Sunday, April 24, 2011

I Am Violet Beauregarde: Confessions of a Gum Chewer!

"But it's repulsive, revolting and wrong,
Chewing and chewing all day long
The way that a cow does!"

- THE OOMPA LOOMPAS, those judgmental orange bastards

Friends -- and I consider anyone who reads this blog my close, personal friend -- I have a confession to make.

I am an addict.

Now, don't become alarmed. My addiction is legal, safe, and relatively inexpensive. You see, I am a compulsive gum chewer. Yes, yes, I know. It's a filthy and rude habit. But I try to be a tidy and respectful addict. I always carefully dispose of my gum wrappers. I never ever stick my chewed-up gum on the bottoms of desks or chairs. And my brand of choice is the benign Extra Sugarless (peppermint flavor), which even carries the American Dental Association seal of approval.

But make no mistake: I am not a casual gum chewer. While I'm at work, I chew pretty much all day, every day. I have a drawer in my workstation filled with packs of Extra Sugarless, and each week it has to be refilled. While I'm home, I mainly chew first thing in the morning and after meals and snacks.

Why do I do this? I suppose for the same reason that General Santa Anna, according to legend, gave his men chewing gum. It relaxes me, puts my mind at ease, and relieves stress and tension. In short, it helps me work. Speaking of Santa Anna and chewing gum, I've always wondered whether the infamous Alamo tour scene from Pee-wee's Big Adventure was intended as an "in joke." Notice that Jan Hooks takes a piece of gum out of her mouth immediately after saying the name "Santa Anna."

Anyway, like other kinds of addicts, I have used my dependency as an inspiration for my art. Below is my portrait of The Who, drawn in ball-point pen on Extra Sugarless gum wrappers.

The Who, drawn on gum wrappers. (artwork by Joe Blevins)


  1. I think gum wrapper portraits is going to make a huge splash in the art world.

    Question: what does your dentist say about your addiction? I assume you chew sugarless gum (because otherwise you'd have no teeth) but isn't the mouth not designed for such constant chewing?

  2. The gum is indeed sugarless, and I think if anything it's contributed to rather than detracted from my dental health. My dentist's main complaint is that I apparently grind my teeth in my sleep. I think without the gum I'd be grinding my teeth all day.

    As for gum wrapper art, a quick Google search mostly reveals art made FROM gum wrappers rather than drawn on gum wrappers. So I'm definitely a minority within a minority of the art community.

    P.S. - I'm writing this on my lunch and chewing gum right this second.