Illustration Grad Recognized by the Society of Illustrators New York

Published: May 01, 2024 | Author: Kol Gibson | Read Time: 4 minutes

Jess Hebertson poses in front of her BFA Exhibition at SUMA.

SUU’s Department of Filmmaking, Art, & Design (FAD) is proud to announce that recent Illustration graduate, Jess Hebertson (@jesshebertsonart), has been chosen for the highly esteemed Society of Illustrators New York Student Scholarship competition. Hebertson’s exceptional work has earned a coveted spot among the nation’s top emerging illustrators, marking a significant milestone in her artistic journey.

The Society of Illustrators New York Student Scholarship competition, a beacon of recognition in the industry for over 40 years, attracts submissions from college-level students across the country. Each year, a panel of esteemed professionals meticulously evaluates entries based on criteria such as technique, concept, and skill of medium used, seeking the most outstanding and original pieces.

“This show has thousands of entries each year, and having work accepted into this elite exhibition is the highest honor a student can attain,” explained Hala Swearingen, SUU Professor of Illustration. “Jess deserves this recognition! She works so hard and is dedicated to building her skills and talents. Getting into this show is a message to her that professionals in the Illustration industry acknowledge her work as some of the best in the country.”

The Yellow Wallpaper by Jess HebertsonThe piece of Jess’ work that was accepted into the show was “The Yellow Wallpaper,” which is one of a series of book covers of classics written by women that she made for her senior capstone project. This project was displayed at the Southern Utah Museum of Art during the Senior BFA Exhibition Incandescent, which ran from March 18 to April 26. Jess masterfully captures the haunting spirit of the book, which tells the story of a woman who slowly descends into madness because of her stifling, controlling husband and the menacing yellow wallpaper that decorates their vacation home.

“I entered this piece knowing that it would be put up against some of the best illustrators coming from the top art schools in the country,” said Jess. “When Hala let me know that I was accepted, I was shocked and excited. In the history of SUU’s Illustration program, there have been less than ten students accepted into the exhibition, so I am very happy to join the ranks!”

Jess has now been honored by both major illustration organizations in the country. Earlier this year, she had two pieces accepted into the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles show Illustration West 62. “I never thought I would get my art into even one of these competitions, much less two! It is a huge vote of confidence, especially as I’m graduating and starting my career as an illustrator,” said Jess.

While Jess’ success is due to her exceptional skill and creativity, it is also a testament to the people who have helped her become the artist she is now. She said, “Anyone who knows me knows that I’ll take any opportunity I can to sing the praises of Hala Swearingen, but Eric Brown is also one of the most engaged and supportive professors I’ve ever had.” While they aren’t professors or mentors, Jess said that some of the people who have helped her the most have been her classmates. “Zoë Petersen and Amariah Freeman are the most incredible, inspiring, and supportive people. Without their input, encouragement, and kindness, I wouldn’t be creating the work that got accepted into these competitions.”

Jess and her fellow honorees will be celebrated during an exclusive Opening Reception at the Museum of American Illustration on Friday, May 10, and her work will be on display at the museum from May 8 to June 8.


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

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Kol Gibson