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Kauai to the Big Island, Hawaiian Artists On the Move

Updated: Sep 23, 2023

Aloha to all the artists, art enthusiasts, and those who simply enjoy hearing about fun lifestyle adventures in paradise. It has been a while, and there’s much to catch up on!

Hanalei Bay on Kauai

My last blog entry dates back several years, and if you’ve read some of my previous blogs, you’d know they were penned during our time living on Kauai. Back then, I never imagined that we would leave the “Garden Island.” Our love for Kauai runs deep. Besides our sons (and grandson) residing there, we have numerous friends, business associates, and once operated a thriving art gallery (which closed in June 2023). Not to mention the world-class beauty of the island itself – all incredibly compelling reasons to stay.

But, setting those reasons aside, we now find ourselves on the Big Island, or as we affectionately call it, FBI (From Big Island).

Hawaiian Island Map
Map of Hawaiian Islands

The driving force behind this significant change in our lives was primarily the affordability of housing costs, along with the growing population density (both residents and tourists) and the resulting crowded conditions on Kauai. We decided to relocate to the Hilo side of the Big Island, precisely in Keaau, and we couldn’t be happier. We purchased a charming 3-bedroom home, which is seven years old, nestled in a cul-de-sac, accompanied by a one-acre lot that backs up to a forest preserve. I won’t delve into the pricing specifics, but I’d estimate it to be about half the cost of something similar on Kauai!

Steve  hanging sign at Hanapepe Gallery
Hashi's Fine Art Gallery Sign

This major life transition began taking shape about a year ago when we were unexpectedly asked to vacate our long-term rental. Initially, it was devastating news. We resided in a beautiful valley, in a quaint one-bedroom dwelling. The crown jewel of our living situation was a barn converted into an extraordinary art studio. I dare say that this barn played a pivotal role in our journey toward becoming professional artists. Being asked to leave prompted us to reevaluate the drawbacks of renting. We had both owned multiple properties in the past, but some inexplicable hesitation had prevented us from taking that step on Kauai. Well, hindsight is always 20/20!

The decision to choose the Big Island as our new destination wasn’t made overnight. We

contemplated various locations that would align with our retirement budget, including Mexico, the Philippines, and the Pacific Northwest. However, after weighing the possibilities of climate change-related disasters, cold weather, rising costs, and security concerns like cartel kidnappings, we found ourselves reminiscing about everything we loved about Hawaii.

In addition to what we already knew about Hawaii, our research indicated that buying a house on the Big Island remained a viable option. It’s important to note that in all of this, Jan took the lead, contributing about 99% of the effort. One of the many qualities I admire about Jan is her tenacity. She meticulously plans, discusses thoroughly, and once she has charted the course, you’d better step aside. It’s a perfect complement to my go-with-the-flow Pisces nature. At least it ensures we get things done!

As you can imagine, bidding farewell to Kauai was emotionally charged on multiple levels. Saying goodbye to family, friends, and acquaintances, as well as leaving behind many cherished places, was heart-wrenching. Deciding which possessions made the cut for the journey and orchestrating the logistics of moving years’ worth of accumulated belongings added to the complexity. Jan had spent about 13 years on Kauai, and I had been there for roughly 33 years. Our plan was to secure a 20’ shipping container, hoping it would accommodate all our desired items. While the logistics of booking, packing, trucking, and delivering the container presented its own set of challenges, the anticipation of the new chapter was exhilarating!

Home Sweet Home

Beyond dealing with our personal possessions, we also grappled with the closure of our cherished art gallery. We made the move to our Big Island home in August of 2022. Initially, our hope was to maintain the gallery remotely, but the reality proved to be much more daunting than anticipated. If I were to pinpoint our most significant challenge, it would undoubtedly be the struggle to find reliable staffing. You’ve probably heard the adage, “Hard to find good employees” before. In any case, come June 2023, we decided to call it quits.

Throughout our lives, Jan and I have adhered to the philosophy of “Getting rid of the old to make room for the new.” Our decision to close the gallery in June 2023 exemplified this principle. Shortly after we closed, we received an excited call from a North Shore Kauai gallery art curator.

This curator had been responsible for many of our early art sales nearly a decade earlier. Now Jan's art had been chosen to join the in-house art gallery at Kauai's new prestigious hotel. It was immensely gratifying to hear that we were the first two artists she thought of. We’ve been riding high ever since, and they are scheduled to open this September 2023!

Jan Hashi Art Project in Progress
Home on the Big Island

This opportunity to showcase our art in another gallery allows us to revisit working as commissioned artists rather than merely displaying art in a gallery we own. For those who aren’t in the art world, let me explain some of the ins and outs. If you’re not the gallery owner, the typical division of sales proceeds is 50% to the artist and 50% to the “house.” It might sound steep, and sometimes it is, but it covers sales staff salaries, packing and shipping, promotional expenses, and merchandising. As you can see, these were some of the challenges we grappled with as gallery owners living on a different island.

I mustn’t forget to mention that one of the upcoming projects is the construction of a new art studio with sweeping forest views!

Anyway, it’s been a pleasure sharing some of the intricacies of our significant move and reflecting on what we’ve accomplished so far. Stay tuned for more updates in the next blog post. I’ll delve into some of our discoveries on the Big Island, our favorite local spots, upcoming events, and the progress of our exciting house remodeling projects.


Steve Hashi

Are you interested in seeing our latest work? Check out Hashi's Fine Art Gallery.

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