A Walking Artist
I describe myself as ‘a walking artist’. Walking art is the bringing together of two entirely separate activities, walking and art.
I transform ideas into experienced realities. If I do not make a walk I cannot make any art.
I am an artist who walks, not a walker who makes art. Not every artist enjoys walking and not every walker is tolerant of contemporary art.
An artwork may be purchased, but my walks cannot be sold, stolen or re-produced by artificial intelligence. An artwork cannot re-present the experience of a walk.
My walks range from multi-week solo camping treks to short communal urban walks involving up to several hundred participants.
Every piece of art I materialise contains a walk text. I make art exclusively from walks that I have personally experienced.
When the walk has been completed, the text can be written. The facts of the walk cannot be altered, but as time passes the walks may be re-evaluated and re-contextualised.
When I say that ‘the walk is the art’, I simply mean that ‘the walk’ is my contribution to contemporary art.
‘A walk’ may exist purely as a walk, but the ‘artwork’ cannot be created without the walk.
Walks are facts for the walker and fiction for everyone else.
Walking Art. Neither of these two words specify an art medium, thereby suggesting openness and potential.
Walking is the connecting experience for a wide range of concerns and disciplines. Slowness. Slow transport, health, meditation, protest, escape, pilgrimage, ritual, dance, art… walking is magic.
Although I made my first ‘artwalk’ with other students in 1967, it took me a further six years of trial and error to arrive at a total commitment to walking. In 1973, after completing one coast to coast walk of just over a thousand miles, I made the single most important decision of my creative life: To Make Art Resulting Only From The Experience Of Individual Walks. A Decision To Choose Only Walking.
Inupiat Arranda Dongria Quechua Arapaho Huichol… Dzambha The Seven Stars. Oceti Sakowin… ‘For The Seventh Generation’. In 2019, it is the indigenous peoples of the world who may guide us to a more respectful relationship with what they call Mother Earth.
As we look down into our iPhones we simultaneously reject non-human ‘life’ forms.
There is more than just one story to be told. Since the 1970’s, art historians have categorised me as a Land Artist. From my side, as a symbolic gesture of respect for nature, I wish no association with any art form that intentionally re-organises the surface of the land, and introduces natural objects into the international art market.
‘THE RIGHTS OF NATURE.’ Regarding the question of how to relate to the land, my disagreement is with the limited attitudes of art historians, not the freedom and creativity of artists.
Land art contradicts walking art. My art begins with walking, not the history of gardening.
My restraint in the use of art materials is merely symbolic, it would be hypocritical for me to think otherwise.
Walking into the distance beyond imagination.
Walks are like clouds, they come and go. In my memory nowhere to be seen.
All my walks are related, from the first to the most recent.
— Hamish Fulton, 2019
All installation shots by hiepler, brunier,