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Japanese Artist Transforms Ordinary Rocks Into Highly Realistic Animals

Rock Art by Stone Artist Akie

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.

Japanese artist Akie is known for her incredible rock animals, which she creates using acrylic gouache.

Beagle Rock AnimalBird Painted Rock AnimalStone Painted PorcupineAkie Stone Artist Rock PaintingAnimal Rock ArtStone Painted to Look Like a SealRock Painted to Look Like a CatStone Painted to Look Like a DogStone Painted Like a Mouse

These before and after photos of the stones show just how impressive the transformations really are.

Rock Painted Before and ArtStone Artist AkieRock Art by Stone Artist AkieRock Art by Stone Artist AkieAkie Stone Artist Work in ProgressAkie Stone Artist Work in Progress

“To me, completing a piece of work is not about how much detail I draw, but whether I feel the life in the stone.”

Racoon Painted on a RockAkie Stone Artist Rock PaintingAkie Stone Artist Rock PaintingAkie Stone ArtistAkie Stone Artist Painted Rock ArtStone Artist AkiePainted Rock AnimalStone Painted to Look Like a Frog

Akie: Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Akie Nakata.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a writer, curator, and art historian living in Rome, Italy. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London. She cultivated expertise in street art led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.

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