Douglas Coupland – Gumhead

Date: 06/2014 Category:

Design:  Douglas Coupland

Client:  Vancouver Art Gallery

Place:  Vancouver Art Gallery

Materials:  Steel, milled foam, resin, gum










A milled foam sculpture of an artist’s head – coated and publically displayed for gum disposal.





Artist Douglas Copeland describes his 7-foot tall self-portrait as “a gum-based, crowd sourced, publically interactive, self-portrait.” Visitors to the Vancouver Art Gallery and local traffic are encouraged to apply their own chewed gum to the Gumhead sculpture thus creating a completely new and exciting piece of art that will evolve over time.

Copeland’s Gumhead started as a 3D model that was created using two basic elements: a laser scanner and Douglas’ head. After the laser scanner created a malleable 3D model, it was sent to Heavy in a digital file so our designers could format and scale the model accordingly to the required shape and size of the sculpture. Our designers scaled the model several times its original size and arranged the head into 17 different pieces. The obstruction of the head into smaller pieces allowed our milling department to work with sizes that were practical for our CNC machine. The 17 pieces were then milled out of T1 foam and arranged on a structural steel frame to construct the finished foam head.

After the Gumhead was arranged from the foam components it was sent to our coating department where it received a poly consolidation coating for durability and a paint job for aesthetic. After coating, Gumhead was shipped to the Vancouver Art Galleryand installed for Douglas Coupland’s summer exposition. The steel structure it was installed on takes into account the presence of seismic activity – so, if any earthquakes rumble Vancouver, Gumhead will remain undamaged and faceted to the ground.