I am French, from the Sothern part of the country. I came to the United States on a student visa to study business administration at Boston University. I really liked the United States and after graduating I did not want to go back home to France. I could not continue studying or working, so I realized that I need an immigration lawyer fast. I am a self-taught artist and for years I have been creating paintings, murals, art installations, mosaics using materials like tiles, coins, bricks. I like incorporating pop and rap culture into my art, reflect on the political news and social problem through my paintings. I like blending surrealism, modernism, expressionism. I guess I am a mixed-media artist. It turned out that this side of my life helped me immigrate.
I found information about Marina Shepelsky on the web, read reviews and made an appointment. During our meeting, Marina asked about my education and work She tried to connect what I do (art) with business. But I am not a businesswoman, so Marina came up with another plan. It turned out that I am an artist good enough to get a “genius” visa. I am not about self-promotion, but I had a lot of exhibitions in France, Japan, and the United States. Some of my works were bought by collectors and featured by art curators.
Marina advised me to apply for an O-1 visa for foreign workers with extraordinary ability in arts. I was really happy that this avenue was open to me. I have collected reviews of my work, asked for letters of recommendation from other artists, collected photographs of my exhibitions. I did not pay much attention to my website and how I promote my art, but thanks to Marina I jazzed up the website.
For an O-1 visa, one must have an employer in the United States. I was lucky. I found an antique store that invited me to work on the restoration of antique furniture and art objects.
After I got the O-1 visa I started collecting documents to apply for a green card as an outstanding artist. Since the time I got my O-1 visa and moved to Brooklyn, I created a collection of artwear. An amazing corsetiere handcrafted a collection of jackets in Paris, and I painted them. The jackets were exhibited in an artfashion gallery and sold for $3000-5000 each. Marina included this in my green card application, we printed out promo materials, articles in the media about my works. We again collected letters from experts (this time it was for the green card called EB-1).
For the O-1 visa I was sponsored by the antique store. Now, on the advice of Marina, I “sponsored myself”, because the green card application allows avoiding having an employer and get the green card on the grounds of my achievements as an artist.
I was so confident about the green card application that I told Marina that I can go to the interview without her or another attorney. It went well, my green card was approved and I am now a happy green card holder, almost 100% American!