Matthew Whitney

walking lines, documenting paths

About | Bio


Matthew Whitney is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and pedestrian. He lives and works in Seattle, Washington, and enjoys going for walks with his family.

Process Statement:

My current work is comprised of personal cartographies: medium and large-scale drawings rooted in the everyday places we all occupy, share, and move through. My visual vocabulary consists of the use of line and shape in relation to urban maps, street grids, and shared places in the city. I am interested in place-making – attentiveness, noticing, recalling, and naming – as these practices spring from being present to oneself, to others, and to the environment around you. My projects manifest through drawing, painting, photography, collages, video interventions, walking performances, technological experiments, and in the facilitation of community walks.

I often begin projects by going for walks while utilizing smartphone GPS tracking, before moving into traditional drawing mediums. The walks, in combination with the software, give me the ability to represent a path via the recording of a digital line over this map, based on where I walk. Using this tool, I can write and draw not just by pen and paper, but also by recording my walking paths through a landscape. In other words, I am writing and drawing in the urban grid by the direct action of walking.

I am interested in the process of movement and the poetics of line, understood as a point moving through space. Movement is thought of as getting from point A to point B – be it in walking, riding the bus, gardening, making things, or even sitting still. It is within these spaces of everyday life that poetic agency for oneself can be generated, as a means to resist homogenizing forces. In contemporary culture we try to make this process of movement as brief as possible, under the paradigms of productivity. Through everyday rhythms, a metaphorical and spiritual power is generated – be it in walking, riding the bus, gardening, making things, or simply sitting still.