First SUU illustration student accepted at the 3×3 international fair

Published: October 13, 2021 |
Author: Ashley H. Palmer |
Category: Arts

Kalen Fernandez, who graduated from SUU in April 2021, participated in the international student art competition 3×3 Magazine Annual Student Show before graduation. Several of his works have been chosen to be exhibited in the online gallery and printed in the annual book. He is the first SUU student to enter this particular and prestigious international fair.

Hala Swearingen, Associate Professor of Illustration at SUU, shares, “Kalen is the first art student at SUU to be accepted for artwork in the 3×3 International Illustration Competition. 3×3 is one of the top three international illustration fairs and is judged by key industry professionals – art directors, graphic designers, editors and illustrators. Bringing one piece into the show is a huge accomplishment, but having multiple pieces participate is even more remarkable! Kalen was an outstanding student throughout his years at SUU. This spring, the work Kalen submitted in 3×3 was featured in his final senior BFA exhibition at SUMA. He does a fantastic job and has built a body of professional artwork to launch his career. In addition, he teaches us two drawing sections 1 in the art and design department. I am truly privileged to work with him!

3×3 is the first publication entirely devoted to the art of contemporary illustration. Published in the United States and distributed worldwide, their sole interest is to share what shapes international illustration. Their mission is to preserve, protect and promote illustration in all its forms.

SUU Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration alumnus Kalen Fernandez said, “I was super excited to get into 3×3. I participated in many competitions last year and did not participate in any shows. It’s a normal process though, and you should keep biting the bullet despite the results. The judging process for 3×3 takes months, so at the time the results were released, I wasn’t aware of it. To make matters worse, my acceptance email went to my spam inbox, so I almost missed it! When I found out that I had succeeded, I was giddy. Getting an award of merit and seeing Southern Utah University compete against top international art schools was truly satisfying.

Fernandez went on to say, “As far as preparing for professional work, I think one of the main things competitions prepared me for was rejection. A competition does not necessarily define the value of your work. Some people will like it, some won’t. Art is weird like that. You just need to keep applying and be confident in your abilities. I also learned to check my spam more often. In case.”

Congratulations to Kalen Fernandez for being accepted into the 3×3 Magazine Annual Student Show and for receiving an Award of Merit. For more information about SUU’s Department of Art and Design, please visit

About the College of Performing and Visual Arts

The College of Performing and Visual Arts (CPVA) at Southern Utah University includes 26 academic programs, including liberal arts (BA/BS) and professional (BFA, BM, BMEd) degrees in art, design, dance, music, and theater . It includes graduate programs in the fields of arts administration (MFA, MA), music education (MME), and music technology (MM). Over 60 full-time faculty and staff are engaged in teaching and mentoring over 900 College majors. CPVA presents more than 100 performances, lectures, presentations and exhibitions each year and is affiliated with the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA), the 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), the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and the National Association of Schools of Theater (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

Key words:
Art and design
College of Performing and Visual Arts

Contact information:

Ashley H Palmer, Public Relations and Information Coordinator
[email protected]