Painting BFA

William Blake
Julian Pahre
Langston Allston
Vivian Le
Veronica Pham
Jessica Rojas
Heather Gode

The Painting Program provides a course of study that fosters the development of students’ individual interests, with an emphasis on concept and innovation, critical thinking skills, familiarity with current art theory and practice, and visual and cultural literacy, as well as professional skills and habits that allow students to establish a unique, self-directed studio practice.

All of this is within the context of a premier research university that provides a broad range of educational experiences that promotes writing and language skills, and provides access to STEM fields, social sciences, and design practices.

At the Sophomore level, Painting majors are introduced to the materials, concepts, representational strategies and techniques in Painting and Drawing, and guided in the understanding of mark-making, color theory, pictorial design, and perception as they develop their individual interests. Students also experiment with a variety of materials in order to explore and understand strategies for expressing meaning as they gain knowledge and familiarity in the use of the wide variety of materials that are part of contemporary art.

As Juniors and Seniors, students are introduced to recent and current theories of art and culture while they develop verbal and written skills leading to the BFA Thesis and Thesis Exhibition. Students develop a self-directed studio practice in their own studio spaces, housed in a communal studio building, while they have access to a diverse faculty with expertise in a wide variety of conceptual, material and technical strategies for making art, including traditional Painting and Drawing, installation art, 3-D and Sculpture, and other strategies taught in the School of Art and Design.  The studio situation provides the basis for a strong, vibrant community of student-artists working together as they establish their interests.

The mission of the Painting Program is to foster students’ growth into working artists with an understanding of the professional art world that will prepare them for advanced study in studio art, for careers in museums, galleries, arts agencies, as critics and theorists, and as professional studio artists.


At the School of Art + Design, we're eager to help you develop into a unique artist. Our facilities include group studios, individual studios (for juniors and seniors), and large common spaces for collaborative projects, installations, and critiques. You also have access to woodshops, technology labs, the archives of the Krannert Art Museum, and the collection of the Ricker Library of Architecture and Art. The aesthetic and conceptual interests of our professors include:

  • Representational painting
  • Experimental painting
  • Abstract painting
  • Multimedia painting
  • Installations
  • Sculpture
  • Digital media
  • Photography
  • Internet-based art
  • Public art

Curriculum Requirements

The curriculum in painting provides you extensive training in preparation for professional practice as an artist. The curriculum combines painting courses with Art + Design foundation courses, art history courses, electives, and general education units required by the university.

Painting degree requirements are listed under the College of Fine and Applied Arts on the University of Illinois Programs of Study website.

Meet Painting faculty