Old chewing gum that gets stuck on the sidewalks is pretty hard to be removed. Dropped unconsciously, these white spots form an uneven pattern throughout our cities. It costs quite some money to clean the streets from unwanted gum each year. Ben Wilson had a better idea. The English wood carver and street artist developed a sort of Make-up concept for that issue. Very patiently he paints flat chewing gum spots with all kinds of motives, creating small pieces of art everywhere. By now Wilson has painted more than 10,000 pieces of discarded gum in various cities in Europe. He even paints motives on request and while working and lying on the ground with his equipment, he attracts a great deal of attention with people passing by crowding around him. Benson was arrested once during his work, but soon released because he is not damaging anyone’s property with his art. Actually he is just painting on rubbish. His initiative derives from a strong aversion to unnecessary waste.
An original way of embellishing the streets with very detailed artwork. You should take a look yourself. Check Ben Wilson’s gallery of chewing gum art on flickr.
Together with the German Street art collective Mentalgassi and the advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy, Amnesty International initiated a series of street art actions in several European cities as part of their ‘Making the Invisible Visible’ campaign. Posters of six individuals who became victims of human rights abuse were cut in thin stripes and taped to the sides of fence railings or bridges. The faces only become visible from a certain angle, if you look at them from the front on view the faces cannot be detected.
This very creative, yet political way of portraying individuals like Fatima Hussein Badi, Jabbar Savalan and Natalya Estemirova raised a lot of awareness and hopefully helps to support the ones who were persecuted, murdered or are convicted of crimes they didn’t commit. Next to the posters are plaques with the Amnesty International website that call upon people who pass by to go to their website and take action.
Take a look at the impressive video of the campaign
Recently, a few new, consume-critical works by the famous street-artist Banksy popped up in the streets. With a mix of smooth irony and dark sarcasm, he’s irritating the consumer masses and those who are persuading them.. “Sorry, the lifestyle that you ordered is currently out of stock”.
Meanwhile, Banksy has become one of the most popular contemporary artists, his works are sold for hundred thousands of euros and his stencil icons used or copied in advertising, fashion and trend forecast blogs.
We’re living in a time where critical consumerism is an integral part of an urban intellectual creative socially-aware hipster lifestyle in which we like a consumer-bashing Banksy artwork on facebook and next day go shopping some cool new must-have-trousers. Where we support #occupywallstreet with our tweets and meanwhile keep our money flowing at the same old banks.
Maybe Banksy actually means the global mind of crisis is pushing some of the most posh swimming-pool-on-my-rooftop lifestyles to be out, out, out…
Or maybe just provoked: “even my well-receipted radical punk-ass got sold on auctions, but as long as walls eat my graffiti people buy my art and I keep getting more famous.” It’s nothing more then the best pop-art artists like Andy Warhol have created us: a post-consumer consumer-culture built on it’s own ironic icons. That’s in line with the Kate Moss portrait by Banksy in Warhol-style. And it might just be in your digital shopping wagon tomorrow!