‘Pete deserves it:' Artist pays tribute to Pete Carroll with mural on Seattle's gum wall

A local artist paid tribute to Pete Carroll on Seattle’s iconic gum wall in Post Alley after it was announced that the infamous gum-chewer would be stepping down as head coach for the Seahawks.

"I’m such a big fan of Pete Carroll," said artist Rudy Willingham. "I'm also a big fan of using unexpected material to make art."

Photo from Rudy Willingham

In an Instagram post, Willingham said he used more than 150 pieces of gum to create an image of Carroll on the gum wall this past Friday.

"It was a lot more gum than I expected and it took a lot more time to chew it than I was anticipating. My jaw was sore for like three or four days. I couldn’t taste anything for a couple of days afterward" he said.  

His art supplies consisted of Juicy Fruit, Bubble Yum, Double Mint, and Bubble Tape.

"I hope it wasn’t over $100," he joked. "But Pete deserves it. I wouldn’t spend $100 on gum on just anyone."

So, why use gum as an artistic medium?

Carroll was well-known for his gum-chewing on the sidelines throughout his tenure as the Seahawks’ head coach. Willingham clearly took that to heart with his masterpiece.

"I used to think it was so funny how much gum he would be smacking on the sidelines," Willingham said. "I just made the connection between all the gum he would chew and so it was two Seattle icons coming together."

People admit the mural in Post Alley is unique. Whether it resembles Pete Carroll, much like art, is subjective.

"Pete would say this is awesome," said onlooker Chris Bloomberg. "He would bring the enthusiasm and the optimism. He’d be really happy about it, he knows Seattle loves him."

As for the artist, he admits the mural is different. He just hopes the man behind the inspiration can appreciate the effort.

"Hopefully he likes it," Willingham joked." "He might say that’s completely disgusting and beautiful at the same time."