Drawing Baltimore With a Bicycle
Armed with a smartphone, a maps app and an appetite for urban exploration, a driven middle school science teacher pioneers a quirky new form of digital art.
Illustration by Hallie Bateman
Four miles in, Michael Wallace knew he had a problem. Biking around a city is an annual summer ritual for Wallace, who has lived in the southwest Baltimore neighborhood of Canton for the last twelve years. During a typical day, he might ride anywhere between ten and twenty miles up and down main streets, through alleyways and across parks. He’s sure of where he’s going. He rarely makes mistakes. But on this day in late May 2012, Wallace messed up, and a person lost his shoulder in the process.
Fortunately, it was just a matter of rearranging some pixels.
Since 2010, Michael Wallace has been known in Baltimore’s streets as WallyGPX. Part cyclist, part artist, Wallace digitally traces sketches he draws himself, using a mountain bike, a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, a pair of apps and the power of global positioning system. Wallace’s phone records his ride as he pedals the same course he has previously hand drawn on a map, the result being a dark line of his rout…
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