First SUU Illustration Student Accepted into 3x3 International Show

Published: October 13, 2021 | Author: Ashley H Palmer | Read Time: 3 minutes

Kalen Fernandez, who graduated from SUU in April 2021, entered the international student art competition 3x3 Magazine Annual Student Show before graduation. Multiple works of his were chosen for display in the online gallery and to be printed in the annual book. He is the first SUU student to get into this particular, prestigious, international show.

Hala Swearingen, Associate Professor of Illustration at SUU, shares, “Kalen is the first SUU art student to have artwork accepted into the 3x3 International Illustration Competition. 3x3 is one of the top three international shows for illustration and is judged by key professionals in the industry—art directors, graphic designers, editors, and illustrators. Getting a piece into the show is a huge accomplishment, but getting multiple pieces in is even more remarkable! Kalen was an outstanding student throughout his years at SUU. This Spring the work Kalen submitted into 3x3 was displayed in his final Senior BFA Exhibition in SUMA. He does fantastic work and has built a body of professional artwork to launch his career. In addition, he is teaching two sections of Drawing 1 for us in the Art and Design Department. I am truly privileged to work with him!”

3x3 is the first publication devoted entirely to the art of contemporary illustration. Published in the United States and distributed worldwide, their sole interest is in sharing what is shaping international illustration. Their mission is to preserve, protect and promote illustration in all its forms.
Jazzin by Kalen Fernandez

Kalen Fernandez, alumni of the SUU Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration program, says, “I was super excited to get into 3x3. I was entering a lot of competitions last year, and I wasn't getting into any shows. That's a normal process though, and you have to keep biting the bullet despite the results. 3x3's judging process takes months so by the time the results were up, I wasn't aware of it. To make things worse, my acceptance email was sent to my spam inbox, so I almost missed it! When I found out I made it in I was giddy. Getting an award of merit and seeing Southern Utah University competing with bigger international art schools was really satisfying.”

Fernandez went on to say, “As far as preparation for professional work goes, I think one of the main things competitions prepared me for was rejection. A competition doesn't necessarily define the worth of your work. Some people will like it, some people won't. Art is weird that way. You just have to keep applying and have confidence in your abilities. I also learned to check my spam more often. Just in case.”

Congratulations to Kalen Fernandez for his acceptance into the 3x3 Magazine Annual Student Show and for receiving an award of merit. For more information about the Department of Art and Design at SUU, please visit

About the College of Performing and Visual Arts

The College of Performing and Visual Arts (CPVA) at Southern Utah University comprises 26 academic programs including liberal arts (BA/BS) and professional (BFA, BM, BMEd) degrees in art, design, dance, music, and theatre. It includes graduate programs in the fields of arts administration (MFA, MA), music education (MME), and music technology (MM). More than 60 full-time faculty and staff are engaged in teaching and mentoring over 900 majors in the College. CPVA presents over 100 performances, lectures, presentations, and exhibitions each year and is affiliated with the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA), Utah Shakespeare Festival, and the Center for Shakespeare Studies. Southern Utah University is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD), National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) making SUU the first public university in the state of Utah to be accredited by all four associations. For more information about the College of Performing and Visual Arts, visit

Tags: Art and Design Illustration College of Performing and Visual Arts

Contact Information:

Contact the Office of Marketing Communication