The art college in the movie is based on the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. According the published screenplay, the minimalist paintings Jonah brings to class were painted by author Daniel Clowes when he was a student at the Pratt Institute.
The fictional art school portrayed in the film is based off of the real Pratt Institute. Coincidentally, all three of director Terry Zwigoff's fiction films were written by Pratt Institute alumni. (Daniel Clowes, writer of this film as well as Ghost World (2001), and Glen Ficarra and John Requa, writers of Bad Santa(2003))