College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities

Studio Emphasis

Our BFA and MFA degrees in Visual Arts provides students the opportunity to explore artistic connections across multiple disciplines while choosing one as a primary focus of study. The six official focus areas are painting, ceramics, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, and photography.

art photo
art photo
art photo
art photo
art photo
art photo


At Clemson University, we view painting as a vital contributor to the contemporary art making dialogue. Through formal and conceptual development we cultivate visual literacy. The painting curriculum guides students through traditional and contemporary modes of painting. As contemporary painting is born out of many of rich traditions we seek to cultivate versatile students who can contribute to the future of art making.

Student research in painting is supported by a substantial network of facilities. Well-lit and well-ventilated studios are outfitted with easels, sinks, and storage. A fully facilitated woodshop and computer lab enable student production, while the Gunnin Architecture Library provides extensive visual arts resources. Like all areas in the Clemson Art Department, students have opportunities to work closely with professors from ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. With small class sizes, students receive both personal and diverse feedback from the art department faculty. The department is further enhanced by a visiting artist schedule, which recently included Eleanor Heartney and Alexis Rockman. Other opportunities, like group trips to New York and Italy offer rich learning experiences that help students understand the global context of fine art.


The area of sculpture embraces multiple interpretations of the medium, encouraging students to consider, time, space and site when creating. The philosophy of the sculpture area is very broad based. Students investigate materials, processes and contexts that best suit their mode of expression. Rigorous studio activity and strong conceptual development are essential to success in the program.

Clemson’s sculpture department also benefits from interaction with the South Carolina Botanical Gardens and it’s Nature Based Sculpture Program. The program has been accumulating site-specific out door sculpture by artists of both national and international acclaim.

Sculpture Facilities and Equipment

• Metal Fabrication and Welding equipment: SMAW, MIG, TIG
• Plasma Torch (1” stainless capacity)
• Metal Lathe
• 4” x 8 ga. Pinch roller
• 12 ga. Pan and Box break
• Hand and stationary power tools; band saw, drill presses, pedestal grinders, sanders etc.
• Foundry for non-ferrous metals (350 lb capacity bronze) with overhead crane system and electric chain fall.
• Access to 250 lb induction furnace
• Investment systems include; traditional plaster, lost wax, resin-bounded sand (DEV-SET), ceramic shell and green sand.
• 100 lb. and 250 lb. Muller sand mixers
• Sand blasting and Glass Bead blasting equipment
• Wax reclaiming burn-out kiln
• Access to a fully facilitated wood shop


In the first years of the BFA curriculum, foundation drawing courses offer students a core of skills needed to succeed in the Visual Arts program. Through their four years at Clemson University, art students use drawing to generate ideas, to study the surrounding physical world in a critical and intense manner, and as a means of expression and communication. Through observational drawing practice, students gain a broad base of techniques and approaches that hone perceptual skills and develop aesthetic sensibilities.

At the Beginning level, students start working with complex objects, spaces and still-life. A thorough grounding in linear perspective techniques is present in the first-year curriculum as students learn to understand and translate the underlying structures of forms. This is followed by the introduction of the human figure at the Intermediate level. At the Advanced level, drawing becomes experimental and thematically driven. Students are presented with drawing problems that further challenge and build their skills. At all levels of drawing, students have the opportunity to produce drawings that explore creative ideas and subjects of personal interest.

In accordance with contemporary trends, drawing is appreciated within the Department of Art as a complete art form. Students may choose to concentrate in drawing during their Senior Studio year and graduate study in drawing is also offered. Drawing can be defined as the result of any tool that makes a conscious and expressive mark on a surface; this definition encompasses an expansive range of possibilities.


The Clemson faculty appreciates the full range of ceramic form, and encourage the innovation and progress of the clay medium. Students are exposed to methods that service both functional and sculptural creation. Instruction focuses on work habit and self criticism, as well as the development of a thorough awareness of current and historic efforts in the field. Clemson offers a Ceramic technology course that explores glaze creation and kiln design. These skills are meant to enhance a students understanding of their medium and facilitate fine-tuned expression.

The faculty fosters community building activities for student participation. The collaborative firing of the Vatagama kiln attracts ceramicists from all over the south. Along with learning the anagama firing process, students get to meet professionals in their field. Students are also offered the opportunity to attend the annual NCECA conference.

Ceramics Facilities and Equipment

• Clay and Glaze materials that cover a range of temperature, color and surface
• Brent Electric wheels
• 24” Brent Slab Roller
• 30” Bailey Slab Roller
• An Extruder
• Blue Bird and Soldner Clay Mixers
• Spray Booth
• Compressor
• 60 cubic ft car kiln
• Alpine 30 cubic ft updraft
• 2 fiber Raku kilns
• 40 cubic ft soda kiln
• numerous electric kilns (both large and small)
• 200 cubic ft Anagama wood kiln located in a picturesque, wooded location off-campus


Our printmaking facilities at Clemson are suited to meet the goals and objectives of the BFA and MFA degrees. We have a large renovated space two doors over from the main art building, which greatly increases our square footage, giving us a small student gallery, separate facility for photo processes, a critique space, a digital area, and a ventilated space for acid trays. In addition to our new and improved studio, we have been fortunate enough to acquire a variety of presses and equipment.

Our equipment accommodates both traditional and contemporary printing techniques. New materials are acquired according to student interests and needs.

The lab provides students with solvents, inks, newsprint, rollers and brayers. In addition to the computers and digital editing equipment in the lab, students can access digital cameras, camcorders, computers, flat bed scanners and a large format color plotter on campus.

Printmaking Facilities and Equipment

• Vandercook letterpress
• Wright Etching Press (26” x 48”)
• Takach Litho Press (33 ½” x 60”)
• Rembrandt Litho Press (26” x 48”)
• Takach Litho Press (with automatic tympan system)
• Custom built 5 x 8 foot Etching Press
• Large format printing
• Silkscreen facilities


Photography students are trained in traditional black and white photographic processes as well as digital photography. Initially processes are emphasized in order to facilitate technical learning. As skills develop they are instructed to consider individual aspirations and to venture into new ideas and content. Photography benefits from a community work space. The adjoined darkroom and classroom facilitates camaraderie and group problem solving. This community environment is further emphasized through critique sessions, where students can articulate their efforts and mentor one another.

The undergraduate photo lab features a traditionally equipped darkroom. Students also have access to an Epson large format printer housed in the Photo studio. The graduate photography area has individual darkrooms and large format printers as well.

Students are advised to attend conferences in their area of study and photography is no exception. The Art Department provides some resources for attending conferences, including the Society for Photographic Education and the College Arts Association. Clemson photography strives to foster a community of cooperation as well as individual styles.

Photography Facilities and Equipment

• Darkrooms with 4x5 enlargers
• JOBO processor
• NUARC plate-burner
• UV exposure unit
• 4x5 and 8x10 view cameras
• Basic lighting equipment
• Mac Lab with industry standard photo editing software
• Mini DV video cameras
• Gunnin Architecture Library with access to digital cameras, camcorders, film, flatbed scanners and large format color plotter
• Wifi throughout campus