Reflections from the Student Mural Assistants
Photo Credit

Janelle Rodriguez

Reflections from the Student Mural Assistants

Chris Tolan '22

Working directly with Yashua Klos gave me valuable insight into his creative process. Helping Yashua realize his artistic vision for When the Parts Untangle exposed me to adaptive art-making strategies that I want to apply to the creative work I will take on in Advanced 3-D Studies with Professor Rebecca Murtaugh. By the end of the two-week process, I confidently employed the collage, woodblock carving, and woodblock printing techniques Yashua demonstrated to the group on our first day. I am excited to communicate to other Hamilton students the specific methods used to construct different decorative elements of When The Parts Untangle and translate that knowledge into shared interpretations of the artist's other work when I give tours of the OUR LABOUR exhibition in the Wellin's gallery space.

I am thankful that Yashua generously shared his creativity and positive attitude with everyone who contributed to the mural. To conclude the experience, Yashua kindly thanked the group for our contribution to his OUR LABOUR exhibition and certified the student participants as official woodblock printers. My peers and I were excited to celebrate the experience by repurposing leftover collage material into a souvenir commemorating our collaboration with Yashua.


Maddie Hurtgen '22

Working alongside Yashua Klos on the When the Parts Untangle mural has felt like being involved in a celebration of the rest of his work in the show. I feel incredibly lucky to have had the chance to learn from Yashua, Curtis, and the six other student assistants who worked on this project. I rarely get the chance to be artistically creative as an Environmental Studies major, so to be able to focus on creating a single piece of art over a two week period has been a rare and exciting opportunity. I was able to do woodblock carving, painting, and collaging alongside incredibly talented people, learning skills that I can implement in my own creative outlets. This has been especially valuable for me as a docent because I now get to give tours of the exhibition with a first hand sense of the artist's process and story, enriching other people's experiences as they get to discover his work. 


Satchel McLaughlin '22

I am so grateful that I got to work with Yashua Klos, Curtis House, and an incredible group of peers, to make Yashua’s vision for When the Parts Untangle come into being. In just two weeks I learned so much about Yashua’s practice, his story, woodblock printing, and working on a team of artists. Yashua was an excellent teacher and entrusted us with many tasks - from carving, to printing, to assembling.

I especially enjoyed seeing Yashua’s innovations in printmaking. Previously I’ve limited the process to carving, inking, and pulling a finished print, but Yashua taught us that there are so many ways to experiment and alter the process to get multiple results from a single carving. It was an incredible experience that I was proud to be a part of—I really could not believe what we did in two weeks.  I cannot wait to see this work come together with the rest of the exhibition in February.  


Emma Berry '22

Working with Yashua, my peers, and the Wellin team to make When the Parts Untangle a reality was such an exciting, challenging, and new experience. Collaborating on a team of Hamilton students with a variety of concentrations and expertise was a highlight, and I saw each person bringing unique skills and experiences to this project. Despite being a studio art concentrator, I had almost no experience working in woodblock printing and had never worked on a team to create art before. I’m thankful that Yashua gave us the opportunity to participate in almost all aspects of this project, from pinning, gluing, and arranging pieces of the collage, to printing woodblocks he had carved, to eventually carving our own. I am so grateful for Yashua’s flexibility, patience, and attentive instruction and Curtis’s care and advice. Their guidance and vision are what made this collaboration as successful as it was. I am still so amazed by the transformation When the Parts Untangle has undergone, comparing the many individual pieces of the collage we worked on our first day in early January to the finished work, completed just two weeks later. I’m sure that seeing a piece of art in the Wellin Museum that other students and I had a hand in will be a strange experience for me, and I am so incredibly excited for it.


Bitong (Shelly) Cao '23

I was honored to work with Yashua, Curtis, the Wellin team, and six talented peers on the mural piece. The collaborative experience had me learn from everyone and see how different people approach similar tasks. Maintaining the mindset of being open to mistakes and willing to solve problems all the time was what I saw a lot in each one of us. Our team always made more drafts than we needed since doing so allowed the artist to have more options. It was amazing to have everyone dedicated to the same thing and witness how efficient art-making could be. During the collaborative process, I learned more about Yashua’s creating process and enhanced my skills in drawing, carving, inking, printing, gluing, cutting, collaging, etc. I also got a sense of how an exhibition was put together. Other than working with us in the studio, the artist also spent lots of time communicating with the museum, the college, and the public. I am excited for the exhibition opening and meeting with the team again.

Next Article
Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art
Art Mentor Program Creates Win-Win for Wellin Museum and Clinton School
Previous Article
Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art
Wellin Museum Visitor Survey: We Want to Hear From You!

More Blog

Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art
The Life of Objects
Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art
Engaging in Creativity at the Wellin Museum
Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art
Senior Docent Reflections: Class of 2024
Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art
The Labyrinth of the Artist's Mind