PEOPLE | At THNK, we are all about the type of out-of-the-box thinking that gives an entirely new meaning to something that we all thought we knew. Ben Wilson manages to do this in a small but very real way. He takes something that is an annoyance to many big city dwellers—pieces of gum that have been spat out on the pavement—and manages to transform it into something unexpected and positive, bringing a smile to people's faces.
The city of London has got its very own chewing gum artist known as the "chewing gum man", who creates miniature paintings on pieces of chewing gum that were left on the pavement by passers-by. "This is quite old, it's got no moisture in it", he positively evaluates a piece of gum. After heating up the gum with a burner to keep it from melting in the sun, he pulls out his colored paints and creates a little piece of art.
Chewing gum man Ben Wilson has created over 8,000 miniature paintings this way. His goal is to make something special out of something that people find disgusting, without making judgments about it. "We live in a very consumer-based society. If you take something that has been thrown away and turn it into something new, that's very exciting." He believes that people have a right to be creative in their immediate environment. And it is useful, too: when people have a sense of belonging to their immediate environment, they will be more responsible for it.