Greg Hindy is breaking his silence.
The 23-year-old Yale graduate has just completed a year-long trek from New Hampshire to California. As part of a performance art project, he took photos along the way and didn’t speak a word.
Now, just weeks after his June 9 arrival in Murietta, California, Hindy is sharing the lessons learned and insights gained. And he’s walking home.
Given the condition of his feet, it comes as a surprise.
“I can no longer walk barefoot across a hard surface without pain, and this has been the case the entire year,” Hindy said in an email interview with NBC Connecticut. “The pavement hurts.”
But Hindy said the decision to walk back was less a choice and more a compulsion. It came to him while trudging through Washington state. As the wind whipped his face, he turned his attention inward.
“I went deep into the cracks of my mind, where daydreams are more real than senses, and it was there that I found out that I am supposed to walk back,” Hindy explained. “I cannot honestly remember the events that led to my decision to walk back, except that it was so certain and obvious a decision that it did not seem to be a choice.”
So again, he will walk. But this time, he’ll take a more northerly, direct route and will have the help of modern technology. He’s on the road how heading to Denver and his return trip will again be documented on Facebook.
As for his photographs, Hindy said they are more personal.
“I have a lot of work to do,” he said. “I’ve only just started in photography!”
His images depict people, places and whatever else “made [him] stop and take a second look, and then a third, and then a fourth” and then finally drop his gear and press the shutter.
While Hindy has no immediate plans to display them, he’ll develop the photos upon his return and will send prints to people who helped him along the way. Hindy said it’s his way of saying “thank you.”
His walk is the real exhibition, the public art form, along with the “before” and “after” video compilation he released last week, which have been on display to “an audience on the American road,” Hindy said.
“My process is focused as much on shaping the mind behind the lens as the light coming in through the lens,” he explained.
Hindy said his walk was not about the challenges, tests or moments of fear. In a sense, to focus on the magnitude of the task is to miss the point.
“It was not about the difficulty, shock value or long duration, those concepts miss the point and are distracting,” he wrote. “I walked in silence because it was beautiful. … Anybody who can walk, can walk anywhere, and it will be good for them, like medicine you cannot buy.”
He’ll keep his long hair and scruffy beard for the return trip, which his father Carl Hindy says helps him “fit in more with the people of the road.” What happens is to be determined. Greg Hindy said his goals are more internal than anything.
“As I move forward, my goals as an artist are to be more humble, selfless and patient. But I am young, I have time,” he said. “This project has been a good start because it helped me to find those goals in the first place. And it has helped me to begin to work towards them as well.”
When he arrives, Greg Hindy says he’ll spend time with his photographs, remembering and observing, and take the time to figure out his next step.
“This project has taught me that I want for nothing more than to make artwork. And, I want nothing more from my artwork than to have the resources to make more artwork, and to have an [effect] on the way people think (even if tiny),” he said.