Akie Nakata is a superb talented stone artist from Saitama, Japan who finds the animals hiding in their contours and paints them on the stones. “I want to paint the life, the living spirit of the being I feel inside the stone,” she says. The self-described stone artist creates impressively realistic animals without ever actually altering the stones themselves. When she looks at all those numerous stones on a river bank her eye will be caught by that one stone that looks like an animal. And when she finds that stone she feels the stone has also found her.
To me, stones are not simple materials or canvases for painting pictures on. Among all those numerous stones on a river bank, one stone, looking like an animal, catches my eye. When I find a stone, I feel that stone has found me too. Stones have their own intentions, and I consider my encounters with them as cues they give me it’s OK to go ahead and paint what I see on them.
So the stones I decide to paint on are not arbitrary, but my significant opposites with whom I have established a connection, which inspires me to work with them. In my encounters with the stones and in my art, I respect my opposites in toto, so I never process stones, and would never cut off an edge to alter the shape. Stones may fall outside our usual definition of living organisms, but when I think of the long time it takes for a stone to change from a huge boulder in the mountains to the size and shape it has, as rests in my palm, I feel the history of the earth that the stone has silently witnessed over the millennia, and I feel the story inside it. I feel the breath of a life inside each stone, so sometimes I paint while I talk to the stone as I hold it in my hand.