Bartal created the conceptual urban project The Walking Man (together with Ilan Goldstein) Upon his graduation from the Bezalel Academy Art in the early 1990’s. The on-going project (six years in total), began on the streets of Tel Aviv, with graffiti paintings and other street art installments, received wide exposure in the media – including a special weekly column in the leading local newspaper called Ha’eer (“the city”) – and culminated in a fake election campaign running The Walking Man as the mayor of Tel-Aviv. The project was presented in several exhibitions, including a sculpture ordered for the Tel Aviv Museum.
The project dealt with urban issues, emphasizing environmental protection, quality of life, parking, pollution and the relationship between the citizen and the ruling authorities. It contended with corporations and their aggressive advertising, the archaic art establishment and other social and economic issues.
The Walking Man icon was inspired by the modernist architectural environment that characterizes Tel Aviv, the city where Bartal grew up. It contained critical content which created a dialogue between public space and the community (new-urbanism). The project was considered to be a pioneering project of its kind in reference to the urban space as a medium of artistic expression. The content was consciously manipulative, and the project used a propagandistic style of mass communication.