Chelsea Nix and Mariano Cortez
Artists Chelsea Nix met her Argentinian husband, Mariano Cortex, in Calcutta, India in 2012. Nix and Cortez, a husband and wife photography team, specialize in travel photography. They have been recognized and published by National Geographic in 2016, 2017, and received an award in the International Travel Photographer of the Year 2017. In 2018, “THE STRING PROJECT”, a series of taken around the world was launched in Grand Rapids Michigan at an art competition called ArtPrize. The project received the Grand Prize award, the Latino Award, and was selected by the jury to be the winner of the two-dimensional category.
“THE STRING PROJECT” began in January 2018 and features photographs from Africa, Europe, Asia, North and Latin America. The couple’s focus has been on creating a project that connects the viewer to the image in a more tangible way, bringing the photograph to life. In “THE STRING PROJECT” all of the people hold the same simple white string, “a visible representation symbolizing an invisible connection.” When exhibited, all the photos look like they are linked together by a string.
Nix and Cortez believe that “we are all connected” and wanted to demonstrate that through a social art piece. “We are all part of this world: we love, we suffer, these are all things that we have in common, that connect us. The physical string visually represents a connection that cannot be seen with the naked eye. The project is a reminder that highlights some of the most valuable things in life: respect, hope, peace, compassion, love, empathy, integrity, … authentic and genuine interactions that humans crave,” said Cortez.
Working on “THE STRING PROJECT” has taken Nix and Cortez to places they never thought they would go, exploring different jobs, lifestyles, and forms of hospitality. “We feel that besides our culture and physical differences there are essential things that are similar in all human beings,” said Nix. The exhibition contains a collection of 40 printed photographs representing 4 continents, featuring our newest Cuban series of string photographs taken in November 2018. The Cuban portraits highlight not only historical sites and landmarks, but also locals living out their daily routines including artists, students, and teachers who are Cuban project partners that WKU Art2Dream Art Education program has collaborated for the exhibit entitled; The Island of My Love: Faces and Stories of Cuba. The string helps the viewer connect to all the different people, making the variety of lifestyles and cultures more relatable.