Nana Sakata

  • Words. Lotte Thomson-Vock

Art | March 20 2017

Nana Sakata’s artworks visually transport the viewer into a bedroom of fuzzy, warm innocence. Her creatures of the ethereal and imaginary evoke tiny dotted childhood dreams. Nana’s pointillist oeuvre allows her to experiment with the delicate shapes and forms of a visual narrative. Like gentle spotty whispers of smoky bedtime stories, Nana’s works of art are easy to fall in love with by people both great and small.

How long have you been an artist?

I’ve been drawing animals ever since I was little. I graduated from Sydney college of the Arts back in 2005. Since then I’ve been focusing my work on a series of little imaginary creatures using pointillism techniques.

Where do your imaginary creatures manifest from?

I’ve always loved to draw slightly ambiguous looking animals and when I first started experimenting pointillism, I was purely interested in making shapeless figures with tiny dots and fascinated by how free and flexible it is to transform one shape to another like cloud of smoke. Then once I’ve added eyes to those shapeless smoke, it became something different and new, it became a creature. I’ve been doing this for a long time now but this process still fascinates me and I’m probably slightly obsessed with making my little imaginary creatures with dots!

Where do you draw the inspiration for your depictions?

Pretty much anything and everything! Day to day activities, seasons, nature, childhood memories, dreams, and weather. I also have a 14 months old daughter and I have draw inspiration from how she interacts with the world into some of my drawings.

Walk me through your standard art making process.

A new work starts with an idea that I sketch out, often just before bed or shortly after i go to sleep. Sometimes I will just make a rough sketch, often I will just go straight to laying a work out. I want to get the creation down and out of my system before it escapes. I need to see how it looks in real life. Then I add things or change parts of it until I feel the image is “right”.

Innocence and child-like playfulness pervade your works, is there are deeper meaning for your artwork depictions?

I see my drawings as pages falling out of a book. There is no beginning or end, just stories half way through. I like to think that one drawing can open up a variety of interpretations and paths, depending on the viewer. One drawing of mine was of a group standing aside a huge old tree trunk, dreaming about the forest. My original concept for this was about an old tree longing for spring in the dead of winter. Many people saw deeper into it as about environmental issues, which I care about deeply. I find it really exciting that one of my drawings can have a deeper meaning than what I intended, while still being about I believe.


Which artists do you admire most?

Antoine Saint-Exupery, Tove Jansson, Edward Gorey, Henri Rousseau, Marc Chagall, Jon Klassen, Gabrielle Vincent

What role does the natural world, flora and fauna, play within your works? Is it a microcosm for something else? Or is it the (much needed) visual exploration of the simple, joyous things in life?

I love to use the natural environment to ground my little creatures back into the real world. Really it is where they belong and I enjoy exploring ordinary and small moments within the busy world we live. For example, a little one gathering nuts and leaves or swimming in the coral reef and exploring an underwater scene. I love to capture these small moments that make me happy.

Your calendars sold out pretty fast! Are you working on anything we can snatch up fast at the moment?

I am excited about exhibiting the originals and prints of my calendar works at Sydney Children’s Hospital from March 3rd. I also have a number of pieces in train for next year’s calendar along with some new one off pieces for later in the year. I have limited run prints of my originals that are popular and planning to expand the series. I also have few ideas of other stationary goods and beyond that who knows…

What three words would you use to describe your artworks?

Whimsical, playful and cheeky.

Do you have any upcoming gigs?

Yes! I have an exhibition coming up at Sydney Children’s Hospital. It opens on 3rd March and goes through until 25th May. I also just finished illustrations for up coming Children’s book that’s getting published soon.

Where can we buy or see more of your wonderful works of art?

I have Etsy shop online where you can purchase original art and other products like Tote bags and greeting cards all based on my artwork. You can find me on my Etsy store. I occasionally do market stalls around Sydney, follow me on FB or Insta for all the details. You can always get in touch by email at If you’d like to have personalised artwork made get in contact!

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