Published work in an international magazine? Rare. Published student work in an international magazine? Even rarer! This achievement has become reality for Shen Chen Hsieh and Andrew Haener with their winning work appearing in the first publication devoted entirely to the art of contemporary illustration, 3×3. Every year, 3×3 holds an illustration competition where artists from all around the globe send in their work in hopes of being represented in the printed “Annual.”
According to the magazine’s website, their mission is to not only “protect the legacy of the top illustrators in [the] field [and help] the best illustrators advance in their careers,” but also “help the next generation of illustrators learn from the experience of the current generation.” This desired representation of “next generation illustrators” is so acutely embodied in Shen and Andrew’s winning artwork created in their respective graduating semesters.
Shen graduated from Missouri State with a bachelor’s degree in both Graphic Design and Illustration, then continued her education at Missouri State in the field of Visual Studies. She graduated with a Master’s in Fine Arts this past May. After hearing the news of her first published work, Shen said she could not believe it. “I thought it was some kind of a mistake,” she laughs. After the shock passed, Shen was overwhelmed with excitement.
Andrew graduated from Missouri State in 2019 with a BFA in Design and Illustration. “I’ve been drawing stuff my whole life,” says Andrew, “but it took Missouri State’s Illustration program to channel my creativity into anything constructive.” His creativity has proven to be much more than just constructive, for his work (a single-panel cartoon) was previously published in Meatgrinder, which he explains as a “Highlights but with gross stuff for meat heads,” as well as the humor website, Points in Case. Though, this is the first time Andrew’s work will be printed in an actual book. Like Shen, his immediate response was surprise. “I freaked out and had to re-check the email message a few times before I believed it was real,” says Andrew. For years he had been sending work to them, so this news is even more exciting.
Shen’s winning illustration, as well as the rest of her body of work stems from inspiration within herself; most of her works include a character she uses to represent her mental state. “The girl [represented in many of my works] is an avatar that expresses my mind, emotions, and feelings that I carry every day,” explains Shen, “the character [illustrates] how my struggles, anxieties, and burdens of thoughts weight [me down].” Seeking to express her voice through art, she found a way to relate her internal feelings externally through creating something new. Regarding the future, Shen is interested in incorporating graphic design and art in her career seeing as she studied both, along with teaching graphic design to students and continuing to create her own works.
Andrew receives inspiration for his work through the weirdness of humans, science fiction movies, and old children’s books. Painting a mural and experimenting with long-form graphic storytelling are some of his future goals, as well as working with new technologies like alternate and virtual reality.
Published work is high praise and especially exciting for students in the Art + Design field looking to the future. Congratulations to Shen and Andrew on this incredible achievement!