Chewing over the benefits of gum art

People just don't know how to have fun any more.

Since appearing in this newspaper last month, Ben Wilson, the Barnet artist who has taken to painting chewing gum which has been spat onto the pavement, has become something of a celebrity.

Last week the BBC cameras were shooting him in High Street Barnet, and he has also appeared in the Evening Standard and on BBC Radio all as a result of being featured in this newspaper.

He has acquired quite a cult following, and he told Between the Lines that people have been stopping by and making requests, giving him subjects to paint on the gum.

So far he has done cups of tea, elephants and women in bikinis, and has been applauded by many people for trying to turn something ugly into something artistic.

But at the Chipping Barnet Area Forum on Wednesday, there was one dissenting voice. As the meeting came to a close one woman said: "Just one last point, about the man painting on the chewing gum. Surely this is defacing the pavement. He'd be better off spending his time picking it up than painting on it."

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