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Artist Creates Sculptures from His Own Chewed Nicotine Gum

Slovak artist David Havetta has created a collection of unique sculptures from thousands of nicotine gum pieces he chewed himself, while trying to give up smoking.
The 65-year-old artist says he started smoking as a young boy, but decided to quit about 25 years ago, so he searched for alternatives to keep him busy and away from cigarettes. At one point he discovered nicotine gum, but had no idea it will eventually become the main medium of his unique art. During work, David started sticking the chewed up pieces of gum on a pen holder he had in his office until he formed one big lump. When he pressed his finger on it he noticed it was good, malleable material, so he decided to try and sculpt it, out of boredom.
Havetta’s first chewing gum artwork was the head of a woman, and he liked working with the material so much that he spent the next few months creating a body for it, as well. It took a lot of time and a total of 500 pieces of nicotine gum, but for the artist it was all worth it. Just so you realize how long it takes to make one of his nicotine gum sculptures, you should know David has only created a few dozens of them in the last twenty years. They include a horse, flowers and even an old table clock modeled after The Toilet of Venus by Diego Velasquez. They are all made of hundreds, sometimes thousands of pieces of gum.



David Havetta explains it’s difficult to estimate how long it takes to create one of his chewy masterpieces. It depends a lot on how many pieces of gum he chews through. Usually it’s just one a day, but sometimes more when he’s on vacation. It’s a slow process because the gum has to be chewed really well, otherwise the sugar it contains crystallizes and makes the gum unusable. Then again, chewing on it for long periods of time shrinks the piece of gum, so he needs a lot of time to build up supplies. Apparently, after many years the gum becomes very hard, similar to marble, but also very fragile.


Havetta, plans to sell his chewed up gum sculptures, and says he’s available for custom works, as well.




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