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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

AAV 130 – Photography 1

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 the digital camera and digital imaging, students are challenged to create work that strikes a balance in form, content, and technique. Experience with digital photography is not required.

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.

AAV 211 – Drawing 2

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.

AAV 213 – Sculpture 1

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.

AAV 214 – Printmaking 1

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.

AAV 215 – Painting 1

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.

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.

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.

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.

AAV 230 – Photography 2

Photography II explores advanced photography with digital and traditional techniques. Students will be challenged to investigate and explore their own creative direction while expected to complete this course with technical proficiency and to have a fuller understanding of photography’s critical context in contemporary art. The conceptual and theoretical characteristics of digital photography will be evaluated within a broad cultural context and students are required to read related writings

AAV 231 – Cameras and Lighting 1

Cameras & Lighting I introduces students to various photographic equipment and practice using natural light and using flash. With an emphasis on personal vision, this course is designed to develop technological skills, personal aesthetics, an awareness of the history of photography, and critical thinking.

AAV 232 – Image and Narrative

Image and Narrative builds on the foundation of image-making begun in AAV 130/ Photography I and AAV 140/ 4-D. It expands the students’ imaging knowledge to include a study of typography basics, type and page design, color management and print technologies, and explorations into print and timebased media. Image & Narrative focuses on how digital media informs and evolves visual language for artistic expression. Students will consider multiples, sequencing, notation, gesture, and numerous narrative structures.

AAV 233 – Documentary

This course focuses on understanding and creating documentary photography while exploring its history, traditions and role in contemporary society.  The photograph will be investigated as evidence, especially its application to scientific and anthropological proofs and the documentary image’s potential within a broader program of social reform.  Readings and lectures will explore how photojournalists greatly expanded the boundaries of documentary photography through new mass media publications and how documentary photography also made its first significant inroad into the world of fine art. The course will focus on the idea of the documentary as an approach inseparable from the photographer’s particular viewpoint and aesthetic concerns.

AAV 244 – Video 1

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.

AAV 250 – 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

AAV 255 – Web 1

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.

AAV 275 – Animation 1

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.

AAV 311 – Drawing 3

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.

AAV 313 – Sculpture 2

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.

AAV 314 – Printmaking 2

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

AAV 315 – Painting 2

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.

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.

AAV 330 – Photography 2

Photography II explores advanced photography with digital and traditional techniques. Students will be challenged to investigate and explore their own creative direction while expected to complete this course with technical proficiency and to have a fuller understanding of photography’s critical context in contemporary art. The conceptual and theoretical characteristics of digital photography will be evaluated within a broad cultural context and students are required to read related writings.

AAV 331 – Cameras & Lighting 2

Cameras and Lighting II introduces students to the operation of 4×5 view cameras while building upon the foundations of photography that students learned in Cameras and Lighting I.  The course provides a hands-on experience and studio practice while emphasizing the study of studio works by photographic masters.  Working in the medium of color photography, students will be challenged to explore their own unique photographic voice through a variety of assignments and group critiques.

AAV 338 – Theory & Practice in Photography and Video

The first capstone course (Fall) involves ongoing group discussions and production relating your creative endeavors to those of fellow students and to society as a whole. Students will be evaluating previous works and establishing visual research methods for both the fall and spring capstones. Theory & Practice is writing intensive and will include weekly readings and writing assignments as well as a final thesis.

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.

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.

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.

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.

AAV 355 – Web 2

Web 2 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.