On Location: Seattle’s Gum Wall – Abstract Art or Janitor’s Worst Nightmare?
After a wonderful walk through lively Pike’s Place Market, my nieces were eager to show my family and I more Seattle sites. Outside the market place we went, and onto adjacent Post Alley. I see the dutiful graffiti and bills posted for this concert and that political message. It doesn’t take long though to get past the typical “alley” graffiti and come face to face with a janitor’s nightmare. Gum. Loads and loads of gum. Gum smeared inches deep in some parts. Plastered on the wall for all to enjoy.
My daughter’s expression sums up my initial feeling of Gum Alley as it is affectionately named. Eeeewww. To think how many mouths had been here, chewing away… to then only deposit it at will, and add to the collection.
At closer look, I begin to see that some folks have gotten creative with their gum. They’ve stretched it out to form letters or shapes, or make “cute” sayings. Some take the Robert Rauschenberg approach by collaging found objects into the gum. (Rauschenberg picked up trash and found objects on the streets of New York City to bring back to his studio and incorporate into his work.)
Hmmm, I start to think… is this disgusting ABC (already been chewed) gum wall actually art? Once home with my pictures and in front of my computer, I start to play. Sure enough, I’ve found this gum wall texture makes beautiful abstract art! Below are some samples of how gum can become fine art.
There are many gum walls around the world. I’m not quite sure the need for humans to pile there gum up for prosperity, but now with my new found techniques for turning something gross into what I think is rather fine art, I guess I won’t shy away from taking more pictures!
Have you ever left behind your gum on a gum wall?