Ventnor’s quirkiest shop a paradox for visitors

A QUIRKY Ventnor business, which opened just weeks before the first Covid lockdown kicked in, is challenging perceptions of visitors to the town.

Paradox Island, based on the High Street, is the brainchild of local artist, ‘Paradox’ Paul Woods.

Working in the 1980s as an architectural model-maker, Paul transitioned into props and special effects for advertising, television and film.

He later moved to the alternative scene in Berlin, where he lived for 20 years.

Paradox Island was opened in 2020 on Ventnor’s High Street.

Paradox Island is ‘two shops in one’, offering both a copy and print service and ‘trash-art’ gifts, made on the premises.

Paul said: “The shop is like Marmite — people tend to love it or hate it.

“Mainly, I buy things from charity shops and modify them in a simple but often confounding way. For instance, replacing Batman’s head with a household utensil.

“Most people giggle, some are curious enough to come inside, and some absolutely don’t get it.”

Paul opened the shop in March 2020, with his joy fleeting as he faced lockdown later in the same month.

The shop stocks a range of eccentric and eye-catching items.














This meant his vision of providing a shared space for Island artists, workshops, events, and Ventnor Fringe events, was placed on indefinite sabbatical.

Rapidly plotting a ‘Plan B,’ he made items to fill the shop, and occupy his mind during the sudden burst of free time.

Among the comments Paul has overheard from passers-by and customers are “very bizarre things in there,” “strange stuff” and “we’ll know where to come when we want to scare the grandchildren next time.”

More positive feedback has included: “the Isle of Wight’s Banksy,” “genius” and “this is the best shop in Ventnor.”

Paul is urging people to give something different and potentially provocative a whirl by visiting Paradox Island.

The shop opens from Tuesday to Saturday, 11am to 4pm, with contact details available online at



Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

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