Course Listings

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Nature in Art: The Arts of East Asia—Jap


Nature in Art explores the rich and varied traditions of artistic expression unique to the regions of Japan, Korea, and Tibet, from prehistoric indigenous practices through the mid-19th century. Looking closely at Japan, the Korean renaissance, and the coded art of Tibetan Buddhist culture, we will uncover the distinct artistic heritage found in each, noting particularly the sharing and transmission of art practices and ideas as they cross geographical and cultural boundaries. Working chronologically, this course will identify intersections of spirituality and nature, then examine artistic expressions of such concepts through lacquer, ceramic, ink, paper, stone, bamboo and ivory, among other media. Both two- and three-dimensional art forms are considered, from calligraphy, wood-block prints and landscape painting to festivals, garden design, poetry, and tea ceremonies. The objects and sites studied in this course will reflect how concepts of beauty and aesthetics are achieved through the practice of “harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility.” The course is conducted as a hybrid seminar-lecture style course, with instructor led lectures and video, student presentations, research, writing, culinary experiences, as well as hands-on exploration of the traditional processes of historic art production in these regions. This class requires a visit to the USC Pacific Asia Museum to see art in person from each of the regions studied in this class. No prerequisites.


Poetry Workshop 1



The primary goal of this course is to provide practice in the basics of poetry writing, with a simultaneous exploration of poetry's various theories and techniques. Students will be introduced to a variety of literary styles and devices via assigned readings by accomplished authors, with guided in-class discussions and group analyses of the craft at work in each piece (aspects such as meter, structure, rhyme, voice, tone, free verse, lyric, and form). Students will be required to complete a variety of writing assignments and similarly take part in close critiques of each other?s new writing, both in class and via written feedback composed away from class, providing textual analysis from both aesthetic and technical standpoints, articulating both emotional and intellectual responses to the works. Accomplished guest authors will visit the class to provide additional mentoring and inspiration. Excursions to public readings will augment classroom instruction. Class work may culminate in a formal publication and/or public performances (e.g., as part of LCAD?s Literary Companions Reading Series). By the end of the semester students will have broadened their understanding of the genre from a writer's perspective, improved their mechanics in regards to craft, and perhaps even taken several giant steps closer to discovering their own unique voices and visions as authors. Similar to how the College Preparatory Writing classes are structured (and how other courses accommodate both undergraduate and graduate students in the same class), LCAD?s Creative Writing Workshops will be able to simultaneously accommodate students taking the course as an Introductory Workshop (at the 100 level, practicing the basic craft essentials) and those in the more Advanced levels (200, 300, 400, working on more complex aspects of technique and voice, longer pieces, or a collection of works). While all levels will benefit from group feedback and critiques, individual assignments will be appropriate to the enrolment level.


Financial Literacy


Economics, mathematics, and sociology combine to form the study of financial literacy. Knowing how to handle money, investments, retirement, and much more are covered in this course. Though money offers a shifting ground, this course should give you the ability to adapt to changing conditions.


Introduction to Sociology


Designed to introduce students to a sociological understanding of how we build and live in communities. With a strong emphasis on the psychology of power structures, social institutions, social reasoning, and social constructivism, this course helps students to understand the role of the individual within the larger society. With a broad scope into the science of groups, topics may also include urgent current events to build a vivid understanding of the social interactivity in everyday life.


Graphic Novels


From memoirs to fantasy and superheroes, graphic literature has come a long way in recent decades. This survey course takes a look at graphic literature and what it means to communicate story in visual images.


The Science of Sight


The Science of Sight is a comprehensive overview of the visual phenomenon of eyesight incorporating information from disciplines of anatomy and health, history, psychology, sociology, natural science and computer science. Though topics outside of the discipline of art will be introduced, the primary intended audience are those who intend to focus their career in the visual arts. The class consists of lectures, mini-experiments, viewing of short films, group discussions, and student presentations. Guest lecturers for specific topics are encouraged when available.


Dystopian Literature


Dystopian novels are powerful and imaginative works that highlight a future we do not want to see. But they are more than just sci-fi. By exaggerating and distorting the logic of our present system, authors make strong political statements about the times we live in. This course will explore some of the pillars of dystopian literature and focus a critical eye on modern connections.


Storyboarding for Entainment - Live Acti


ED218 + FD166 + ED235

This course teaches students to develop and create a sequential series of staged drawings (that is, the visual script of each scene in a film). The course covers how to effectively portray the essence of a story by means of quick and accurate sketches. A brief overview of script writing is included. The script's plot, situations, and conflict are developed from rough sketches to finished presentations. This course also examines staging, cinematography, drama, action notes, dialogue, pacing, timing, and sequencing the story's action.


Digital Matte Painting for Entertainment


FD162 + ED235 + ED301

This is a lecture and studio course introducing principles of matte painting; an intensive study of techniques used for film, games and editorial illustration. Students will use a combination of traditional and digital painting concepts. Knowledge of color theory and multiple-point linear perspective are essential. Photo-realism in painting is discussed with examples from both art and film. Approaches to painting realistic architecture, nature, and interiors/exteriors and props will be explored.   Comprehension of key terms and concepts are taught, with projects designed to develop practical software skills and aesthetic development.


Environment Design for Entertainment 2


ED235 + ED219 + IL224 + ED301

This is an advanced studio course in Environment Design. Students will build on skills learned in Environment Design 1 to design environments that can be used in film and television, feature animation and themed locations. An emphasis will be placed on the visual development process starting with inspiration, then proceeding with thumbnail sketches, refined sketches, final drawings, and renderings. Students will learn to incorporate 3D software in the development process for efficiency and increased productivity. Additionally, students will learn how to communicate ideas with orthographic views, isometric views, and cut-away views.


Character Design 2



This course is a continuation of Character Design I. Students create and construct model sheets of unique and imaginative animated characters. The focus is on design uniformity, composition, and effective use of color. Personal style and interpretation are developed. Craft and rendering techniques are perfected while students strive to execute quality portfolio pieces.


Mesoamerican Empires of the Aztec and Ma


An introductory course exploring the art and architecture of Mesoamerica from the rise of the Olmec in 1500 BCE to the Spanish conquest of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan in 1521, Mesoamerican Empires will focus on how changes in visual culture have reflected larger religious and political transformations in Mesoamerica. Issues of cultural memory and myth will be examined to understand indigenous conceptions of art, history, cosmology, and social hierarchy. Forging links with the present day, students will learn to identify and contextualize Mesoamerican iconography in contemporary media including the creative expression of lowrider culture, tattoos, fine art, and fashion. Students will be required to demonstrate their understanding of the material through visual (art) projects, a formal writing assignment, and their participation in class discussions. No prerequisites.


Introduction to the History of Asian Art


This course is an exploration of art and visual culture from the Asian continent. Focusing on art works as historical, cultural, and social documents, we will examine how art was commissioned, collected, and used by royalty, the elite, popular audiences, and religious communities in both rural and urban settings. Different themes discussed include art as an instrument of power and propaganda, as a tool for social and religious ritual, an expression of status and prestige, a medium for social protest, as well as a product for the marketplace. Beginning with Bronze Age objects for ritual purposes, subsequent artforms include scroll paintings in the Song Dynasty, women’s painting and printed books, Japanese secular emaki scrolls and ukioy-e art, the luxury of Mughal art in India, and true-view landscape painting in Korea. Students are required to do class readings and engage actively in class discussion, complete two papers, create a final project, and make a final presentation. No prerequisites.


The Medieval World


The Middle Ages were a time of knights and ladies... or maybe brutal Viking warlords... or a clash of civilizations between Christians and Muslims... and maybe there were dragons? A lot of what we “know” about the medieval world comes from fantasy, pop culture, and from old nationalist scholarship that mostly invented origin myths. So, how can we know what the Middle Ages were really like? In this class, we’ll go back and try to get a more accurate picture by looking at things medieval people made: manuscripts, sculptures, buildings, weapons, clothing, etc., all in tandem with reading primary sources by the people who were there. Starting with the collapse of the western Roman Empire, we will uncover a different picture of how two related cultures arose out of the wreckage of the ancient world: Christendom and Dar al-Islam. Along the way we’ll learn that the “barbarians” weren’t that barbaric, that some Vikings converted to Islam, that trade and cooperation across the Mediterranean were far more common than Crusades, and that the medieval world was more diverse, cosmopolitan, and queer than you may have been led to believe. No prerequisites.


American Literature



This is a survey course of the Literature of the United States, and may focus on a specific author (or group of authors), time period, theme, or culture.


Illuminating Women—Female Artists, Heale


AH114 or AH115

People often wonder exactly when, throughout history, women first started to become active in society? Of course, the answer is: Always. Even though women’s efforts have been overshadowed by that of their male contemporaries in the chronicling of official histories, women have always participated in every facet of life, from rich to poor, north to south, east to west, and from the ancient period to the present. In this course, we will examine the lives and creative pursuits of the many women who contributed to the arts, sciences, and humanities throughout history, particularly focusing on artists & craftspersons, writers & poets, healers, pharmacists, natural philosophers, and rulers, with a few warriors included for good measure. Students will conduct close readings, originate research, formulate short essays, and in an effort to gain insight into the state of mind of historical women, reconstruct a piece of history with a hands-on laboratory project and a small, original artwork placing themselves in the environment of a chosen historical female. Prerequisite: AH210, or one course from the Ancient Civilizations category. This course can be taken concurrently with one class from the Medieval Worlds in Motion category. 3 units.


Age of Michelangelo, 1450-1650


AH114 or AH115

“Force yourself to imitate Michelangelo in everything.” These were the words expressed by Michelangelo’s biographer to a remarkably self-aware generation of artists in 16th-century Florence, Rome, and Venice. However, whether rival artists wanted to, or even imagined they could succeed in imitating Michelangelo’s work is another question—one among many we’ll explore in The Age of Michelangelo, 1450-1650. In consultation with a range of visual, historical, and literary materials, we’ll delve into the spirit of the age, looking at drawing, painting, sculpture, furniture and garden design, food, weaponry, architecture, and urban planning, as well as people. We’ll tap into the players and personalities of the times—Leonardo, Giorgione, Raphael, Sofonisba Anguissola, Titian—as well as Isabella d’Este, the Della Rovere, and the Medici families who sought to shape their immediate world through power, imagination, and the artistry of their times. Students will conduct close readings, originate research, formulate essays, and in an effort to gain insight into the Renaissance state of mind reconstruct a piece of history with a hands-on laboratory project and a small, original artwork of their own. Prerequisite: AH210, or one course from Ancient Civilizations category. This course can be taken concurrently with Medieval Worlds in Motion category.


Los Tres Grandes—The Mexican Muralist Mo


AH114 or AH115 + AH204 or AH205 or AH206 or AH207 or AH305

Los Tres Grandes explores the Mexican Muralist movement of the 1920s from its beginnings under the post-Mexican Revolution government to its present-day influence on Chicanx and Street artists. Utilizing a curricular framework centered on Los Tres Grandes (the big three), Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, our studies will then expand to include further influential figures such as Frida Kahlo and Rufino Tamayo among others. Students will be required to demonstrate their understanding of the material through visual (art) projects, a formal writing assignment, and participation in class discussions. Prerequisite: One course from Ancient Civilizations category and one course from either Medieval Worlds or Renaissance/Early Modern category.


The Traditional Arts of Western Africa


AH114 or AH115 + AH204 or AH205 or AH206 or AH207 or AH305

This course examines a diverse array of art created by different ethnic groups in West Africa from pre-colonial through the 19th century and beyond. Through the lens of both spiritual and cultural traditions, we will consider a wide range of styles and materials, and ask how meaning is derived from objects and practices, keeping in mind particular challenges that emerge when studying art that is both permanent and impermanent. The significance of oral traditions will be studied, as well as the roles of ancestor spirits, mythical creatures, divination and initiation rites, and how music, dance, and masking function in establishing power, status, political, and social conventions. Objects created exclusively for performative and ritual uses, art in service to royalty, sculpture, utilitarian objects, architecture, performance, and the body as subject and site of adornment will form the core of our studies. Materials studied will include metal, wood, textiles, mud, ivory, beads, bone, dung, and blood/bodily fluids. While important, this class does not intend to cover present-day political crises, border disputes, or changing social constructs in West Africa. This course is conducted with instructor led lecture, film, guided reading and discussions, student presentations based on independent research, and other exploratory exercises. A visit to the UCLA Fowler Museum is required for this class. Students will experience textile creation and the development of personal symbolism in a hands-on project. Prerequisite: One course from Ancient Civilizations category and one course from either Medieval Worlds or Renaissance/Early Modern category.


Modern Visualities: 19th to 20th-Century


AH114 or AH115 + AH204 or AH205 or AH206 or AH207 or AH305

This course will examine the relationship between visuality and technology as expressed by photographers of the 19th- and 20th-centuries. Materials and readings for the course will focus on the roles and development of photography primarily in India, Afghanistan, China, and Japan, and the alterations it engendered in the perception and depiction of the world. We will examine the use of photography in the service of journalism and news reporting, ethnographic studies and geographical awareness, science, propaganda, tourism, entertainment, and of course, art. Beginning with Western photographers’ images of a distant “Orient,” this course will conclude with the uses of photography in contemporary Asian art, looking particularly at themes of national and personal identities as well as commentary on traditions. Students are required to do class readings and engage actively in class discussion, complete two papers, submit one individual project related to the course apparatus, and make a final presentation. Projects deriving from other time periods or regions are welcome, for example, photography from Imperial Russia or the Ottoman Empire. Prerequisite: One course from Ancient Civilizations category and one course from either Medieval Worlds or Renaissance/Early Modern category.


Exiles in L.A.—Art, Architecture, in L.A


AH320 or AH404 or AH405 or AH406

Los Angeles, not known for being a bastion of either culture or liberalism during the early twentieth century, was—for a time—both a cradle of high-modernism and a refuge from the charnel house of European fascism. Icons such as poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht, Marxist philosopher Theodor Adorno, noir filmmakers Fritz Lang and Billy Wilder, composers Arnold Schoenberg and Igor Stravinski, novelists Thomas Mann and Aldous Huxley, and architects Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler, many of whom had fled the Nazis, made their homes in Los Angeles. In this course, we will examine the lives and major works of the many refugees and exiles who transformed LA’s intellectual and aesthetic culture in the 1940s, as well as look closely at three critical aspects of their enduring legacy. First, the transnational exchange of aesthetic and intellectual history between Europe and the United States; Second, the effects of fascism on aesthetics and its implications; and Third, the degree to which the creative output of European émigrés provided survival strategies in the wake of such genocidal and illiberal ideologies. What, in other words, can we glean from Brecht’s poetry, from Adorno’s “reflections from damaged life,” from Fritz Lang’s deeply expressionistic noir films, from Huxley’s Brave New World? Through the consumption of text and images representing this history students will create a project utilizing this aesthetic and intellectual history of art (and artists) as a means of strategizing survival in today’s climate. Prerequisite: One course from Ancient Civilizations category and one course from either Medieval Worlds or Renaissance/Early Modern category.


Living Thru History—Understanding the Am


AH320 or AH404 or AH405 or AH406

Since 1954 when the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Brown v. Board of Education, the people of the United States have been engaged in a series of “culture wars” concerned primarily with identity—particularly race and gender—and a grappling with its morally ambiguous past. This deep and alienating sense of polarization and clashing of identities—some voluntary and others forced upon us—has only intensified over the years, coming to an explosive climax in the chaotic and tragic years of 2020-21. Everything from the anti-mask movement and “cancel culture” to the fate of Confederate Statues and defunding the police falls under the rubric of a longstanding, and increasingly tribal culture war in the United States. In this course we will look at the broad historical context of the 1960s from which these battles emerged and trace them through the present. In doing so, we will pay close attention to the ways in which the expansion of rights, freedoms, and liberties for historically marginalized groups has elicited conservative reactions seeking to roll back those gains through an often sectarian vision of American culture and history. This course will focus on flashpoints or sites of contestation—Roe v. Wade, the Oklahoma City Bombing, the rise of “Alt-Right” groups such as the Proud Boys, recent controversies about “Big Tech” censorship, the fate of civil rights, Black Lives Matter protests, and the violent denouement of the Trump Administration. Students will produce written responses to the readings and also formulate a final project determining the role of art and the artist in meeting this particular historical moment. Prerequisite: One course from Ancient Civilizations category and one course from either Medieval Worlds or Renaissance/Early Modern category.


Intro to Exhibition Design


AH320 or AH404 or AH405 or AH406

This course will introduce students to current theoretical and real-world applications of exhibition design operating today in museums, galleries, and contemporary art spaces, both real and virtual. Through weekly in-person exploration of cultural sites in and around Orange County and Los Angeles, students will observe and critique aesthetic and practical decisions made by professional curators and exhibition designers, with particular emphases on structural layout, cultural themes, the curation and arrangement of objects, and how artworks interact with one another in outdoor and indoor spaces. In doing so, students will sharpen their perceptive skills, strengthen their discourse specific to the fields of art production, curation, collecting, and museum studies, and pursue theoretical examples of design brought to life within the rich artistic landscape of Southern California. Students produce written journal entries, participate in discussions, produce directed reading responses to museum catalogues, articles, and other didactic material, as well as participate in oral presentations and collaborative hands-on projects. Prerequisite: One course from Ancient Civilizations category and one course from either Medieval Worlds or Renaissance/Early Modern category.


Ancient Civ: Egypt-Greece-Rome


If consciousness is shaped by our history, then where are we, collectively, if we’ve lost faith that a shared historical commonality among cultures ever existed? To the people who thrived in the strange and beautiful empires of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, religious and cultural differences found in one’s neighbors weren’t unusual, confusing or frightening—they were part of everyday life. In short: normal coexistence. In the class Egypt, Greece, Rome—we’ll explore the commonalities and shared experiences found among these three remarkable civilizations, as well as follow the cultural fault lines exploited by those in power which eventually forced these empires to dissolve. Together, we’ll explore three millennia of artefacts, objects, architecture, writings, as well as cultural and religious practice to see how these civilizations evolved, ran alongside one another, then overlapped and overcame one another to lay the foundations of modern western society. Through lecture, images, discussions, essays, and close readings, students will learn to identify, decode, understand and describe artworks and objects from the past, translating them from visual to verbal and textual language. In addition, in an effort to gain insight into the ancient state of mind, students will reconstruct a piece of history with a hands-on laboratory project and a small, original artwork of their own. No prerequisites.


Rome, City of Splendor


Rome, the Eternal City, is a city unlike any other. It is entrenched in history and undeniably beautiful, where Roman ruins serve as a backdrop for classically restrained Renaissance structures and dramatic Baroque spectacle. This course takes students through the incredible transformation the city has undergone from ancient times through the rise of Christianity, culminating with the tumultuous era and style of the 17th-century Baroque. Through these great epochs of Roman history, the city attracted some of the most revered artists including Raphael, Michelangelo, Gentileschi, Caravaggio, and Bernini. Students will leave this class with an in-depth understanding of the innovation of Roman architecture and engineering, what led to the decline of ancient Rome, and how the city transformed from a glorious capital of pagan culture to the prominent seat of the Catholic faith, home to over 900 churches. Requirements for this class include a museum visit, independent research, and the creation of an artwork related to the course content and historic techniques analyzed in this course.