22 Art Assignments

If you feel inclined to do any of these, please do. Share your results with me by emailing malenamaggi(at)live(dot)com.

1. Make a device for recording pure consciousness. Do not buy any materials. Only use things you already have around your house. Have a friend snap a picture of you using your device.

2. Pick an action typically associated with food preparation and apply it to an inedible material. For example, julienne a log. Try the reverse too (take an action typically associated with an inedible material and apply it to food. For example, weave a lanyard out of spaghetti). 

3. Go outside and find a shadow that is more than twice as big as you. For 15 minutes, continually trace the perimeter of the shadow as fast as you possibly can without making mistakes. Each time you make it around the perimeter, switch colors. Use whatever substance you like to trace the perimeter, but the colors must match the Pantone fashion report of the current season. 

4. A meteor is about to strike the earth and obliterate it. A rescue vessel is waiting for you and your loved ones to board. You have already packed your bags with all your survival gear, clothing, etc. You have 15 minutes to collect your most precious belongings, which you will bring with you to a new world. Set a timer for 15 minutes and collect these belongings. Take a photograph of them and write down what they are and why they are important to you. Don’t type, use your handwriting. 

This piece will be displayed as a collection of photos with accompanying texts. 

5. Use a ruler and compass to draw a diagram that explains nothing. After you’ve drawn it, hand it to a friend and have them write down what it means. 

6. Take the lens off of a digital camera so there’s no way to focus. Point the camera towards the most colorful areas of your home. You’re getting somewhere when you think you’ve seen a ghost. Get the pictures printed 4x6 borderless, 4 copies of each image. Arrange the prints like a puzzle. 

7. Start a business inspired by the plot of one of your favorite movies. If you don’t know how or think you can’t, even better. The point is figuring it out.

8. Pick your favorite divination device or invent one. Use it to guide your hand as you draw a composition in cyan, magenta and yellow.

9. On a beautiful scrap of paper, handwrite a quote that inspires you. Mail it to a random address. Do not include your name or return address. 

10. Make a list of links to the most wondrous things you find on the internet. Translate each link into a QR code. Get these codes made into stickers. Keep them with you and apply them to something when the time and place feels right.

9. Think of something you’ve always wanted to learn how to do. Become an expert by watching YouTube videos. Make something that demonstrates what you’ve learned. 

10. Make a time capsule containing samples of the most cutting-edge materials of your day and age. Bury it for 20 years. 

11. Put on a biohazard suit and grab a rake. Go to Keller Beach in Point Richmond and use the rake to recreate a Sol Lewitt drawing in the sand. If you can be bothered, take an aerial photograph of your drawing. 

12. Think of the most stressful environment that you encounter on a frequent basis. Install a hammock there and attempt to take a nap. 

13. Ask 30 different children to demonstrate the silliest exercise they can think of. Learn their exercises and make a 15 minute exercise video. You must wear a leotard in the video. 

Now once more with feeling and call it modern dance. 

14. Dress in drag and perform a cover of Carlos Gardel’s Volver. This could be a video.

15. Form an all-girl band and recreate Marc Bolan’s 1971 music video for Life’s a Gas ( 

16. Make an Etsy store that sells imperceptible conceptual art. Put a free shipping banner on each listing icon. Price each item at $1 million. Announce a coupon code for 99.9999% off. 

17. Travel around the country and photograph roadside memorials. Make a coffee table book. 

18. Interview 20 children who have recently learned to talk. Ask them to tell you a story about who and where they were before they were born. Record the audio. 

19. Bring a shovel to the lawn adjacent to the Mills College physical education building. Dig up the shape of a compass rose, aligned with true north. Replace the dug up grass with the softest moss or clover you can find. Walk barefoot on the compass once a day. 

Take the dug up grass over to the labyrinth by the Mills College chapel. Fill in the gravel area with grass.

20. Think of a deceased public figure who you greatly admire. Now think of a loved one who has passed. Imagine the two of them meeting. Write down their conversation. Now introduce your loved one to the spirit of someone who they greatly admired. How would that conversation go? Write it down. 

21. Open a pop up shop in Berkeley called the TMI Bar. Every item for sale in the shop must be accompanied by a dissertation on the origins of its materials, its health properties and the socio-political-ecological implications of the manufacturing and purchase of such a product. This is giving the people what they want, right?

22. Make an alternative map of the night sky. Connect the dots differently to make your own constellations. Assign each one a name and a magic power. Develop a new astrological chart based on this activity. Write a horoscope for people born under your constellations.

Malena Lopez-Maggi

Studio shots by Oakland Art Enthusiast

Mills College Open Studios

December 2013