The BA and BFA in Studio Art offer a student-initiated path through a variety of studio art course offerings. Students may choose a general concentration in studio art, allowing them to use an array of studio practices from different disciplines, or to accumulate media-specific credits leading to concentrations in painting, sculpture, printmaking, or new media. Concentrations will be noted on the student’s transcript and degree, indicating material expertise and qualification for discipline-specific employment or advanced study.
First year courses introduce basic materials and conceptual approaches to making art, using traditional media including drawing and painting, printmaking, clay, plaster, wood and metal, as well as new strategies, including coding, digital imaging, interactive media, and time-based applications. By incorporating new and traditional strategies and technologies students will understand visual organization and communication in 2D (artworks in two dimensions, such as drawing, painting or printmaking), 3D (artworks in three dimensions, such as sculpture and installation), and 4D (artworks of a time-based nature, such as, video and performance art).
BA and BFA Studio Art students are provided with individual studio spaces housed in a communal studio building, where they pursue a self-selected studio practice. This setting provides a strong, vibrant community of student-artists working together as they establish their focus and participate in exhibitions, performances, and critiques.
Studio Art graduates will enter professional lives as artists at a time when the boundaries between art and other fields are vanishing. Creative individuals with broad and versatile material, technical and intellectual skills will be in demand within expanding diverse practices that comprise contemporary art and society.
Bachelor of Art Studio Art (BASA)
The Bachelor of Art Studio Art (BASA) is designed to offer students rigorous education in studio (or fine) art while permitting them the time to pursue studies in other areas, with a major part of the educational experience occurring in areas outside studio art. The BASA focuses on the study of art, design, and art history in the context of a broader program of general study offered by the diverse research and teaching activities across the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign campus. Students choose from courses that will lead to concentrations in Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Printmaking, New Media, or (general) Studio Art.
Graduates of this program will be better prepared to pursue multi-disciplinary careers in a variety of industries which make use of artistic skills including visual literacy, creativity, and image- or object-making skills, including museum display studios, motion picture special effects studios, video gaming production companies, animation studios, private art studios (their own or others’) and print shops.
The advanced BA Studio Art student can look forward to a changing menu of courses on a variety of topics, taught by a diverse faculty with expertise in a wide variety of conceptual, material and technical strategies for making art. The BA Studio Art’s curriculum offerings are designed to reflect an increasingly dynamic culture and provide students with experiences and skills that promote adaptability after graduation.
Bachelor of Fine Arts Studio Art (BFASA)
The Bachelor of Fine Art Studio Art (BFASA) differs from the BASA in that it accommodates students wishing to continue study in the studio arts, allowing for a “deep-dive” into upper-level research and making courses within a dynamic, innovative, broad-interest curriculum. Graduates of this program will be prepared to pursue careers as independent studio artists who make original and unique works of creative art for exhibition in arts institutions such as galleries and museums. They will be prepared for advanced study in Studio Art MFA programs. They will also be prepared to pursue multi-disciplinary careers in a variety of industries which make use of artistic skills including visual literacy, creativity, and image- or object-making skills, including museum display studios, motion picture special effects studios, video gaming production companies, animation studios, private art studios (their own or other’s) and print shops.
The BFASA offers students unprecedented flexibility in determining their own courses and topics of study while engaging in a diverse, innovative, research-oriented curriculum. In response to a rapidly changing world in which artists and designers are constantly presented with new tools, platforms, topics, strategies and venues for exhibition, publication, performance and other types of cultural work, the BFA in Studio Art prepares students for the workplaces of the future. This degree is designed to equip graduates with the skills necessary to not only create artwork, but to communicate, think critically and creatively, and gain experience in a broad range of topics that will prepare them as innovative artists and as global citizens. Students will navigate a dynamic curriculum that is responsive to current trends in art, culture and creativity. It encourages new, interdisciplinary initiatives and fosters collaboration and research at the undergraduate level within the context of a premier research university.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts experience culminates in two capstone courses, in which students will determine a unique project developed from their entire educational experience. From these courses, the BFA Studio Art student will develop a thesis paper to document and create a narrative of their research activities and artistic projects as well as demonstrate their ability to clearly articulate the themes, concepts and position of their work in the context of the contemporary art world. A finished portfolio of visual work will demonstrate their material, formal, technical and expressive abilities
Students in the BASA and BFASA who choose a concentration in General Studio Art may select from the entire menu of course offerings available in the Studio Art fields, including Painting, Sculpture, New Media, Printmaking, Ceramics, and Fashion Design courses, for a truly custom experience that offers broad exposure to a wide variety of art-making materials and strategies.
Students in the BASA and BFASA who choose a Painting concentration will pursue a course of study that begins with rigorous instruction in traditional Drawing and Painting materials, methods, techniques, and concepts, and proceeds to encourage a diversity of experimental and multi-disciplinary approaches to Painting as a field with a complex and culturally influential history. Students are guided in the understanding of mark-making, color theory, composition, pictorial analysis, and visual perception as they develop their individual interests. At the advanced levels, students may choose to focus on Painting as a distinct genre with an important place in contemporary art, or to explore the expanding set of drawing- and painting-related practices, such as comix and graphic novels, character development, and 2D public and community-based art, among other topics, both established and developing. Specialized courses taught by Painting faculty, as well as electives across the School of Art and Design and across campus, permit students to enrich their educational experiences, seek out knowledge and expertise in a vast variety of fields, and develop their unique artistic identities and vision.
Students in the BASA and BFASA who choose a concentration in Sculpture will focus on methods and concepts related to three-dimensional art, form-making, and expanded spatial practices. Contemporary sculpture practice is informed by multiple modes of ideation, making and fabrication, and utilizes a dynamic and ever-expanding set of tools, materials, techniques and approaches. The outcomes are endlessly varied, from the most traditional to the wildly experimental, in scope, scale and content. The Sculpture concentration allows students to explore the multitude of art making options available, by encouraging individual growth, collaborative engagement, and collective accomplishments.
Courses in sculpture introduce students to a variety of materials and fabrication methods with explorations in three dimensional form, concepts and ideation, including wood fabrication, mold making and casting, and metal fabrication and welding. Advanced courses allow for more independent practice, and encourage a more singular approach to the use of materials and methodologies, ensuring students develop their own unique path via elective courses in ceramics, fiber and soft sculpture, experimental fashion, time-based practices, video, photography, and special topic courses and seminars. We offer experiences in a variety of classrooms and shops designed to support an expansive material practice, including well-equipped wood-shops, ceramic studios, plaster and casting rooms, welding and cold metal fabrication, small-scale foundry, sewing and fiber, and digital output technologies including 3D printers, water jet and laser cutting, CNC machining, vacuum-forming, digital imaging, and sound and video editing.
A New Media concentration provides an opportunity for students in the BASA and BFASA degree programs to pursue sustained study in art forms that include time-based media, performance, digital imaging, and coding-based practices. New Media courses incorporate established and emerging technologies in the service of art-making that looks to the history of art as well as to contemporary intersections between art, design and community engagement. Students can expect to gain working knowledge in a core set of forms that include digital imaging, video, coding, and interactive technologies, along with an understanding of the conceptual and historical context in which these forms exist. As students advance, they will build on this core knowledge by developing and following individual interests in advanced courses that include both technical instruction and topic-focused explorations. Students will be able to take courses across the School of Art & Design and the broader campus to further pursue experiences in other disciplines and areas of inquiry that can contribute to a personal artistic trajectory.
A concentration in Printmaking offers students in the BASA and BFASA the opportunity to study a wide range of traditional, photographic, and digital printmaking methods that engage with contemporary art and design fields. Courses provide instruction in screenprint, letterpress, comics and zines, relief printing, intaglio, lithography, and other rotating special topics. Instruction begins with a focus on mark-making, color theory, composition, and the unique role of the printed image in visual culture, from its invention to present-day. At every level, students are challenged to develop critical thinking skills, visual and cultural literacy, and a familiarity with current art theory and practice. At the intermediate and advanced levels, students are introduced to the laser cutter, CNC router, and Risograph printer as a means to incorporate digital typography and design elements into their studio work alongside traditional drawing practices. Interdisciplinarity is encouraged as students hone their conceptual interests and develop a personal body of creative work. Students may focus in contemporary fine art printmaking, or related areas within the expanded field of print media such as poster design, print as sculpture/installation/performance, book arts, comics, community engagement, and more. Individual research interests are supported by access to elective courses across campus. Ongoing instruction, and the option to participate in national and regional printmaking conferences and events through the Noble Print Club, teach students the professional skills and habits to establish a unique, self-directed studio practice.
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
- Digital media
- Internet-based art
- Public art