A quick self-intro for those who don't know me. I'm a color pencil artist who draws life underwater, the deeper the better. I'm a member of Artists For Conservation and committed to using my art to help the ocean everywhere, but especially around Hawaii, my home for 12 years, my son's birth-place and my heart-home ever since. I'm originally from Sweden and Norway, a Canadian citizen, lived in Japan for more than 15 years and am fluent in that language. I raised my son there. We crossed the Pacific 3 times on freighters between Japan and Canada. After all that I'm finally back in Hawaii.
For decades I have had 3 main income sources, what I call my JAM - Japan, Art & Music. I have taught and tutored both English and Japanese. I've sold my art. I've sung and entertained for many years. Turns out that the marketing opportunities for each of these in today's Hilo are far better than I could have hoped for: every month 15 or more cruise ships arrive here, each with 2-3000 passengers (as well as Japanese tours), all of whom wander and shop the blocks-long downtown Bayfront area. This means an endless stream of new potential customers for my JAM and my ocean conservation message. And that's just one small town in the islands.
So far: I have a new series of drawings from the reef zone ready for reproduction into cards and prints and a juried gallery and stores ready to show my work. I am giving free (for now) nature illustration classes and volunteering a 10-week Japanese class for kids at one of the elementary schools. I will be busking for the Tohoku victims (the tsunami-hit area of Japan) on March 11, the 2nd anniversary of that disaster. So Solveig's Studio is up and running, but still only in place, warming up. First I need to re-establish legal residency.
I've been told by immigration that based on my situation this could be approved within 3 months of application. The entire procedure costs about $2000, and that's what this request is for. This is the breakdown: application fee to regain my resident status ($985), biometric fee ($85), medical exam ($250), visa petition ($420) and required lab fees ($?).
If you like (or love!) Hawaii and its ocean, if you like where I'm going with this, if you'd like to come visit when I get settled in, I have gifts for your gifts:cards, prints:Any amount will be gratefully accepted, and if this is a bad time, as it sadly so often is for a lot of us, root for me anyway and have a big cyber-hug!
(By the way, you may have noticed that I downsized my request - did some juggling and fiddling and decided that the core $2000 is what's most critical. I'm out of my comfort zone doing this...I've been told it's OK to at least ask...anyway, thanks for at least reading my story, and wish me luck!)