Chelsea Kappius


student bio

Chelsie Kappius was born in Westminster, Colorado in 1988. She graduated from Julesburg High School in Julesburg, CO in 2007. She is a current Bachelor of Fine Arts student with an emphasis in Photography at the University of Colorado Denver. Her work often deals with the issues of immigration.

Her photographs have been exhibited in a solo exhibition at the Hippodrome Art Gallery in Julesburg, CO. The have also been exhibited in a group exhibition at the Midwest Center of Photography, Wichita, Kansas. She is also a recipient of two grants for her Migrant Worker Project from the University of Colorado Denver Office of Inclusion and Outreach and MAP ERC.

artist statement

I grew up in a right-wing home in rural Colorado. My viewpoint on culture & social issues were, like most kids, adopted from my parents. When it came to the issue of immigration, I dehumanized the individuals who were coming to the United States. Building a wall made total sense to me. It wasn't until Carlos, my husband, and taking an uninfluenced look at the world that my viewpoint began to change. Perception is everything. When the issue became a person, I was faced with a reality that things weren't as simple as I used to believe.

In Mexico, his family was in poverty and the drug cartel was a danger to everyone. Carlos moved to the Julesburg, Colorado when he was six years old. He and his family were detained at the border at gunpoint and held in cells for days before their visas were finally approved. His life here has been met with many challenges including the need to conceal his undocumented status.

This work represents my change in perception. I have chosen to do it in an abstract style. I have intentionally blurred Carlos in the image to represent the dehumanization of immigrants. I progressively make Carlos more in focus. This represents seeing the person first and having the human-to-human connection and understanding. I have mixed desolate landscapes such as a desert or a cold, empty, and dark field. I hope that this work inspires people to look at immigrants clearly, and have empathy.