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  • Otis Fine Arts hosts a Visiting Artist lecture series featuring Matthew Brandt, a Los Angeles-based artist. Read more about him here.
  • You are invited to a Movies that Matter Special Screening of the powerful new film shaping the debate about rape on college campuses, The Hunting Ground, on Tuesday, September 15 at 7:15 PM in the Otis Forum.  The Hunting Ground is a startling exposé of sexual assaults on U.S. colleges, institutional cover-ups and the brutal social toll on the victims and their families from the Academy Award-nominated filmmaking team of Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering.
  • Otis Books is pleased to publish Tim Erickson’s debut collection of poetry, Egopolis, a textual journey through destruction, resistance, city, and the Ego, from ancient times to the present day. Erickson’s work has appeared in the Chicago Review, Western Humanities Review, and the Salt Anthology of New Writing. He lives in Salt Lake City.

  • The Architecture/Landscape/Interiors Department at OTIS College of Art and Design is pleased to announce a lecture by 

  • Otis Graduate Writing students will read from their works-in-progress.

  • Exquisite Beauty is the first retrospective and publication to document the eye-dazzling ceramics created by Ralph Bacerra (1938–2008), a Los Angeles–based artist known for his innovative approach to surface embellishment. Curated by Jo Lauria, the exhibition features more than ninety of the artist’s finest pieces—dramatic, highly decorated vessels and sculptures that have never before been the focus of a major exhibition or publication.

  • Opening Reception for Ralph Bacerra: Exquisite Beauty


Studio Electives

Studio Electives


Students may select from a wide range of studio elective courses.  Electives change each semester to reflect development in the field and student interests. Core courses, outside of the student's area of concentration, may also be taken for elective credit.


Introduction to Experimental Drawing

DRWG204   3 credits

Designed to assist students in expanding their drawing skills through both traditional and unconventional drawing exercises. Students learn the signs of meaning that are produced from the specific forms, erasures, and drawing marks they put on paper. They experiment with new materials, techniques and skills.


Experimental Drawing Projects

DRWG320   3 credits

Provides an opportunity for students to explore advanced techniques and ideas in drawing. It helps students develop their own personal vision and awareness of the drawing media through independent projects and building a body of work. This course may be repeated for credit.


Visiting Artist Workshop/Advanced Visiting Artist Workshop

FINA325/326   2credits/3 credits


Critic in Residence/Advanced Critic in Residence

FINA327/328    2 credits/3 credits

Exposes students to the complexity and diversity of activities in the fine arts by inviting prominent artists and critics to the campus for studio and seminar workshops in their practice, methods or medium. Course content will vary in content each semester. Junior/senior level elective.

See the Fine Arts Department for specific course description


Fine Art Praxis

FINA370   2 credits

Allows the student to bring together a contemporary topic and relevant art historical information in an interdisciplinary setting. A three-hour studio class focuses on artistic application of the subject, while a two hour history/theory component reinforces the historical and contemporary models and contexts.

Students receive Fine Arts/Liberal Arts credit. Content varies each term.

Co-requisite: AHCS366 Liberal Studies Praxis


Directed Internship

FINA390   2 credits

Qualified upper-level students find and place themselves in a variety of structured positions in thenLos Angeles art community, including museums (MOCA, LACMA, SMMA); galleries; magazines; and film, television, photography, and animation studios. Internships enhance students’ education by providing well-supervised work experiences, leading to jobs after school. Junior/senior elective credit.


Advanced Topics

FINA406/415   2 credits/3 credits    Description: C:\Users\amanzano\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\FFN6SBNZ\SustainabilityLogo.jpg          

Allows students access to a cohesive body of information connected with simultaneous components of subject and object making. A three- or six-hour seminar and/or studio explores the historical and contemporary models and contexts of artistic practice.

See Fine Arts Department for additional course descriptions

Only certain courses will count for the Sustainability Minor. Please see the Interdisciplinary Studies Director.


Advanced Topics: Art and Publication

FINA406   2 credits

Hands-on course involves students in the development and production of a catalog for the senior exhibition.  Students will gain skills in book design, copy and photo editing, as well as working with a diverse group of artists and the businesses involved in book production. Junior/senior level elective.


Video I

MEDA211   2 credits

Hands-on introduction to the history and vocabulary of video art through screenings, production of original artworks in video, and development of skills in camerawork, lighting, audio recording, special effects, and editing. The class will emphasize the enormous potential of video in performance art, documentary, narrative, installation, and mass distribution.


Sound Art

MEDA307   2 credits

Sound is discussed in terms of its role in sculpture, installation and other artwork; music, popular culture and subculture; technological innovations and historical precedents; tuning systems, structuring principles, improvisation and chance. Students make sound pieces/objects throughout the term, as well as participate in a performance.

Offered in alternating semesters/years



MEDA308   2 credits

Explore emerging spaces of art making and cultural discussion using new technologies of interactivity (CD/DVD and Web Works), global discourse (Internet websites and communities), technical and mixed improvisation (DJ-ing).

Offered in alternating semesters/years


Experimental Filmmaking

MEDA316   2 credits

Both a production class and seminar offering students an introduction to experiments in film.  Using Super-8 materials (an analog film-based medium popular with amateurs before video was available), students will make their own films in reaction to a history of experimental film that is surprising and varied.

Offered spring semester only


Video Projects

MEDA320   3 credits

Advanced course in the technical and aesthetic aspects of video as an art form. The creative issues involved in a time-based, expressive medium will be emphasized through the discussion of examples. Students will become familiar with current discourses in video art, as well as receive instruction in digital post-production procedures and advanced technology.


Advanced Topics: Live Art

MEDA406   2 credits 

Focuses on the ways contemporary artists use performance as a medium. Through projects, students develop their interest in performance and gain the experience of performing in both group and individual works. In addition to the studio component, the course includes lectures providing a background in the history of performance.

Offered in alternating semesters/years


Photography II

PHOT214   3 credits

Intermediate course aims to build upon technical knowledge and conceptual structuring acquired in previous courses. Students spend time expanding technical skills with medium and large-format cameras, advanced digital skills with professional digital cameras, film scanning, photoshop, and digital printing. Attention is also given to developing research-based projects and presentation in books and exhibitions. Sophomore Photography core requirement. Non-Photo majors may take for elective credit.

Offered spring semester only


Photography Studio Practices

PHOT215   2 credits

See department for course description


Extended Techniques in Photography

PHOT218   2 credits

Supports Photography majors with more in-depth instruction in particular techniques.


Lighting Studio I

PHOT230   3 credits

Introduces students to basic studio skills in lighting and electronic flash applications, including 4x5 and medium formats, tungsten and strobe lighting. Shooting assignments include still life, portraiture, and photo illustration projects. Sophomore Photography core requirement. Non-Photo majors may take for elective credit.

Offered spring semester only


Photography III

PHOT314   3 credits

Gives students the tools to develop a body of work that is coherent intellectually and aesthetically.  Equal time is given to the realm of ideas that inform a project and the skills and studio practice to carry it out. Traditional photographic materials, large-format printing, digital processes, and mixed-media projects are incorporated. Junior Photography core requirement. Non-Photo majors may take for elective credit.

Offered fall semester only


Color Photography

PHOT330   2 credits

Explores technical, theoretical, and aesthetic concerns in color photography. Students learn the basic and more accessible chromogenic process from color negatives using the RA processor. Focus is technical and hands-on; however, emphasis is also given to discussion and critique of the use, effect, and meaning of color in documentary and art photography.

Offered on a rotating basis


Photo Genres

PHOT335   2 credits

Genres courses provide students with the opportunity to explore a variety of topics within the context of photography, targeting specific conceptual, aesthetic, and material approaches in depth, offering theoretic and vernacular driven investigation. Recent topics offered: Photo Collage, Rethinking Image and Narrative, and Fashion.

Offered on a rotating basis


Advanced Lighting Studio

PHOT 430   2 credits

Hands-on studio class with emphasis on advanced techniques. Major areas of focus include: refining lighting techniques, environmental portraiture, feature layout, researching clients and self-promotion. Hair, make-up and fashion stylists will work with students on demonstration shoots. Assignments for both studio and location work will build skills and develop a portfolio.


Extended Techniques for Painting

PNTG205   2 credits

Practical workshop directed to the understanding of painting as physical accomplishment. Painting materials and technical processes from ancient to contemporary are examined. Painting techniques might include: encaustic, egg tempera, oils, plastics, industrial paints, and others.


Painting II

PNTG214   3 credits

Intermediate painting course integrates intellectual and technical ability with historical, contemporary, and personal strategies. Emphasis is on the exposure to and analysis of contemporary painting through visual presentations, lectures, and the practical application of painting as a medium, both in technique and material. Sophomore Painting core requirement. Non-Painting majors may take for elective credit.

Offered spring semester only


Painting Genres

PNTG306   2 credits

Genres courses provide students with the opportunity to explore a variety of topics within the context of painting, targeting specific conceptual, aesthetic and material approaches in depth, offering theoretical and vernacular driven investigations. Recent topics offered: Real Art; Methods, Materials & Concepts of Color; Figure.


Processes & Practices

PNTG310/311   3 credits

Addressing the contemporary desire to stretch the medium’s physical limits and prod its conventions with unorthodox materials and forms, this advanced painting course focuses on the interplay between painting and space. Theoretical models and technical experimentation provide an opportunity for students to engage in non-traditional approaches, including installation.


Painting III

PNTG314   3 credits

Emphasizes the development of an individual voice. Using historical and contemporary issues, (including figuration and the body, politics, narrative, and abstraction) students explore how the contextualization of images function in terms of content, and how they serve as the theoretical basis to explore painting as a highly adaptive contemporary medium. Junior Painting core requirement. Non-Painting majors may take for elective credit.

Offered fall semester only


Sculpture/New Genres II

SCNG214    3 credits

Building on practices developed earlier, SCNG 2 guides students in the development and realization of advanced projects. Skills include refined fabrication techniques and expanded repertoire of materials, new computer technologies for 3-D output, video, sound, and more. Students are exposed to contemporary practices through lectures, reading, discussions, critique and interviews with artists. Sophomore Sculpture/New Genres core requirement. Non-Sculpture/New Genres majors may take for elective credit.

Offered spring semester only


Extended Techniques for Sculpture

SCNG215    2 credits

Supports Sculpture majors with more in-depth instruction in particular techniques such as wall building, small electronics (motion detectors and robotics), details of wood joinery and carving, special plastics skills (vacuum forming), architectural model making, and more.

Offered in alternating semesters/years



SCNG236   2 credits

Recent years have seen the revival of ceramic sculpture in contemporary art. This class will approach ceramics as a sculptural medium. The techniques taught will include mold-making, slip-casting and hand-building. Discussions will cover the history of ceramic sculpture, high and low culture, craft versus art, and the use of multiples and appropriation.


SCNG: Genres

SCNG306   2 credits

Genres courses provide students with the opportunity to explore a variety of topics within the context of Sculpture/New Genres by targeting specific conceptual, aesthetic and material approaches in depth; and, offering theoretic and vernacular driven investigation. Recent Topics offered: Metalcasting and Major Mold Making.

Offered in alternating semesters/years


Sculpture/New Genres III

SCNG314   3 credits

Opportunity to work on large-scale, long-term projects in sculpture and/or new genres, working in-depth in a chosen material or skill (for example, complicated casting technologies, welding, woodworking, video or installation. Addresses artwork that is ambitious, experimental, political, and work that pushes both formal and conceptual boundaries. Junior Sculpture/New Genres core requirement. Non-Sculpture/New Genres majors may take for elective credit.

Offered in fall semester only