T-Bird Illustrators Shine Bright at Illustration West 62

Published: February 12, 2024 | Author: Kol Gibson | Read Time: 6 minutes

Illustration West 62 Official Poster by Martin French, 2023.Southern Utah University Department of Filmmaking, Art, & Design (FAD) proudly announces that three of its talented students, Zoë Petersen, Jess Hebertson, and Cadence Lewis, along with SUU alumna Emma Clove, have achieved the remarkable feat of having their work selected for the prestigious Society of Illustrators Los Angeles Competition - Illustration West 62.

In its 62nd year, Illustration West is an annual competition organized by the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles, one of the two esteemed illustration societies in the United States. This highly competitive event is open to both professional and student illustrators from around the world, showcasing the best in contemporary illustration.

All three SUU students had multiple works accepted into Illustration West, which is underscored by the fact that only 21% of the submitted pieces make the cut. Hala Swearingen, associate chair of FAD and illustration professor says, “When students get in this exhibition, it shows that their work is standing above the competition at a national level. It’s like the art industry is saying: Good work, you picked the right major!”

Headshot of Cadence Lewis.Cadence Lewis, whose submitted works tell small stories, is proud of the work she submitted, although she was nervous for other people to see them. She comments, “I spent a lot of time and effort on both pieces, so I’m acutely aware of their flaws. However, I’m still proud of them and I’m grateful for the experience and opportunity to be a part of the show.” She continues, “The experience of working hard to improve my skills and connecting with people through the art I share is very rewarding and worthwhile.”

Headshot of Jess Hebertson.jpeg"I was super excited when I learned that my pieces were accepted," says Jess Hebertson. "I think it's common for artists to doubt their skills and to wonder if their hard work is worth it. Getting work accepted by the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles helps settle some of that doubt." Jess' two works, which are reduction prints, deal with how ideas of home can shift as people grow and change. Her perception of studying art grew and changed at SUU. She reflects, "There is this idea that studying art is just learning how to draw realistically or learning about materials and techniques, but that doesn't paint the whole picture. While studying Illustration, I've learned how to create and push ideas, how to communicate verbally and visually, and how to have gumption and grit. Studying art is about training your brain to understand and observe the world differently."

Headshot of Zoe Petersen.

Zoë Petersen was thrilled to find out that three of her pieces were accepted into the Illustration West 62 Exhibition. “It is an honor that my work will live next to the work of so many wonderful artists,” she says. “Studying at SUU has pushed me to learn things I wouldn’t have on my own, but most importantly, I’ve found community. I’ve learned how to work with other artists, tried using materials that were outside of my comfort zone, and my ideas are stronger for having discussed them with others.”

Zoë’s work, which is whimsical, colorful, and people-focused, tells stories about people encountering newness in the world. Her piece “You Have Time To Try Again” is a comic about her journey with knitting. As a young girl, she asked her mother to teach her to knit, but because it was tricky, she left it behind. Many years later, she picked up the yarn and needles again and found success. It’s about the power of frustration and the joy of pushing through it, even when trying again takes time.

Headshot of Emma Clove.Emma Clove graduated in 2019 and works as a freelance artist, as well as an artist for Harmons Grocery. The work she submitted was a poster she created for a book sale at a local Utah library. The poster highlights the fun of summer and emphasizes the importance of reading for kids. “I love realistic art that has a touch of fantasy to it,” she says. “My work is nostalgic and inspired by old picture books from the golden age of illustration.”

Each of these T-Bird illustrators credits specific professors for their invaluable mentorship, each expressing gratitude for their unique guidance. Cadence reflects on her journey, offering sincere appreciation to both Ben Sowards and Hala Swearingen for imparting profound wisdom and skill throughout her studies. Zoë singles out Professor Swearingen for serving as a beacon of encouragement and Brock Landrum for being her bridge between illustration and graphic design. Like her peers, Jess says that Hala has been instrumental to her success and that she owes much of who she is as an artist and a person to the Illustration program at SUU. Meanwhile, Emma extends her thanks to Hala and her husband Greg, recognizing their instrumental role in her transition into the world of freelance artistry post-graduation. The collective influence of these outstanding faculty members illustrates the profound impact dedicated mentors can have on shaping budding artists’ careers and outlooks.

The Southern Utah University community congratulates Zoë Petersen, Jess Hebertson, Cadence Lewis, and Emma Clove for their outstanding achievement and recognition in Illustration West 62. Their success is a testament to their exceptional talent and the quality of education offered by SUU's Department of Filmmaking, Art, and Design. To learn more about Illustration West 62, visit www.illustrationwest.org/62/.

 Works by Cadence Lewis (Follow on Instagram @figmintz_)

Interrupted Study by Cadence Lewis.

Interrupted Study

Artifact Discovery by Cadence Lewis.

Artifact Discovery

Works by Jess Hebertson (Follow on Instagram @jesshebertsonart)

Head Above Water by Jess Hebertson.

Head Above Water

Outgrown by Jess Hebertson.jpeg


Works by Zoë Petersen (Follow on Instagram @ziptothemoon)

You Have Time To Try Again by Zoe Petersen.

You Have Time To Try Again

Pink Puddle Problems by Zoe Petersen.

Pink Puddle Problems

Acts of Bravery by Zoe Petersen

Acts of Bravery

Work by Emma Clove (Follow on Instagram @clove.emma)

Booksale by Emma Clove.jpg



About the College of Performing and Visual Arts

The College of Performing and Visual Arts (CPVA) at Southern Utah University comprises 41 academic programs including liberal arts (BA/BS) and professional (BFA, BM, BMEd) degrees in art, design, dance, filmmaking, 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 which are complemented by the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA) and Shakespeare Studies at SUU, and is affiliated with the Tony award-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival (USF). 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 www.suu.edu/pva.

Tags: Art and Design Illustration Filmmaking Alumni Art Filmmaking Art and Design College of Performing and Visual Arts Competition

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Kol Gibson