detail of Untitled (Walking Book 14, 2201 S. Union, 3rd Floor, Chicago, IL), 2008
Stan Shellabarger is an artist who walks or, rather, he is a walking artist—that is, walking is his art. He records his walking activities not with pen and map nor strewn breadcrumbs, but by attaching graphite or sandpaper to his soles and making contact with paper laid down in his path. He follows a planned route, albeit a brief one: a staircase, or a stretch of sidewalk. Back-and-forth repetition is key. The resulting paper reveals either a smeary frottage of silvery graphite or a patterned tread of holes, depending on which implement Shellabarger wears on his feet. The paper is proof of contact with the world.