Imagine your favourite childhood stuffed animal in a more adult-friendly form and you will instantly recognise this artist’s incredibly realistic and adorable paintings.
Japanese painter Akie Nakata, who goes by just Akie, finds stones and rocks and transforms them into the cutest animal paintings ever. The works are small enough to hold in your hand and true to every detail of the creature they are representing.
From owls, to octopuses and even otters cradling their pups, Akie’s artwork is thoughtful, detailed and absolutely heart-warming. She actually takes inspiration from the natural shape of the stones she finds to decide what animal she is going to paint on them, believing that each rock is in a way destined to become the artwork.
Having collected stones since childhood, Akie did her first-ever stone painting in 2011 after discovering a pebble that looked a lot like a rabbit. She told My Modern Met, ‘Stones have their own intentions, and I consider my encounters with them as cues… to go ahead and paint what I see on them.’
But even once Akie decides what animal she is going to paint, she does not go about any aspect of her practice nonchalantly. She is careful to make sure that every visual aspect of the animal is placed on just the right portion of the stone so as to mimic its shape as accurately as possible. She then uses acrylic paint to make her vision a reality.
According to Akie, a painting is finished when ‘the eyes are now alive and looking back [at her]. To me, completing a piece of work is not about how much detail I draw, but whether I feel the life in the stone.’
In this goal, the self-taught artist definitely succeeds as she breathes life into rocks and creates objects of exceptional beauty and depth.