When you move to a big city like London, you feel like you never get to see everything, and I love it! London is dynamic, it is always changing without erasing any traces from the past; it is one of those sites where past and present coexist perfectly. London itself is an open air art gallery with oodles of priceless gems. Every day famous and unknown artists add a piece to the relentlessly expanding puzzle. Today I want to show you some of the invisible and quirkiest ones.
5 UNUSUAL ARTWORKS IN LONDON
1. ARTISTIC CHEWING GUMS
I walked through the Millennium Bridge countless times and still couldn’t notice them. My attention was more focused on the majestic skyscrapers than the walking path itself. And if nobody had told me about it, how long would I have walked on that bridge without noticing them? Probably you are wondering what I am talking about.
On the ground of the Millennium Bridge there are hundreds, maybe thousands of tiny works of art. Ben Wilson, or better know as ‘The Chewing Gum Man’, is the artist behind these masterpieces. He used chewing gum waste and decorated them . He was arrested a few times but always managed to avoid any criminal-related labels. Each one is unique and carefully decorated. The next time you walk on the bridge look down instead of only looking up!
2. THE SMALLEST PUBLIC SCULPTURE
Believe it or not, the smallest sculpture in London is visible to the naked eye, but probably hard to notice if you don’t know the exact location. What is it? Two mice eating or better fighting for a piece of cheese. The story behind it? A remarkably sad one. Three carpenters were working on the building in Pudding Lane. At lunchtime one of them realised his sandwich was missing and blame the second one. The two started fighting animatamente to the point that the fight turned into a tragedy. The two men fell from the scaffolding and died. The real culprits? Two mice. And that’s why the third worker decided to create this sculpture, to remember his colleagues. This time look up and not down!
3. THE HIDDEN EARS
(Covent Garden and other unknown locations)
Has anybody ever told you that the ‘the walls have ears’. Well, in London it’s not only a common idiomatic expression but also an actual fact. The artist Tim Fishlock decided to make casts of his ears and stick them on the city’s wall. Let the hunt start! Two are hidden in Floral Street while the others… nobody knows! If you find one let me know!
4. THE HIDDEN NOSES
Before Fishlock, in 1997, the artist Rick Buckley is the mastermind behind these alternative form of art. To protest against the installation of CCTV cameras around London which in his opinion was becoming a sort of ‘Big Brother’, armed with a toothpaste tube of glue, he decided to reproduce his conk in manually-crafted sculptures to stick to London’s walls. The remaining ones are 7, all located in Soho, each one different from the other. Take the camera with you, explore the area and sniff around to find them!
5. THE TRAFFIC-LIGHT TREE
If you drive by, avoid any temptation to follow it! All joking aside, when it was erected on a roundabout in Canary Warf in 1998, it misled some car drivers. That’s why it was later moved. An undoubtedly original work of art, this tree was ‘planted’ where once there was a tree suffering from pollution-related consequences. Also in this case, it is a form of protest.
Whenever you have a moment, whether it is for a trustee hunt or a simple stroll, explore!