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Commentary: The art of adapting literature to television is strategic – Queen's Journal

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Adapting books to television is not a new phenomenon, but in the past couple of years, the popularity of series based on bestselling novels seems to be heightened.

From The Handmaid’s Tale to You and Bridgerton, there is now a distinct correlation between the bestseller list and the stories production companies feel need to be seen.

It’s hard to pinpoint when the domino effect of television adaptations began, but it’s clear that HBO, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and even the BBC have caught on to the trend.

The shows we all love and consistently choose to watch have arguably done best when they are adapted from existing literature. The Handmaid’s Tale is as affective, if not more, when we watch it amidst rising political chaos in the United States. Its dystopian setting is haunting as ever, especially when the show departs from the plot of the book after season one.

It seems as though television creators are hand-picking social trends and mixing them with the nuanced writing of respected literature to best captivate audiences. There is an art to this combination of pre-existing literature and new conversations, but production companies are getting pretty close to mastering it.

HBO has trademarked a certain kind of story that is almost guaranteed to be popular: a rich, white family with a secret that could unravel their entire world.

Big Little Lies, Little Fires Everywhere, and the upcoming adaptation of The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett all fall into this structure. Their similar elements, coupled with layers of racial tension and a standout cast, are a one-way ticket to incredible audience reviews.

Netflix has taken a similar approach in combining existing trends with conversations around race and a post-colonial landscape in Bridgerton. Our fascination with period dramas is intensified by having the incredibly dreamy male love interest from 1813 London played by a Black actor.

Perhaps this speaks to the impact of our rising societal capacity to discuss, or start to acknowledge, the racist undertones of our worlds. Black Lives Matter protests and calls for social reform amidst a harsh political background have forced us to hear the words “systemic racism” and contemplate their meaning, while also seeing snippets of racial dynamics in the television we consume.

A byproduct of the relationship between page and screen may have a deep impact on the landscape of literature.

Having a book picked up by a major network assures money, exposure, and Hollywood contacts. Up-and-coming writers may now consider whether or not their novel could be adapted to a television series or movie, rather than solely focusing on the literary aspects of their books. However, the common thread between books that are picked up as shows is that they connect with their audience in some way.

If this trend of adaptation continues, it will be interesting to see what kinds of stories networks produce, and if authors attempt to market their work to production companies.

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Crypto art is gaining traction and one of its biggest stars is an artist from Thunder Bay – The Globe and Mail

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Artist Michah Dowbak was born and raised in Thunder Bay.

Mad Dog Jones

Last year at this time, Michah Dowbak had never heard of crypto art. Last week, his latest drop grossed more than US$4.3-million – the bulk of that in the space of five minutes. This has cemented the Thunder Bay-born and raised artist – who goes by the name Mad Dog Jones – as a crypto-art sensation, with the most successful primary drop to date on the Nifty Gateway platform.

“How do you describe making $4-million in five minutes?” Dowbak said a few days afterward. “My hands were numb, for one. I couldn’t feel my fingertips. My whole body was shaking.”

Crypto art is digital art with an attached unique identifier, in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT), on the blockchain. NFTs can’t be replicated and only the holder of the NFT can own that piece of crypto art.

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The work is offered in “drops” – online sales that generally happen in two ways. Buyers can purchase an open edition (think of it as a numbered print, in traditional art terms). Each edition is sold at a set price, but purchasers have only five minutes to buy. The other part of a drop is the auction of a 1/1 edition, a single unique work. Bids for those are taken for 23 hours.

Broadwalk by Dowbak, also known as Mad Dog Jones.

Mad Dog Jones

The sales are held on platforms such as SuperRare and Nifty Gateway, which is the site Dowbak uses. Nifty Gateway, which launched its platform last March, is owned by Gemini – the company founded and controlled by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the twins perhaps best known for their Facebook history.

The crypto-art market has grown steadily, building to a buzz now audible in the mainstream, in large part because of the artist known as Beeple (real name Mike Winkelmann). Beeple’s opus is currently for sale at Christie’s – the first time the storied auction house is selling a purely digital work. Bids are being taken over two weeks.

Separately, on Wednesday, a work of Beeple’s sold on the secondary market through Nifty Gateway for US$6.6-million.

Beeple made US$660,000 from that. Unlike traditional sales of art, artists in the digital space earn a percentage of secondary sales; 10 per cent is standard. This is a major departure from the fine art world, where an artist is paid only for the original sale.

The platform also takes a cut – on both primary sales and secondary sales.

Buyers often come from the crypto space, says Tommy Kimmelman, head of artist relations at Nifty Gateway. “It’s largely technical-minded people who inherently understand how this stuff works. But we are starting to expand into other demographics.” He says the platform did about US$8.5-million in sales in January and, in a staggering jump, more than US$50-million in February.

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Owners might display the art through their online profile – their website, social-media accounts, etc. It can also be cast to a screen, such as a TV or a tablet to show in a physical setting.

A common question, as people try to wrap their heads around this, is: Couldn’t somebody just screengrab the art and display it without actually owning it?

“Well, sure,” Dowbak says. “Somebody could also take a picture of the Mona Lisa. But they don’t own the Mona Lisa.”

Dowbak, 35, grew up around art; his father, Damon, is a glass artist and the family business involves stained glass windows. Michah and his brother Josh were sometimes used as models. “There’s a Last Supper window where I’m one of the disciples and my brother is Jesus,” says Dowbak during a phone interview, while out walking his dog Diablo in the rural community of Kaministiquia, outside of Thunder Bay, where he lives.

You can detect a stylistic influence from those early stained glass windows on Dowbak’s crypto art: the bright colours, the line work. The subject matter, however, is another thing. His work, as described by Nifty Gateway, is “a cyberpunk rendition of metropolitan lifestyle rooted in nature.” A black cat lounges in a laundromat as laundry spins in one of the machines and breaking news scrolls by on the television above. Or a taxi is stuck in a storm, its doors flung open as its hazard lights flash, along with lightning in a purple sky.

Music was his first career. A classically trained violinist, high-school turntablist and keyboardist, Dowbak played with Coleman Hell, who had a breakout hit 2 Heads, in 2015. Dowbak was also making art for bands – such as posters and album covers.

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He started his Mad Dog Jones Instagram page in 2017. The account gained traction and Dowbak’s design career took off. He did work for Diesel, the Snowpiercer TV series, the Conor McGregor Reebok campaign, Maroon 5′s Super Bowl halftime show. With the art career momentum, Dowbak stepped away from music.

He heard about crypto art last summer and was immediately intrigued. He did his first drop on Nifty Gateway in November: 100 pieces that he sold for one dollar each.

He did more drops and charged more. There was some income from secondary sales, too. One piece that originally sold for US$3,500 was purchased by a secondary collector for US$18,000. It was steady and encouraging.

Dowbak’s manager Jonathan Simkin, who runs 604 Records.

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In a deal he put together by his manager Jonathan Simkin – who runs 604 Records, Coleman Hell’s label – Dowbak collaborated with musician Deadmau5 for his next drop. (Digital art can also have a soundtrack.)

That drop grossed more than US$404,000. “Just total flabbergasted pandemonium of the mind,” is how Dowbak felt. “It was really a turning point.”

Still, it wasn’t clear how much of that success was due to the involvement of star musician Deadmau5.

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Another drop was planned for February 18. They called it Crash + Burn.

“There were a lot of eyes on this drop, in that world, to really get a sense of where the value is,” notes Simkin. “Did we gross [that amount] with Deadmau5 because of his name, because of Michah’s fan base, or a little of both?”

Why would I care I’m just a cat? by Mad Dog Jones priced at US$2,500.

Mad Dog Jones

There were two open collections: Why would I care I’m just a cat? priced at US$2,500 each and Déjà Vu, priced at US$5,000 each. The first sold 909 works; the second, 328. The 1/1 auction for Boardwalk sold for US$388,888. The total was more than US$4.3-million. Of that, US$3.9-million was raised in those first five minutes.

“You have to understand how insane it is,” says Simkin, who was watching from Vancouver. “I’m sitting there on Thursday when the timer starts: and I’m refreshing my screen … in disbelief, watching Michah becoming a multimillionaire in five minutes.”

Another part of Crash + Burn involved those pieces Dowbak sold for one dollar each, way back in November when he was a crypto-art rookie. He released seven new 1/1 artworks. But they couldn’t be purchased with money. The only way to get those pieces was to collect five of those US$1 works from his first drop and trade them for one of the new ones. Once the old works are sent to Dowbak, he destroys them (“burn” is the crypto term).

Déjà Vu by Mad Dog Jones.

Mad Dog Jones

That pushed up the secondary-market price of those works that originally sold for US$1 – benefiting Dowbak, sure, as the strategy drove up his prices, but mostly rewarding the people who had invested in him.

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“Holy crud,” he said at one point as we spoke late Wednesday night. One of those original US$1 pieces had just sold for more than US$47,000 and another for US$49,000, as a buyer attempted to collect five to trade them in for one of Crash + Burn’s new pieces.

Dowbak plans to pay off his parents’ mortgage, contribute to care for his nephew, who has autism; and give to charity. And continue to make art.

“What’s crazy, too – I don’t want to sound cocky, but the year is not done. There’s still more that we can do here,” he says. “And that’s what’s breaking my brain about this.”

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'He stood out': The art, life and struggle of Hamilton artist and outcast Philip Stone – Toronto Star

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He was born on Feb. 29, an unusual day for an unusual man.

Philip Stone would grow to become both a gifted visual artist and a flamboyant outcast — known as much for his ability to stand out as for his coveted art.

Stone saw magic in the world. He delighted in birds and butterflies, flaming flowers and swirling clouds. He explored femininity on the pages of drawings, as if femaleness was a side of him that needed to emerge. He found fantasy even in the surreal ways the mixture of colours change their hues. It all came out through paints on his palette, or the inks of the ballpoint pens he used.

“His passion was expression,” a friend recalls. “A sheet of paper, on a canvas, on his person.”

Living in an industrial city of starched collars and blue uniforms, Stone wore feathered caps and French berets, dramatic capes over patterned shirts with peacock blue pants held up by rhinestone studded belts. He was 6’2,” and made taller still by his metallic platform shoes. One pair had goldfish in the heels.

Some knew him as a dramatic, excitable and proud gay man, to others he was timid, quiet and shy. But they all say Stone was like a shooting star; a twinkle in the starry night, delightful in the moment but all too brief.

Stone would be dead at age 24, dying hours after he was beaten by two men in a community that had long made him feel as though he didn’t belong.

Yet even now, if you ask around, it’s not uncommon for someone to remember and ask about whatever happened to Philip Stone.

Hamilton was booming in the 1950s. Manufacturing giants Stelco and Dofasco were pumping out steel and ambitiously growing, while neighbouring operations produced everything from Studebaker cars to Lifesavers. With such growing business, Hamilton was called the “lunch-bucket city,” a place for industry, not art.

“So what? There are quite a few cities in Canada that wish they had what we have,” former mayor Victor Copps once wrote. “A good industrial base means jobs.”

Stone was born in 1952, the first child of Wesley Stone and June Little, a local couple who lived on Hamilton Mountain, a rapidly expanding suburban area atop the escarpment. Four more children — Steve, Marguerite, Marie and James — would follow. Wesley Stone worked for a bread company, while June stayed at home to raise the children.

Their house, situated on Mohawk Road East, was surrounded by expansive fields, giving the Stone children a vast space to play. It was there Philip Stone developed his fascination with nature. While his siblings were off jumping in the nearby creek and getting dirty, Stone would amble back and watch butterflies flutter about, the flowers dance in the wind and the bees gather nectar. He’d quietly consider what he saw and reproduce it all in a sketchbook with wildflowers he collected tucked inside. He did the same thing on family trips to conservation areas and the Canadian National Exhibition.

In the bedroom he shared with his brothers, Stone took up a corner to draw and paint. A crawl space was converted to a spaceship with boxes, tinfoil and paint. He would later paint spaceships and galactic scenes on another wall. Art and the act of creating seemed natural for him with a mother who painted water colours and did pottery. He was gentle and quiet, also like her. His voice was soft and effeminate.

Philip Stone, left, with his first brother Steve. Philip would grow to be a visual artist who identified as gay. Steve would become a police officer who struggled with his colourful brother's persona as he worked in a police force that was not friendly to the gay community.

As the boys turned to men, Steve Stone thought his brother Philip could not be more different from him. Steve was outgoing, athletic with a strong rapport. Philip was a loner, shy and docile. The difference was confusing for two so naive to the world.

“I felt my brother was a bit strange,” Stone says of his thinking at the time. “My friends would describe him as a fairy.”

While putting words to his sexual identity took time, Philip Stone was gay. His parents, sisters and younger brother accepted that but Steve did not understand him and he was not kind. In a heteronormative world with narrow social norms, he “didn’t know how to interact” with Philip. The two “disconnected,” he says. They went separate ways “like a fork in the road.”

Philip’s road took him to Hamilton’s downtown core, where there was more diversity and vibrancy than on the Mountain. He commuted daily to Central Secondary School, where he took up an intensive arts program and was thought to be “unassuming … but leagues ahead of (other students) because he already had a defined style.”

Primarily using bright ecoline inks, tempera paint and watercolours, he would craft surrealistic nature scenes and figures on thick stock paper. The scenes were often crammed with recognizable elements, such as birds, flowers, plants and insects, or abstract shapes with emerging humanistic touches. Often a female figure would be incorporated as a figure hiding or emerging from the rich matrix. It was as if he was portraying a female’s reflection on life, or exploring the perceptions of a female person.

As his art emerged and was noticed, Stone signed his work “North Troll.” He never explained the alias, but siblings and friends thought it was a result of a negative self-perception or a wish for discretion.

Still, Stone believed art was his future. There were “not a lot of avenues for an artist to make a living,” friend David Byers remembers, but there was no doubt being an artist was who he was.

Stone didn’t pursue any post-secondary training and instead found himself visiting coffee shops, studio spaces, galleries and even hair salons where creative types were known to hang out. He loved science fiction movies, listened to Led Zeppelin and was a dramatic storyteller. He devoured fashion magazines and went extreme with his personal style. The shirt and pants were colourful, the accessories were glittery and he was known to carry a black portfolio or decorated hat box. Paint was not limited to paper or canvas. He painted his shoes and his belts, designed rings and he stylized hats, once designing one as a gift for entertainer Liberace when he made an appearance at a bookstore.

“Phil was always flamboyant in his dress,” friend Lynne Powell recalls. “He stood out. … We were still a pretty redneck kind of town.”

Hamilton didn’t have much of a gay community scene. You could be “out” in artistic circles, a union hall was known to host gay dances and there were areas for cruising. There were a few discreet gay bars, but attendance could be dangerous. Hamilton was known for gang activity, where two dominant gangs staked turf over much of the city and were noted by law enforcement as “a constant problem.”

Police also were a concern. LGBTQ people largely saw officers as a threat, not allies. Stone and friends noted police seemed to hang out near the gay bars and thought they might accost them.

Among officers was Stone’s brother, Steve. He joined the Hamilton police force in 1972 and it was common for him to see Philip out downtown while he was on patrol. Steve tried to avoid him. The force was unfriendly to gay people, he says now, and he felt vulnerable to be seen as an ally to his outwardly gay and flamboyant sibling in front of ignorant colleagues or the gang members he was tasked with policing.

“Hamilton had a tough and rough side,” he says. “There was no tolerance for people who were different. It’s like there was an unspoken standard and if you were outside that standard, there could be trouble for you.”

Hamilton artist Philip Stone with friends David Byers and Pat O'Neill (both of the bands Simply Saucer and The Shangs) in the early 1970s.

Stone did not specify if that trouble came from police. In Toronto, it is well documented police often haunted gay venues where they harassed and intimidated members of the gay community. LGBTQ people were charged with various offences, even though same-sex sexual activity was decriminalized in 1969. Police activity culminated in the 1981 bathhouse raids that kicked off demonstrations in a fight for rights and a place to safely belong.

The conclusion for many was that “anyone who was gay might as well not (have) lived here.”

James Stone says Philip “didn’t care what anyone thought of his sexual identity and style. He didn’t like Hamilton.”

Philip Stone made regular visits to New York, Montreal and Toronto, living briefly in all of them. In Toronto, he hung out in the hippy bars of Yorkville and worked at a bathhouse mere blocks from the busy gay beer halls along Yonge Street.

All the while Stone continued to make his art and he began to sell some of it. Word spread quickly of his talent, including to prominent and powerful Hamilton families such as the Fortinos and the Brockers who all bought prints. A key friendship was with Bill Powell, an artist and entrepreneur who was, as The Hamilton Spectator reported, “a big-talking booster who was convinced that a city known for steel and gridiron also had a heart of artistic gold.” Powell would later co-found the Festival of Friends, a summer event for the arts. It continues to this day.

In the early 1970s, Powell and his wife Lynne ran a coffee house and art gallery on Augusta Street. They wanted a place for artists who, Lynne Powell says, had “a hunger (among artists) for a place to belong.”

The couple took Stone under their wing, framed his prints, displayed his work, hosted his first exhibition and got the word out. Prominent philanthropist and patron of the arts Irving Zucker caught on, bought many prints and championed Stone’s talent.

Powell came to see his creative process, as Stone was almost constantly drawing, painting and creating. She describes his method as intricate, “the most incredible process to watch. … It was almost like birth.”

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“By placing a human face centrally, Phil Stone then proceeds to introduce his almost baroque cornucopia of the fertile, almost hothouse environment, where everything is teeming with life, energy and growth,” a 1974 article in The Hamilton Spectator read. “His mannequinlike faces that emerge and recede from painting to painting may indeed present some new, escape world that has a life of its own.”

Another review said his art “may just be considered brilliant, without qualification.”

His prints eventually sold for up to $500. That would equate over $3,000 today.

Spending so much time together, Powell says Stone “had a way about him where everything was bigger than life. He went to Montreal, saw the Notre-Dame (Basilica) and talked of weeping at its beauty. He looked at things with wonder and amazement, almost childlike.”

The Powells also saw his drug addiction. Stone frequently used drugs — “you name it, he took it,” one friend said. On agreement with him, the Powells withheld his payments and divvied it out in rations to keep him from indulgence and excess. His drug use worked into his art. Later creations were increasingly described as fantastical, surrealistic and hallucinogenic, but they still sold like everything else.

Hamilton artist Philip Stone with friend David Byers, founding member of the bands Simply Saucer and The Shangs, in the early 1970s.

Stone seemed more certain of himself. He surrounded himself with artists, including artist Allan Oddly, figure skater and painter Toller Cranston and Byers, a musician and founding member of the bands Simply Saucer and The Shangs. Stone also dropped the name “North Troll” and began signing his work with his real name.

Even with the support he had from figures like Powell and Zucker, Philip Stone and friends in the arts felt opportunities were limited in Hamilton.

Discouraged, Stone briefly abandoned his work and took up working nights at a post office. But the call to create remained and he quit to return to his art. By September 1976, the drawing he was working on was intended as a wedding gift for his brother Steve even though they were still estranged.

“All he ever wanted was to exist for his art,” his father said.

His sexual identity and flashy fashion continued to make him a target for gangs and homophobic people. Someone called him “the strangest bird in town.” It was not uncommon for him to be denied service in stores or restaurants for how he looked and to be called derogatory names walking down the street. He was robbed and beaten up. Stone’s own brother Steve says it must have “been like torture.”

Stone told his sisters he was deeply depressed. He felt like an outcast.

“I can’t live anymore because society won’t accept me,” he told his mother.

It was late at night on a weekend in September when Stone and a friend were walking downtown and encountered two men outside a bar who taunted them and threatened a beating. A chase ensued, and while the friend was able to escape into a nearby hotel, the men caught up with Stone and he found himself at the brunt end of a violent altercation, unable to fight back. The Hamilton Spectator reported that in the scuffle Stone had been pushed into a moving car that didn’t stop to offer help.

Badly hurt, Stone walked the few blocks to the emergency room of a Catholic hospital. It was a fruitless effort. He said he was denied care and surmised it was because of who he was, while a nurse reported the department was busy and he was impatient.

“It was not a priority case,” a hospital spokesperson said at the time.

Stone’s parents visited him the next day and insisted he see a doctor. He said he’d wait it out. Calling police to report the incident did not seem like an option, even if his brother was an officer.

That was the last time anyone saw him alive.

Stone was found dead in his bed by friends late the next day, Sept. 20. The exact cause of death was not clear. It could have been an accidental overdose of pain medication, as the newspaper reported. It could have been suicide after his distress of the situation and years of harassment. But given the violent beating he sustained, Stone’s parents and siblings quietly believed he died as a result of his injuries. His death warranted investigation, but it was not to be.

James Stone remembers police visiting his parents in their Hamilton Mountain home and encouraging them to accept Philip’s death as a suicide. An investigation or autopsy would only prolong their grief and pain, they said. The Stones did not push but quietly kept their own conclusion their son died because of the attack and being who he was.

“He just wanted to be himself but society wouldn’t let him,” Bill Powell told the Hamilton Spectator in tears. “They hassled him, they beat him. And he never did anything to anybody.”

Steve Stone, brother of Hamilton artist Philip Stone, has kept numerous prints and newspaper records relating to his brother. Six of Philip Stone's prints are framed and hang in Steve's apartment.

Four decades after Philip Stone was killed, Steve Stone remembers his brother with wonderment and regret. The circumstances around Philip’s death and their disconnected relationship weigh on him.

“That time was not the most compassionate,” he says.

Stone would spend over 40 years as a police officer, and work his way through different rotations, including a long stretch with the vice and drug unit. He was once named officer of the year. One project he headed was 1997’s Project Rosebud, tasked with putting a stop to cruising by gay men in an area of Royal Botanical Gardens.

“It was not something I wanted to do,” Stone says now.

He understood LGBTQ people had few places to go in the city. There were few bars, no community space, minimal social groups and no internet dating. But, police received complaints and he could not turn down the assignment. The project was executed relatively as planned and, out of Stone’s control, a list of those arrested ran in the local newspaper, outing them. Hamilton’s gay community was in uproar and an already tense relationship between the community and the police was increasingly aggravated.

“I’m not proud of (the assignment) now,” Stone says.

Time has a way of allowing people to reconsider. There are things we do in ignorance that are corrected with experience, education and sometimes consequence. Stone looks differently on his brother Philip now. Philip’s life and work is one of Steve’s biggest sources of pride. Framed prints of Philip’s work dominate the walls of Steve’s home.

“He was a walking, talking piece of art,” Stone says, believing their relationship would be different today. “He didn’t fit into our world then.”

With files from Mark McNeil and The Hamilton Spectator

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Artist Akie Nakata Sells Her Stone Art Almost Instantly Through Facebook – Forbes

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

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

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

Letting the Animal Emerge

Her artistic process doesn’t start with an intent to paint a particular animal, rather, the rocks she sees guide her. “I paint the animal that I feel is inside the stone, following the backbone and the body structure that is visible on the stone,” she explains. “I believe it is the stone that decides what is to be painted, rather than me deciding…I color the animals that I feel inside the stones, so as to let them manifest on the surface.”

“What I aspire to draw is something that gets newly born in my hand, through my dialogues with the stones. I want to paint the ‘life’ of the animals that I felt in the stone,” she says. “At the end of my painting process, when I put my brush onto the stone to paint the eyes, there is this moment I feel it is completed, when the eyes look back at me.”

“As a work mode, it’s important for me to never alter the shape of the stone at all – no polishing/sanding, or no application of any undercoat material,” Nakata says.

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

Nakata collects her stones on several favorite riverbanks in Saitama, where she goes to look for “good encounters with the stones.” Through those encounters, the animal images emerge to her. “The stones are not canvases to me; they are more collaborative partners that I encounter on riverbanks,” she says. “More often than not, I am blessed with good encounters and take home with me several stones, but on other days I might not be so fortunate,” returning home empty-handed.

A Born Artist

Nakata’s foray into painting stones happened almost by chance, when she was walking on a riverbank during her university days and “encountered a stone that simply looked like a rabbit,” she recalls. “I loved it and took it home, and I painted it as the stone led me.”

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

Today she dedicates herself to her craft full-time. This year her goal is to create more than 100 pieces, though 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 they become available. She has not used any form of paid advertising and has organically amassed 105,000 followers on Instagram and 15,000 followers on Twitter, on top of her tens of thousands of Facebook fans.

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

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