Okinawa is great source of inspiration for local artists

By David Higgins

Okinawan artist Nori, sketching a picture of a subject, draws her inspiration from the ocean.

The Ryukyu Islands were involved in trading for nearly 200 years, and Okinawa was once a bustling maritime trading hub in Asia.  Some of the goods Okinawan people would offer were crafted from their creative spirit such as beautiful pottery and lacquerware.

A pair of wood carvings by Gino, who hails originally from Chicago, but prefers Okinawa because of the vibrant colors of the nature here.

Living on Okinawa Island has the power to stimulate artistic creativity, probably because of the lack of distractions that large cities seem to draw us away from. Gazing upon beautiful landscapes and sunsets makes for the perfect environment to evoke the creative intent.  One artist living in Okinawa goes by the name of Gino.  Gino owns a bar in Okinawa City called Gino’s Bar but is an artist at heart and displays his art in the bar. If you are ever in Okinawa City for the nightlife, you should visit Gino’s Bar.  The bar’s walls are decorated with Gino’s painting, carvings, and

Gino’s Bar is decorated with his work that include paintings, carvings and sculptures.

sculptures.  Gino is originally from Chicago and has a few thoughts regarding living as an artist on Okinawa.  He says, “Okinawa is the center of the far eastern world and it’s very spiritual for that reason. I like to think of it as a power spot that has the ability to generate ideas from its wide range of colors; the sun, the ocean and the green-colored mountains give me inspiration to create. It keeps me feeling young and alive.”

Some artists in Okinawa not only want to create, but want to pass on the art of creating through instruction. Local artist, Nori, lives by the Sunabe Seawall and confesses that the Okinawan ocean is her inspiration.  Her work can be spotted on boards of local surfers who surf off the Sunabe Seawall, and she also teaches art in her home and at public schools in Okinawa.  Nori says, “The inspiration for my art comes from the nature that surrounds us, my family and especially my dog. I get great satisfaction teaching students how to express themselves through art.“ If you are interested in taking Nori’s Life Drawing Class you can contact her through email at

A sketch by Lovet Harris, another American artist on Okinawa.

Artists can also get their inspiration from other sources than the natural environment on Okinawa Island.  Local artist, Lovet Harris, pulls his inspiration from the streets of Okinawa City.  Lovet is originally from Washington DC but has settled in Okinawa and feels he could never create better art anywhere than here.  You can find street pieces done by Lovet all over the Koza area of Okinawa City.  On June 14, 2014 Lovet will be hosting an exhibition showcasing his artwork at the Back Born City Live in Awase, Okinawa.  Lovet Harris says, “Some of pieces of art I have created were in Koza Music Town while listening to some local home grown musicians. Art humbles me, it makes me strive to do better and I have had great satisfaction giving pieces of my art to friends as a gift and watching it put smiles on their faces.” If you want to contact Lovet Harris you can contact him through email at

Whether you use a sketchpad, a paintbrush or carving tools, Okinawa provides blissful conditions and inspiration for anyone to explore their creative side.  Because Okinawa is small, there are not as many financial opportunities for artists, but where there’s a will there’s a way, and there are artists who have found their niche and are able to maintain a reasonable income creating art.  Whether your inspiration to create art stems from the beautiful surroundings and energy emanating from Okinawan nature or from the incredible people living on Okinawa, it’s a great place to be living if you are an artist.

13:40 14 Jul , 2024