This assignment, in which we will use painting to illustrate our personal data, is inspired by the Dear Data project created by Georgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec.


  1. Read through the book, Dear Data, located in the painting studio and on the reserve shelf in the library. Also, visit  the website,
  2. Choose one thing in your daily life about which you will gather data for one week.  Examples from the book include things like the number of complaints you speak and receive, the sounds you hear around you, the number of times you say thank you, etc. 
  3. Record the data for one week. You can choose to record the data in any format you’d like–in your sketchbook, on your phone, etc. 
  4. Create a painting that visually represents your data. We’ll brainstorm ways of doing this in class. 
  5. Write a reflective blog post about this project. Post an image of your finished paintings. Reflect on what you chose to collect data about and why.  What did you learn about yourself during the week of data collection?  How did you record the data?  How did you develop your ideas for your painting?  Your choices of visual imagery?  You might also want to include process photos, images of  your data collection sketches, charts or spreadsheets. For further guidelines, refer to the blog post assignment sheet handed out earlier in the semester.  

In conjunction with this project, watch this interview with artist Vija Celmins:

While Celmins is not painting data visualizations, her work does present a different way of seeing that which is mundane and ubiquitous. Reflect on the statement, “I’m leaving out the comet because I can’t stand an event that exciting in there.” Reflect on the roles of process and time in her work.  About her process, she states that at some point, the “image begins to have a sort of memory in it.”  How can this idea of building memory through process intersect with the act of gathering data?

“Dear Data” Paintings
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