INTERESTING
And here are some bigger and more interesting items I found to share with you:
Under Juliet’s Balcony in Verona, Italy you’ll find a wall covered with thousands of love letters and gum.
Londoner Ben Wilson creates tiny works of art by painting over the gum left behind by others. You can watch him work in this Youtube video.
“Kids are not allowed to feel any connection with where they live … The only imagery that children see around them are billboards and TV; every part of their environment is out of bounds or sold off. That’s why they don’t care about their streets. This is a small way of connecting people.”
Ben Wilson, from The Observer
There are other ways to work with gum in public; some are discovered accidentally and some just…happen. Like Bubblegum Alley in San Luis Obispo, California which has been ongoing (aside from a few cleanings) since the 1950s, and The Gum Wall in downtown Seattle which is said to house gum measuring several inches thick (Two fun facts: 1) A scene for Jennifer Anniston’s film Love Happens (2009) was shot at the wall. 2) The Gum Wall has been ranked as #2 of the world’s top 5 germiest attractions by TripAdvisor. Ireland’s Blarney Stone is #1).
Some people might be turned off by this practice of marking an outdoor space with a piece of rubber slathered with an individual’s DNA but just think how gum-free the ground must be for blocks around! And the work can be quite beautiful and artistic- you might even describe it as sticky pointillism.
Jamie Marraccini has been creating interesting gum sculptures for over 20 years.
Maurizio Savini is an Italian artist who makes sculptures from fibreglass and pink chewing gum.
Author Ruth Spiro wrote a book called Lester Fizz, Bubble-Gum Artist, about a boy who creates artful bubbles. Spiro is the founder of Bubble Gum Day: Every student who donates $.50 or more gets to chew gum in school for the day and proceeds go to any charity the school chooses. I can’t think of any teacher who wouldn’t put up with the sounds of chewing and popping for a day and get behind this.*
And that’s just some of the gum graffiti and gum art going on in the world. Got any cool gum links to share?
*Except for my 7th grade English teacher, Ms. Rieser, who, from what I was told by my fellow gum-chewers, would inexplicably cry whenever she smelled grape bubble gum. So naturally, most students showed up daily chewing grape bubble gum.