Artist Akie Nakata Sells Her Stone Art Almost Instantly Via Facebook


It takes less than 10 minutes, and sometimes as little as two, for Japanese artist Akie Nakata to sell his hand-painted stones on Facebook. Just seconds after sharing a photo of his latest creation, a fan will stand up to buy it.

Although Nakata sells her work through the Seizan Gallery in Tokyo and the Ginza Mitsukoshi Department Store in Tokyo, Facebook has provided a way to expand her audience outside of Japan. His Facebook group currently has nearly 85,000 subscribers.

Nakata’s pieces are palm-sized river stones depicting detailed images of realistic animals, which she paints with acrylic gouache. His pieces have sold for between $ 300 and $ 1,500.

Let the animal emerge

Her artistic process does not begin with the intention of painting a particular animal, but rather the rocks she sees guide her. “I paint the animal that I feel is inside the stone, following the spine and the body structure that is visible on the stone,” she explains. “I believe that it is the stone which decides what should be painted, rather than me which decides … I color the animals which I feel inside the stones, in order to let them appear on the surface.”

“What I aspire to draw is something that has just been born in my hand, through my dialogues with stones. I want to paint the “life” of animals that I felt in stone, ”she says. “At the end of my painting process, when I put my brush on the stone to paint the eyes, there is that moment when I feel it’s over, when the eyes are looking at me.

“As a way of working, it’s important to me never to alter the shape of the stone – no polishing / sanding, or any application of undercoat,” says Nakata.

His work has included animals ranging from dogs and birds to lions, cats, owls, lambs, fish, elephants, possums, turtles, koalas and polar bears, to name a few. only a few. Although she has been painting since 2010, she says that she “only encountered five stones sheltering an octopus”.

Nakata collects her stones on several favorite banks of Saitama, where she goes to look for “good encounters with the stones”. Through these encounters, animal images emerge to him. “Stones are not for me canvases; they are more collaborative partners that I meet on the banks, ”she says. “Most of the time, I’m lucky enough to meet good people and I take several stones home, but other days I might not be so lucky,” returning home empty-handed.

A born artist

Nakata’s foray into stone painting happened almost by accident, as she was walking by a river while in college and “encountered a stone that just looked like a rabbit,” recalls. she. “I loved it and took it home, and painted it as the stone led me.”

“I’ve always loved drawing, natural stones and animals – all living things,” she says. However, his university education was not strictly in art – it was in arts education. “I studied in the education department to become a junior high school teacher,” she says, studying “the broad spectrum of the arts curriculum.” However, his painting process is self-taught.

Today, she devotes herself to her profession full time. This year, her goal is to create more than 100 pieces, although she says her workload, or productivity, varies depending on whether she has gallery exhibitions scheduled.

In addition to Facebook, Nakata has an account on Instagram and Twitter, where she posts her work as soon as it is available. She didn’t use any form of paid advertising and organically racked up 105,000 Instagram followers and 15,000 Twitter followers, in addition to her tens of thousands of Facebook fans.

“I always hope that every piece of my work reaches someone who enjoys the encounter with the stone, just as I enjoy my encounter with this particular stone,” says Nakata. She suspects her social media fan base has grown because her audience “feels empathy” for the connection she feels to the animal, stone, and earth from which it emerged.

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