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Visual Arts Courses

These are the courses currently being offered in the Visual Arts program at TCNJ. Click on the course name to open its description.

AAV 101 – Experiencing Art

Three four-week modules that explore different media and different goals in the process of making and looking at art: 1) two dimensional; 2) three dimensional; and 3) digital imaging.  The curriculum will be introductory in nature, offering a conceptual explanation of and hands-on experience with fundamental concerns of understanding and creating works of art.  Students will be rotated through the different modules.  In each module, they will be presented with a theoretical context and receive instruction and practice in each.

Offered occasionally.

AAV 102 – Visual Thinking

Visual Thinking initiates investigation into current forms of artistic production.  At the heart of Visual Thinking lies the question “What is Art?” Visual Thinking challenges the traditional status of the art object as product and refocuses artistic creativity in the process of art making, the ideas invoked and the meaning of cultural production. Among the approaches to art making that will be researched and put into practice will be the readymade, public intervention, performance and ephemeral works, language and the use of signifiers.

Typically offered fall and spring semesters.

AAV 111 – Drawing

The purpose of the course is to cultivate the student’s ability to express ideas visually and to develop confidence in drawing a variety of subjects with diverse materials.  Exercises cultivate skill in determining composition, rendering geometric shapes, depicting perspective and three dimensional illusion, fashioning light, shade, proportion, scale, surface and textures as well as arranging still life composition.  Field trip(s) required.

Typically offered fall and spring semesters.

AAV 112 – 2D

This course provides essential concepts and skills necessary to function as a visual artist (graphic designer, digital artist or traditional fine artist). Strong emphasis is placed on the visual component of art; how to apply the elements of art (line, shape, color, texture and space) in order to accomplish one’s subjective goal.  Color, as a visual element, is singled out in this course because of its complexity, importance in our visual environment, and the limited knowledge entering students have regarding the subject.

Typically offered fall and spring semesters.

AAV 113 – 3D

This course focuses on projects that explore the fundamentals of form and space and investigates the proper materials, structure, mass, scale, light and motion. Class discussions introduce a variety of conceptual and material processes that generate production. Intention, form, materiality and context are the subject of general class discussion. Techniques and approaches may include the creation of objects informed by abstract ideas, performance involving 3D objects, and an introduction to 3D installations.

Typically offered fall and spring semesters.

AAV 130 – Photography I

Photography I is an investigation of the tools and techniques of digital photography including the digital camera, scanners, printing, and image-editing software (Adobe Photoshop). Through the use of digital camera and digital imaging, students are challenged to create work that strikes a balance in form, content, and technique.

Through class discussion, reading assignments, critical and technical lectures, and studio assignments, students will learn how to critically engage with photography through its history and contemporary practices. By the conclusion of this course students will not only be able to intellectually participate in the theoretical discourse of the photographic image, but will be technically proficient enough to be confident in their technical decisions.

Typically offered fall and spring semesters.

AAV 140 – 4D

In this course we will examine the history and participate in the practice of time-based art, also known as 4-D.  Through the use of computers, video, photo, sound and lighting, students are introduced to basic concepts of art specifically in space and time.  Assignments direct students in creating works that utilize attributes of time and movement, elements of moving image, serial, sequential, and narrative ordering, still and moving image editing, and sound and image relationships.  Focusing on the relations between students’ spacing and timing skills, the 4D course extends and supplements the other Foundation courses (2-D, 3-D), and prepares students for further work with time-based media.  The course will be taught by demonstration, lecture, presentations and critiques.

Typically offered fall and spring semesters.

AAV 200 – Sophomore Review

The Sophomore Review is a mandatory portfolio review for all sophomores and will be held yearly at the end of spring sophomore semester. Transfer students are qualified to take the review after the completion of four Art Department courses. The review provides students with the opportunity to present and discuss their completed TCNJ studio projects. Faculty will assess student’s achievement of primary goals of the major and its curriculum. Faculty will identify student work strengths and areas for concern for junior-level advancement. The review is pass or unsatisfactory. If a student’s work is unsuccessful, he/she must apply to retake the sophomore review before the mid-term of the following semester. Students are permitted only one failed assessment. Transfer students are qualified for the review after the completion of four Art Department courses.

Typically offered spring semester. 

AAV 203 – Exploring London Through the World of Art and Chemistry

Through the exploration of art history, art practice, and the basic principles of chemistry, students will look at current and past practices in art and explore how the two relate. Field trips to museums, galleries, sculpture gardens, public parks, and other venues to view art will be explored. Classroom lectures explaining chemical concepts will be integrated into the course. Descriptive journal writing, oral presentations on selected topics and a final project will be expected. A one day pre-meeting and one day post meeting will be held at TCNJ.

Typically offered summer semester.

AAV 211 – Drawing II

This course is an intensive study of the human figure. The course will focus on skills including gesture, contour, structure, volume, movement, composition and form by observing the human figure in various poses, settings, and light conditions. Students will be introduces to a variety of materials, approaches and traditional and contemporary practices in figure drawing.

Typically offered spring semester.

AAV 213 – Sculpture I

This course focuses on the exploration of fundamentals of form and space and investigate the properties of materials, structure, mass, scale, light and motion. Class discussions introduce a variety of conceptual and material processes that generate production. Intention, form, materiality and context are the subject of general class discussion. Techniques and approaches may include the creation of objects informed by abstract ideas, performance involving 3D objects, 3D installations, objects in the public sphere, site specific objects, video incorporating 3D objects and 3D assemblages.

Typically offered fall semester.

AAV 214 – Printmaking I

A studio investigation of fine art printmaking techniques. Print production, the making of etchings, aquatints, engravings and collage prints will be explored through creative projects. Emphasis on exploring experimental, contemporary developments of printmaking techniques.

Typically offered fall semester.

AAV 215 – Painting I

An introductory studio investigation of the concepts and techniques of painting, and the major historical painting styles.  Emphasis is on the development of painting as a foundation for the development of a personal visual language.  Acrylic or oil media may be used.

Typically offered fall semester.

AAV 216 – Fiber Art

An introductory studio investigation of the media of fiber and fabric. Emphasis on the various techniques of stitching, stuffing, knotting, dyeing, weaving, and creative problem-solving.

Typically offered once a year.

AAV 217 – Ceramics

A studio investigation of clay that focuses on the creative and expressive uses through a broad range of approaches including installation, performance, mixed media, papermaking, printmaking, painting and more. Hands on skills including throwing, building, molding, glazing, and firing will be studies. Exploring the histories and contemporary practices in the process of developing a personal vision will be emphasized.

Typically offered once a year.

AAV 218 – Book Arts

An introduction to Artist books designed to bring together students with differing backgrounds who approach this art in their own unique ways.  This is a projects-oriented course that involves students in the discussion, critique, planning, and design of books in a range of book-production media.  The course introduces terms, formats, book genres, design concepts, and production practices.  Examples of projects include wearable books, alternative book structures, Japanese bindings and Japanese design, Coptic binding, tunnel books, and creating books with foldouts.  In addition, the final project gives each student the opportunity to plan and execute a book design project that reflects his or her particular interests.

Typically offered once a year.

AAV 230 – Photography II: Documentary

Photography has forever changed the world. Think about how we see ourselves, our culture, and history. Think of a photograph of earth from space- it extends our understanding of the world and its vastness. Documentary photography provides people a way of “seeing” war, different societies, places, and situations that a person would never be able to witness with their own eyes. Photography demands a critical thinker to understand images that change who we are and how we see the world. Through making photographs and research, we will examine the traditions and current practices in documentary photography.

Typically offered fall and spring semesters.

AAV 231 – Studio Lighting: Photography/Video

Studio Lighting offers students a survey of camera and lighting techniques for photography and video using D-SLR format cameras and the studio lighting facilities at TCNJ. Students will be creating work both in and out of the studio, using natural and artificial lighting techniques, including flash and strobe.
Artist presentations, lectures on contemporary art, studio visits and film screenings will accompany each assignment, giving students a firm understanding of contemporary image-making.

Typically offered spring semester.

AAV 234 – Darkroom/Alternative Process Photography

Darkroom/Alternative Processes is an introduction to traditional photographic practices and procedures for using light to create imagery. With an emphasis on personal vision, this course will develop art-related technological skills, personal aesthetics, an awareness of the history of photography, and critical thinking related to image production. The course will present an introduction to 19th-century photographic processes: cyanotype and Van Dyke brown prints, calotype or palladium printing, camera and film manipulations, and the use of liquid photographic emulsions. Students will have the opportunity to build their own pinhole cameras, learn digital technology for creating photographic negatives for contact printing and become proficient in the use of darkroom and printing facilities. Group and individual assignments will be given to push the creative boundaries of analog photography. Reading, writing and presentation assignments will provide context of the history, practices and current practitioners using these varied techniques.

Typically offered spring semester every 2 years.

AAV 244 – Video I

Video I builds on time-based knowledge and skills learned in AAV 140 4-D.  It advances student’s technical and conceptual understanding of video with an emphasis on editing and building a personal vocabulary.  Students will focus on production skills (using different sound sources, lighting, and advanced framing) and post-production skills (codex, complex editing, and compositing) while further developing a conceptual approach to this medium.   The course will be taught by demonstration, lecture, presentations, and critiques.

Typically offered fall semester.

AAV 251 – Design Fundamentals

Design Fundamentals explores two-dimensional forms as a foundation for visual communication. Emphasis will be placed upon visual perception, organization skills, and historical context. This course introduces formal graphical elements such as shape, texture, color, composition, contrast, as the essentials for delivering information in visual form, and examines how we communicate abstract ideas through image and text.

Typically offered  fall semester.

AAV 252 – Typography

This course is an introduction to the discipline, function, history, and impact of typography in graphic design.  Assignments and discussion will address the use of typography as a primary tool in conveying ideas and the impact of letterform manipulation on context and legibility.

Typically offered fall semester.

AAV 253 – Conceptual Image

Conceptual Image is offered as an experimental workshop expanding the students’ conceptual, theoretical, and technical skills in the area of image-making. This course will focus on semiotic analysis of contemporary use of symbols, illustrations, and photography in delivering information, and discuss how historical, cultural, and technological influences transform visual styles of graphic design.

Typically offered spring semester.

AAV 254 – Computers for Designers

This course builds on the skills learned in ADA 180 Digital Arts I and AGD 160 GD1-Introduction to Graphic Design.  Students will become proficient in computer skills used in the Graphic Design field including illustration, photographic manipulation, and page layout.  They will continue to develop creative problem solving skills and increase knowledge in the area of Graphic Design history. Through field trips, students will gain an understanding of the commercial printing process.

Offered occasionally.

AAV 255 – Web I

This course is an introduction to web production and design using Hyper Markeup Language (HTML)and various software programs.  The course consists of lectures and demonstrations on the creation of websites as well as the hardware and software technologies used for web production.  The use of the internet as an expressive medium by contemporary visual artists is also explored.

Typically offered spring semester.

AAV 270 – Topics in Visual Arts

This course may be offered as either a studio and/or lecture class and focuses on a different topic in the visual arts with each offering. May be repeated as topic changes.

Offered occasionally.

AAV 275 – Animation I

This course surveys traditional and computer animation history, techniques, and terminology.  The student will learn basic concepts and skills of 3D digital imaging, animation, rendering, and principles of motion and continuity.  The student will produce three-dimensional animation.

Typically offered fall semester.

AAV 311 – Drawing III

Continued studio investigation of drawing as a means of personal expression. Emphasis on a more intense employment of a variety of drawing media applied to creative, personal visual expression.  May be repeated.

Typically offered fall semester.

AAV 313 – Sculpture II

This course helps students to develop projects related to their own vision and ideas. Research and development will be given equal weight with finished work. A broad range of conceptual and material processes, intention, form, materiality, and context are the subject of general class discussion. May be repeated.

Typically offered fall semester.

AAV 314 – Printmaking II

Specialization in one printmaking medium: lithography, serigraphy, intaglio, relief, collography, etc.  Emphasis on exploring a creative, contemporary application of these techniques.

Typically offered spring semester.

AAV 315 – Painting II

Continued studio investigation of the medium of painting as a means of personal expression.  Emphasis on the development of advanced technical and stylistic original work, and the creative processes artists use in the development of a painting.  May be repeated.

Typically offered spring semester.

AAV 318 – Theory & Practice in Fine Art

The course is designed to develop the student’s understanding of theoretical material and issues in contemporary fine arts.  The course will be composed of readings, seminar discussion, field investigations, and class and faculty critique.  Field investigations will include gallery visits, meetings with curators, and visits to artists’ studios.  This exposure will enhance the student’s knowledge and understanding of issues related to the art profession. Students will be required to research a relevant topic in contemporary art and present this material to the class and instructor.  Student research will be guided by individual, class, and faculty critiques in the initial development of their Senior Thesis.  This will culminate in a Senior Thesis Exhibit in AAV 412, the sequel to this course.

Typically offered spring semester.

AAV 330 – Photography III: Image and Narrative

Photography III is an advanced lecture/studio, students will expand on their photography and imaging skills (DSLR, Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom) and ideas learned in Photography I (or equivalent) with a strong emphasis on self-directed production to explore photographic narrative forms and ideas. Students will explore the approaches of sequence and series, employing models of repetition, and narrative collaboration in the realization of projects.  The formats explored will include production of print-on-demand books, slideshows, and other time-based media.

Typically offered fall semester.

AAV 331 – Advanced Projects in Photography and Video

Advanced Projects introduces students to advanced photography and video production through technical workshops and topical, formal, or thematic project investigations that are determined by the student and faculty. Video and photography have distinctive traditions and conventions but there are elements that link these media together including physical and conceptual framing, investigations in sequencing, implicit and explicit references to time and the importance of lighting. Artist presentations, lectures on contemporary art, studio visits, and film screenings will accompany assignments.

Typically offered spring semester.

AAV 338 – Theory & Practice in Photography and Video

Theory and Practice focuses on the development of student’s research skills to build a personal body of work that reflects an in-depth and self-aware evolving practice. Through assigned obstructions, students will investigate their personal visual language using their previous artwork as a point of departure. The obstructions will purposefully build on previously learned skills to encourage students to reflect on their individual aesthetic sensitivity and challenge how these skills can be used in new combinations and within new contexts. The course will review some of the foundational texts of Critical Theory focusing in particular on their bearing that influences visual arts and artistic production in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Typically offered spring semester.

AAV 342 – Installation, Performance & Media

This course is an exploration of the advanced aesthetic, conceptual, and technical aspects of digital video in relation to performance and installation art.  This course focuses on themes such as gesture, movement, space, and body; site-specific work; architecture and definitions of space; uses of light and material; and the formation of an event or situation.  Gallery and museum field trips, as well as attendance at artist lectures, required.

Typically offered spring semester.

AAV 350 – History of Graphic Design

This course is a survey of the history of graphic design in the 20th and into the 21st centuries graphic design.  The course allows students to research individual areas of interest to broaden their knowledge of contemporary issues in design.  Classes are a combination of lectures, discussions, student presentations, guest lectures, and class trips to current design studios and exhibits.

Typically offered spring semester.

AAV 352 – Advanced Typography

This course integrates theoretical typography with students’ personal unique visions.  The class will explore alternative typographic forms that highlight content and audience response.  Historical and contemporary typography, print production and digital and traditional skills will be emphasized.

Typically offered fall and spring semesters.

AAV 353 – 3D Graphic Design

3DGD introduces the history and current practice of packaging design and environmental graphics. There will be informative lectures on various industrial production standards, terminology, and philosophies, as well as the aesthetic aspects of branding & point of purchase designs. Creative assignments will focus on how image and text works differently in three dimensional surface and spatial structures. Brand extension and consistency will also be discussed.

Typically offered fall and spring semesters.

AAV 354 – Identity

Identity focuses on the design of identity programs including client research, development of a strategy, creative exploration, design refinements, and implementation.
Students will design icons such as logotypes, symbols, trademarks, as well complete visual systems. The course will also examine how identity systems function via multiple applications and social media.

Typically offered fall and spring semesters.

AAV 355 – Web II

Web II focuses on creating database driven web sites and the production of streaming media. Beyond the design and technology foundations introduced in Web 1, Web 2 presents emerging technologies that help streamline the workflow within a group context; and the production of sites that present dynamic and streaming content. Through the combination of software and database languages, students will learn to integrate front-end design with multimedia content. Students will as well continue to investigate the Web as a creative medium for artistic production.

Typically offered spring every 2 years.

AAV 356 – Motion Graphics

Motion Graphics provides conceptual, theoretical, and technical problem solving skills in time-based media within the profession of graphic design. It prepares students to be creative, collaborative, and critical so that they can succeed in the competitive design profession. As the assignments bridge the traditional media of drawing, illustration, photography, and time based media such as sound, video, and animation; it is an interdisciplinary course that is rooted in the foundations of graphic design. Throughout the semester, students will work primarily in After Effects by importing texts and vector graphics from Illustrator, photographs and scanned images from Photoshop, video and sound from Premiere. Demos on software and other techniques will be introduced to ensure that students have the sufficient technical skills to execute their ideas. Each motion graphics project will require brainstorming, research, planning, and the incorporation of storyboards to communicate their ideas.

Typically offered fall every 2 years.

AAV 357 – User Interface/User Experience Design

This course provides an overview of the user experience design and user interface  field (UX/UI). Students will become familiar with the methods, concepts, and techniques necessary to make user experience design an integral part of the design process. The course provides students with an opportunity to acquire the skills to design from a user centered perspective, while building methods, research and techniques in both conceptual, digital and analogue techniques.

Typically offered fall and spring semesters.

AAV 358 – Theory and Practice in Graphic Design

Theory & Practice is the first semester of the three-course sequence of the capstone experience taken in the spring of the junior year. Through intensive reading and class discussion, students will obtain in-depth theoretical understanding on how historical, social, and technological contexts affect not only the appearance but also the methodologies applied behind the design facade. The course will fortify student research and writing skills and inspire them to think theoretically when they design. Students will also increase their creative and technical proficiencies by exploring alternative design tools beyond their regular ones. All projects will be comprised of creative work along with formal oral presentation and written documentation to reinforce their critical thinking and uplift their communication skills.

Typically offered spring semester.

AAV 370 – Topics in Visual Arts

This course may be offered as either a studio and/or lecture class and focuses on a different topic in the visual arts with each offering. May be repeated as topic changes.

Offered occasionally.

AAV 385 – Electronic Music Skills and Literature

This course introduces students to electronic music studio techniques, including MIDI, sequencing, sound synthesis, sampling, mixing, and audio production. It also covers theoretical and historical developments in the field of electronic music, including a review of compositions, styles, and technologies. Students create their own musical compositions in the computer lab. Open to students of any major. Approved for Liberal Learning credit in Literary, Visual & Performing Arts.

Typically offered fall and spring semesters.

AAV 391 – Independent Study in Visual Arts

Independent study is for students engaged in advanced work only and is an opportunity to develop personal interests and strengths within the major field. Emphasis is on individual, self-guided work under the supervision of a faculty advisor and/or committee. May be repeated.

Typically offered fall and spring semesters.

AAV 399 – Internship in Visual Arts

The primary purpose of the college-level internship experience is the development of occupational or professional competence in the actual occupational setting after the student¿s education has been completed. Other purposes (income, career exploration, learning-by-doing, on-the-job training, etc.) cannot be the primary purpose, although they may occur as a secondary result of the internship experience.

Offered fall, spring, and summer semesters.

AAV 412 – Senior Thesis in Fine Art

Intensive research and study within a studio concentration which culminates in the public presentation of the senior exhibit. Students will be required to prepare and present this body of work, their visual thesis, for critical review to an Art Faculty Committee prior to its public presentation in the Senior Fine Arts Exhibition. Additionally, students will be required to develop professional marketing materials and actively participate in the organization, installation and final exhibition.

Typically offered spring semester.

AAV 432 – Senior Thesis in Photography and Video

The second component (Spring) of the senior capstone, Senior Thesis focuses on more practical aspects of your life after undergraduate school.  Focus will be on the presentation  and documentation of your final thesis body of work, resume development, writing an effective artist statement and basic artist survival skills.Concurrent with this, the class will incorporate field trips, guest speakers, visiting artists, visiting alumni, and organizations that support artists. The class culminates in the BFA thesis exhibit in April.

Typically offered spring semester.

AAV 457 – Design Center

This course applies design principles learned in previous courses into professional practice.  The class will be structured like a small design agency.  Students work as creative teams and develop projects from concept exploration to final presentation.

Typically offered spring semester.

AAV 458 – Professional Practice in Graphic Design

This course will focus on advancing students’ personal vision through design research, writing, and innovative design projects.  For their final project, students will conduct visual and critical research that will culminate in a research paper and creative personal project.

Typically offered fall semester.

AAV 459 – Senior Portfolio

Students will develop an original body of work for graduate school application or employment.  This will culminate in a portfolio, identity package, creative statement, visual and career research, and a portfolio review, a presentation of students’ portfolios to the public and the graphic design community.

Typically offered spring semester.

AAV 461 – Professional Practice

Professional Practice is an intensive research/study and studio concentration in Fine Art and Lens-Based Art that extends into the practical professional dimensions of a career in the arts and the larger professional field. Students create and present a body of coherent artwork for critical review to an Art Faculty Committee that can be used as a foundation for their visual thesis project in the following semester. Through extensive fieldtrips, readings and practical assignments, students are exposed to the larger professional field and introduced to professional development training to cultivate successful careers in the arts. A minimum grace of C is required in this and all other major courses to graduate from the program.

Typically offered fall semester.