Japanese Artist Transforms Ordinary Rocks Into Highly Realistic Animals

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.

Dog Show Judge Makes Little Girl With Autism's Day By Letting Her Show Her Stuffed Animal Dog

The judge inspects the stuffed dog like it's really in the show. He then instructs the girl to run the dog around the showing area. It's adorable how her face lights up at the thought that her dog is just like all the others.

More Animal Tricks [via Nina Reznick]

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards revels in that bridge between humans and animals.

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Coronavirus: Deserted Italian street rings out with song as people lean out of windows to sing together during lockdown

As life in Italy grinds to a halt amid a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, one street was filled with song as the community banded their voices together in solidarity.

A video of people singing out of their windows on a neighbourhood street in Siena, Tuscany, went viral on social media, with many calling it a “beautiful” act of humanity.

“People of my hometown Siena sing a popular song from their houses along an empty street to warm their heart during the Italian Covid-19 lockdown,” wrote a Twitter user who posted the video.

The song, titled ‘Canto della Verbena’ (‘And While Siena Sleeps’), is a popular folk song in the city typically sung to express local pride.

It focuses on the Piazza del Campo, the main square of the city, and is traditionally sung by members of a contrada, districts set up in the Middle Ages to supply troops.

Social media users were deeply touched by the communal singing, with some admitting it brought them to tears.

“People breaking out in song, lifting each other’s spirits during this tragedy, is an act of striking beauty,” said one person.


Animal Tricks [via Nina Reznick]

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards revels in that bridge between humans and animals.

Read more

No Stone Unturned [Via Nina Reznick]

Land Artist Surprises Beach Goers By Leaving Striking Stone Arrangements Along the Coast

Land artist Jon Foreman finds comfort in arranging stones in eye-pleasing formations on the beach. His practice, which he calls Sculpt the World, showcases rocks fashioned into swirling patterns as well as giant circles containing an array of rainbow-esque hues. “This process is therapy to me,” Foreman tells My Modern Met. “The simple act of placing stone upon stone in the sand is very therapeutic. I’m sure we all enjoy a walk on the beach but this process I find to be more immersive; being there in nature, losing myself in the work, having left behind all the stresses of day to day life.”

Flowering Mantis [via Nina Reznick]

The other day, Margaret Neville was strolling through the garden on her farm in South Africa when something remarkable caught her eye.

There, on a branch in her lavender bush, was an insect unlike any she’d seen before: “I was amazed at first sight,” Neville told The Dodo.

And it’s easy to see why.

The beautiful bug almost looked like a delicate glass sculpture. Her wings of white and green were accentuated with an elegant swirl, while the rest of her body was adorned with tiny, purple flower-like structures.

Neville shared the photo with her friend, Kerri Martinaglia. She was equally impressed.

“When I saw her, I thought she was an exquisite work of art,” Martinaglia told The Dodo.

Neville and Martinaglia came to learn that the insect she’d found was aptly called a “Flower Mantis,” a type of praying mantis perfectly suited to camouflaging themselves in floral settings.

And thanks to that trick, the mantis Neville happened upon was clearly thriving. Before placing her back in the lavender bush, Neville gave her a name: Miss Frilly Pants.

“She has spent the entire month of September living on my lavender,” Neville said. “She is still there now.”

After Martinaglia shared photos of her online, the remarkable mantis has earned plenty of admirers from people stunned to learn such an animal is real. But not all of her new fans are human.

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Street View: New York City's Doors

A photographic series of New York City's doors, from the Roy Colmer collection at the New York Public library

Roy Colmer/New York Public Library
This post is a Special Research Project of NPR History Dept.

Between November 1975 and September 1976, a man named Roy Colmer decided to photograph New York City's doors. Not all of New York City's doors. No doors in particular. And in no real particular order. But his aptly named Doors, NYC project amounted to more than 3,000 photos, which now live with the New York Public Library.

If you're like me and want to obsessively look at every single one, the best way to do that is here. But then, I did that so you don't have to. Firstly, note the door on the bottom left. For every dozen-ish non-descript door, you'll find a little treat — like a poster of a cat ...

... or a great store name like "Clogs Of Course" (also bottom left).

See more Doors here