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Inspiring Creativity in the BVI

The BVI is blessed with rich turquoise waters, lush verdant hills, and endless sunshine which has inspired many great artists, writers, and musicians. Although the BVI is blessed with many notable creatives including Keidran ‘Iyaz’ Jones, Melanie Amaro, Foxy Callwood, and Joseph Hodge, they’re not the only ones who find the lushness of the BVI as creative inspiration for their works.

With the natural beauty of the BVI and the design inspiration that surrounds us, I’ve always found a great deal of motivation from other artists; therefore, I’ve asked a couple of local celebrities, musician Oren Hodge and sculptor Aragorn Dick-Read, to talk about where they find their creative encouragement.

FLAX – Personally, I find everything about the BVI to be inspiring. From the beautiful rolling green hills to the crystal blue waters and the sandy beaches, all of the BVI can inspire creativity in my architectural design; particularly as they reflect upon, and weave into the BVI’s natural beauty. With so much beauty around you, what inspires your creativity? 

HODGE – My music is inspired by my experiences and what is around me. I write about what I feel and this is usually triggered by the things I see. Just going to the beach or sitting at a different porch in another area or being on another island all seem to trigger different types of songs. I guess this makes me a rolling stone when it comes to my writing spirit, since I usually keep it moving to see what vibration will resonate with me, inspired by the sights and sounds of different locations. Afterward, I try to express the songs with a sense of simplicity so that they are relatable.

ARAGORN – My environment is crucial to my creative inspiration. I have studied in the UK and travelled around the world, but the stunning landscape of the BVI is where I wanted my studio. With the beautiful mangroves, lagoons, and reefs surrounding me, I am able to live in harmony with nature. From here, I can draw on local and global influences to create art that speaks to people all over the world.

FLAX – In architecture, we often speak of the importance of infusing our clients’ personal styles into the inspiration and design of their homes. I suspect in your creative arts your inspiration is also reflected in your lyrics and artistic works. Do you find this to be the case and do you have an example of how your inspiration is reflected in your style?

HODGE – My inspiration is definitely reflected in my style. My playing style is drawn to a simple, clean vibe. For example, I will take a complicated or busy cover song with beautiful lyrics and only play the necessary parts of the guitar so that the listener can focus on the lyrics. This tends to strike a chord with a particular emotion within the listener and makes for a better listener experience. I sometimes get complimented on my versions of some popular cover songs and I tend to feel that the delivery style is the biggest reason. ‘Simple minimalistic’ is also the style in which I carry myself personally.

ARAGORN – As a Tortola-born and local artist, the BVI is the inspiration behind many of my pieces. In both my local and international art, I pull from the natural beauty around the island to draw, sculpt, paint, and carve my various artisanal pursuits. Through my artistic style and energy, I create artwork that symbolises the unique wildlife and tropical landscape seen across the islands. I believe that living in the BVI has been key to sharing my creativity around the world.

FLAX – I find inspiration in the BVI everywhere. Just walking out my door, I’m frequently mesmerised by everything that surrounds me which plays into my architectural designs, paying homage to them instead of overpowering them. Similarly, have any of your works been inspired by the landscape and the environment of the BVI?  

HODGE – Things that I see and situations that I experience set the tone for the songs that I write. One of my more popular songs Hummingbird was conjured up while enjoying the view from my balcony and watching a hummingbird suckle on the bloom of an aloe plant on the side of a hill. I was just amazed at how time seemed to stand still and at that moment created the line that would start the song and open the channel for the rest of the lyrics to flow. I have also written a few songs inspired by the natural beauty of the Virgin Islands.

ARAGORN – Most recently I was inspired by the coral reefs around the Virgin Islands to create a metal sculpture for a private collector. My client is passionate about preserving our natural landscape and works adamantly to protect the marine ecosystems. I was proud to create a piece of art that reflects my artistic style, the fragile ecosystem of the Virgin Islands, and the cause they believe so deeply.

We’re all blessed that creative inspiration is everywhere with the BVI’s natural richness. Whether admiring the symmetry and asymmetry in yachts in our harbours, viewing the locally-inspired sculptures, or hearing the rhythmic vibes of our island culture, creativity is in everything we see, use and experience. It is my hope that we may all continue to be inspired from what surrounds us for our own creative expressions.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

OREN HODGE

Oren is a multi-talented BVI musician, vocalist, and songwriter who self-made a successful career doing what he loves. The legend of Oren grew over the years to where he is now a sought-after entertainer for the most high-end resorts/establishments to perform his brand of an eclectic mix. Oren claims he is now an ordinary person living an extraordinary life having entertained some of the world’s richest people and performing worldwide. Oren believes he who follows the path to his passion stops chasing his dream and lives it. Oren is a living testament to that.

You can hear and buy Oren’s works on his website: experienceorenhodge.wixsite.com/music  and iTunes.

ARAGORN DICK-READ

Born in Tortola, Aragorn expanded his artistic techniques to include pottery, print making, design, and metal works beginning from his European education. Travels throughout the Caribbean, Europe, Russia, the Balkans, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Southern Africa, Morocco, North, South, and Central America have inspired and stimulated his belief in the magic of art as a unifying human force.

Aragorn enjoys working in all mediums, but chooses to sculpt in metal for its permanence. His works have been exhibited in London, New York, St. Barths, Antigua, and Tortola.

Aragorn is also co-founder of the Caribbean Artisan Network: caribbeanartisan.net 

Marvin E Flax

Marvin E Flax

Marvin is the Managing Director of OBM International, leading the global master planning, architecture, and design firm in its Tortola office. Creative by nature, Marvin uses the beauty of the BVI for inspiration.
Marvin E Flax

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