The studies leading to the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees are organised
 in subject areas. The subject areas focus on specific disciplines of fine arts requiring artistic talent and expertise and seek to develop these further. The Academy offers teaching in sculpture, painting, printmaking and time and space arts. You will choose the subject area during the first year of study.

Study in the painting subject area will broaden your horizons about painting and direct you to place contemporary art in the art historical tradition of painting.


The contents of the workshops, studio visits and study trips reflect the perspectives of the teaching staff as well as the fields of art of their expertise. In other words, no 'philosopher's stone' can be offered on the contents of contemporary painting; instead, they reflect the artists’ cultured and varied insights. A common denominator can be found in the background of the individual themes in the form of the general features of contemporary art, such as its site-specificity and interpretation of the works of art in the framework of society and the theories from different scientific disciplines. Painting, furthermore, has a much longer history than, for example, moving image, and this is visible in the instruction in the great number of points of comparison brought up in the history of art.


Tuition in the study programme has constant connections, in other words, to other fields and disciplines in the arts, as does contemporary painting. The instruction aims at extending the students’ views on what painting could be, what it might mean and all the ways in which it is connected to all those things that are not painting.


Instruction in Painting is not, for the main part, theoretical: the primary focus is on seminars, where student works are discussed in small groups every week, and the importance of independent artistic work is considered the to be the first and foremost priority, including studio work and teachers – renowned artists – visiting the studios. In addition, instruction in the study module of Material Studies is renowned for its high quality.

Bachelor of Fine Arts degree

Bachelor of Fine Arts degree

The studies leading to the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (lower university degree) aim to provide the student with the artistic, cognitive and theoretical basic abilities and skills required from a visual artist. The degree consists of 210 ECTS credits and should be completed in 3.5 years. After completing their degree, the students have the resources they need to work as visual artists and to carry on to the studies leading to a Master’s degree and lifelong learning.

Master of Fine Arts degree

Master of Fine Arts degree

The Master of Fine Arts degree (higher university degree) aims to offer the students the resources to function as an independent and analytical artist in society and the world. The master’s degree consists of 120 ECTS credits and should be completed in 2 years. Masters of Fine Arts have a thorough command of the instruments of fine arts and an understanding of the current significance and history of those instruments. They are qualified to act as experts and developers of fine arts and are ready to continue to postgraduate education in art.


If you are interested in studying painting, you can apply to either the 5.5 year programme leading to Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degree or to 2 year programme leading to Master of Fine Arts degree. Students in the 5.5 year programme will choose their subject areas during the first year of study. In 2 year Master programme you will choose your study programme in connection with the admission process.

Applications to both programmes are accepted annually.

Teaching staff

The teaching staff of the Academy of Fine Arts is composed of distinguished artist-teachers who are actively involved in expert and reviewer responsibilities both in Finland and internationally. The instruction at the Academy is complemented by the expertise of its visiting professors, both Finnish and international. The visiting teaching staff hosts thematic workshops and special courses and their instruction offers the students opportunities for expanding their technical skills. Visiting teachers can also take on responsibilities of thesis supervisors, examiners and experts.


Tuition at the Academy of Fine Arts accentuates individual, one-to-one instruction that takes place in the student's studio and in the common studio and work facilities. In the student’s own subject area, each student is appointed a tutoring teacher, who keeps a close eye on the student.


Through their expertise and professional networks, the teaching staff is able to introduce the students to the field of fine arts in Finland and internationally and also offers an excellent professional basis for working as an artist.

Read Professor Tarja Pitkänen-Walter's profile here

Read Professor Tarja Pitkänen-Walter's profile here

Tarja Pitkänen-Walter (b. 1960) is known as an artist who explores the extended field of painting. She explores painting as a vitalising action and process. The multi-sensory, material and spatial elements of the painting are often the themes of her art.


Pitkänen-Walter studied at the Finnish Art Academy School and the University of Art and Design, Helsinki. Pitkänen-Walter graduated with the Doctor of Fine Arts Degree from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2006.


In addition to the Academy, she has taught at the Institute of Fine Arts in Lahti, the University of Gothenburg (Valand) and the Art School MAA. Pitkänen-Walter has been involved in Finnish and international solo and group exhibitions since 1982. She has also held a number of positions of trust.

Read Professor Fergus Feehily's profile here

Read Professor Fergus Feehily's profile here

Fergus Feehily  (b. 1968, Ireland) is an artist working within the field of painting, at times in the broadest definitions of the term, his work has sometimes been described as not quite painting and as having a peculiar relationship to reticence and revelation. 

Feehily has exhibited widely. Solo exhibitions include presentations at Capital, San Francisco (2015), The Suburban, Milwaukee (2015), Misako & Rosen, Tokyo (2013 and 2010), The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2012 and 2009), Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London (2011), The Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX (2011), Galerie Christian Lethert, Cologne (2010) and Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen (2008). His work has also been shown in numerous group exhibitions, including Why not live for Art? II - 9 collectors reveal their treasures, Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo (2013), Painter Painter, The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2013), Changing States: Contemporary Irish Art & the Francis Bacon Studio, BOZAR, Center for Fine Arts, Brussels (2013), Painting Expanded, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York (2011) and Twenty, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2011). His work is included in the collections of the Dallas Museum of Art and The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.

Feehily has an MFA from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and studied also at Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dublin.


Email addresses: firstname.lastname (at)


Inkeri Suutari
+358 46 9221413


Tarja Pitkänen-Walter
+358 50 384 4318

Fergus Feehily
+358 50 465 3269

Harri Monni
+358 50 448 8527

Päivi Takala
+358 50 435 5533

Lecturer (material studies)
Malla Tallgren
+358 40 860 9506

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