AFC Conservation Artist of the Month for October, 2016
Solveig's commitment is to the conservation and protection of the ocean, to help fund clean-up operations, buy supplies and equipment, and support research and education.
Hawaii's marine ecosystem is facing threats from several directions. As a small cluster of islands in the middle of the Pacific, its environment, both sea and land, is fragile and embattled. The beautiful yellow tang for example is being rapidly depleted due to harvesting for the aquarium trade, a fate they share with other reef dwellers. Unregulated and lucrative, this trade alone has wrought much damage, yet it is only one of many challenges facing the islands.
The cornerstone of her work is this: far too much has been lost, but there is still so much left to save. "The more I can share my art, the beauty and the data, the more I can use my international background and my languages to spread the word, the happier I'll be!"
"When I raised my son in Japan, I was an English teacher. I like the art of teaching, but far prefer to teach art. So on my 70th birthday on June 3, 2016 I reached a 20-year-long goal and launched The Art Dojo for Nature Illustration here in Hilo,Hawai'i. Its discipline is similar to the training I received in karate: patience, focus, motor skills. Good for life, not just the dojo. I will be working with Grades 4,5 and 6 students around the island to help create tile info-murals depicting life down the slopes of Mauna Kea, through the sunlight, twilight and midnight zones."
Born in Sweden and raised in Norway and Canada, nature is what I "naturally" began to draw: flowers, birds, frogs she saw, that stayed still long enough. "In my mid-twenties I moved from Vancouver to Kyoto, Japan to study ceramics. A one-year venture turned into five, and by then I was (and still am) deeply in love with Japan. Drawn to warmer oceans, I chose Hawaii and ended up, serendipitously, in Hilo, where I eventually graduated from UH Hilo majoring in Japanese Studies. Then I had my Scandinavian/Japanese/Hawaiian son and chose to raise him solo in Japan, where we lived for an additional 12 years."
In the summer of 2010, as the Gulf of Mexico convulsed with oil, she decided to use her art to help with the education, protection and preservation of my beloved ocean. This journey involved finally relocating from her Canadian home to Hawaii.
"In the interim I've been drawing from the sunlight zone - the reef-dwellers and bejeweled shallow-water dancers, as well as doing some jungle-flowers and fauna. I research each and include names and some interesting info. I love the meld of art and science, a perfect full circle back to marine biology, my first intended career."
Now finally authorized to work in the USA, Solveig just launched her nature illustration classes she calls The Art Dojo. The goal is teach and encourage the art and discipline of nature illustration as not just beautiful pictures, but a powerful conservation and education tool.
"What we are learning about the ocean and its inhabitants is almost as much fun as drawing them. New technology has made it possible to add vast amounts of previously unknown data and stunning images from the deep; seeing how little we know about this realm and how fast it's being destroyed is as exciting as it is heartbreaking."
"I am also honored to have my work displayed at One Gallery in Hilo, a beautiful space in a beautiful location. Now I can finally promote my work and my message ("Draw nature, lots!"). I will continue to use my fluency in Norwegian, English and Japanese with music to engage and connect as far and wide as I can, to "draw" attention to how much more there is still left to save."