Hamilton students create murals with artist Julia Jacquette
Julia Smith '18, Melodie Rosen '18, Sung Hwan Hong '18, Irene Lin '17
Photo Credit

(c) John Bentham

Six Hamilton College students returned to campus over Winter Break for the opportunity to work alongside artist Julia Jacquette for the upcoming exhibition at the Wellin Museum entitled Julia Jacquette: Unrequited and Acts of Play, opening February 18. Tulia Day ’18, Lia DeFranco ’19, Sung Hwan Hong ’18, Irene Lin ’17, Melodie Rosen ’18, and Julia Smith ’18 assisted Jacquette with the realization of two site-specific murals created in the gallery based on original gouache works that are included in the exhibition. Four of the students took time this week to reflect on the process.   

Julia Smith ’18 -

Earlier this semester I received an email asking if I would be interested in assisting Julia as she set up her exhibition in the Wellin. Coming into the project, I didn't know what to expect. I knew we would be painting a mural or two, but didn't know what role we would play as assistants. Julia trusted us as assistants and students to really engage with her pieces and help her translate her work to a larger canvas. She was wonderful to work with and helped us really understand more about the artistic process as we move forward in our own careers. Although I will not be able to attend the exhibition as I will be in London, I thoroughly enjoyed working with Julia and the five other assistants on this project and know that the exhibition will certainly be a successful one! 

Melodie Rosen ’18 –

I thought the job would involve mixing paints or painting in the lines. Instead, we were taught how to make a small maquette into a mural. With Julia, we rolled out the paper, measured and laid out a grid, sketched the outlines onto the paper, and through several more steps, got the tracings onto the walls and basically painted by numbers with pre-mixed paints. Julia trusted us implicitly to help execute this ambitious project. From this experience, I learned that it was possible to truly look forward to your work. I worked with and got to know wonderful people and the time flew by as we painted. Watching and being a part of the production of these murals has been more rewarding than I could have imagined. 

Sung Hwan Hong ’18 –

When I heard from Wellin that there is an opportunity to work with a living artist, I was super excited. Without second thoughts, I signed up. I had no idea what we were going to do over the next two weeks, but as soon as Julia told us about the plan and introduced two gigantic murals, I was a bit worried if we could finish them on time. But through the process, not only we were working efficiently and fast but also most importantly, everyone was having a lot of fun. There is no doubt about how much I enjoyed painting with Julia, Chris Harrison (Wellin Museum Building Manager/Preparator), and dear friends every day over the past two weeks. Yes, it was my best choice and one of the greatest ways to start the new year. 

Irene Lin ’17 –

Julia's experience as a professor and extensive background in mural-painting definitely shows through in how she leads the project. In the vein of teaching us to fish, Julia explains the process to us very thoroughly, arming us with the skill set for potential mural creation in our futures. I often find myself pleasantly surprised with how much faith she places in us to execute her vision, as she will listen to and consider every input that we have about the project. Beyond the project, Julia answers all of our questions regarding life as a working artist and is engaged in learning more about us as well. 

As we near completion of the murals, it feels both surreal and, in a way, empowering to step back and see how much we have done. I feel incredibly grateful to the Wellin and to Julia for giving us this opportunity and for having me on this team of intelligent, hardworking people that I can now call friends. Every member has added a unique element to the experience, but all share the ability to create a working environment that feels positive and collaborative. The experience has also been particularly special in that we have peeked into and participated in the work that goes on behind the scenes for exhibitions, and have therefore worked closely with the incredible Wellin Museum staff.

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