Japanese artist Akie Nakata, who simply goes by Akie, has a unique way of looking at the world. While many would simply pass over a rock or a stone, Akie is able to see their potential. For the past nine years, she’s taken ordinary stones and transformed them into something magical using paint. Under her watchful eye, these rocks become highly realistic animals that fit into the palm of your hand.
Using only acrylic gouache—no pen—and working with tiny brushes, Akie carefully brings each animal to life. In reality, the creative process begins from the moment she spots a rock. Its natural shape helps inspire what animal it will become. “Stones have their own intentions, and I consider my encounters with them as cues to go ahead and paint what I see on them,” she shared with My Modern Met.
From cuddly dogs and curious cats to various frogs, birds, and mice, there is no animal that Akie can’t make magically appear before our eyes. Her talent has garnered her a huge following on Instagram and Facebook, where the stones she makes available for purchase are usually snapped up quickly.
Occasionally, Akie will also post before and after photographs of her rock art. When viewed side by side, Akie’s work is even more impressive. Natural markings might become eyes and a pointed edge may transform into a nose—with Akie, anything is possible. For the artist, it’s all about bringing the animal to life and hoping that its future owner will enjoy it as much as she does.