On the surface, Alex Koch seems like a typical 13-year-old. He loves to be outdoors, play sports and take care of his various pets.
What makes Alex stand out from most kids his age is his rock art, which he recently turned into a successful business.
Alex has always been artistic and enjoys drawing wildlife scenes. Recently, while at the beach with his family, someone suggested Alex create art on the rocks there. Within three days, he had compiled about 40 rocks featuring his drawings.
“We try and keep it with scenes from the North Fork because that’s where the rocks come from, but I’ll draw anything people want,” Alex said.
The teenager uses markers to depict different scenes such as fish, boats, and his favorite, birds. He said lighthouses are one of his bestsellers.
Alex has created a Facebook page called North Fork Rock Art by Alex Matthew. The creations sell for about $5 each and can be found at Reeve Farm in Riverhead and The Family Loft in Calverton.
“I just thought it was a great idea,” said Richard Reeve of Reeve Farm. He said Alex approached him about selling his rocks at his farm stand. Mr. Reeve told him he would love to.
“I’d do anything to help kids out,” Mr. Reeve said, adding that he likes Alex’s entire business concept.
Mr. Reeve received some rocks a couple weeks ago and has already sold more than expected.
Alex receives the bulk of his business through his Facebook page and at East End craft fairs. He also accepts online requests and ships his creations all over New York.
Selling his art is nothing new for the young artist. Alex, who is entering the eighth grade, explained that he used to take requests from other students and sell his drawings to them.
“When ‘Jurassic World’ came out that was really good for business,” he joked, because all the kids wanted him to draw the movie poster.
Alex’s mother, Michelle, is one of his biggest supporters, accompanying him to the beach to help him collect rocks. Since he started the business about a month ago, the pair has collected rocks about every week and a half.
The family recently moved to Mattituck and Ms. Koch said the support they’ve received means a lot to them.
“We’ve been here for 10 months but we feel like we are ingrained here now,” she said. “We have so much support and encouragement.”
Ms. Koch said her son was born an artist and that it comes naturally to him. He’s also passionate about animals, whether he’s drawing them, caring for them or taking photographs of them.
Alex’s nature photography is displayed throughout his family’s home. He said he might use some of the money he’s been making from his rock art business to buy a tripod for his camera.
Although his rock art creations are selling very well and he has to crank out new ones at a fast pace, Alex said he enjoys it. Whenever he finishes a creation, his mother said, he runs out of his bedroom to show it off.
“It’s something I could do forever,” he said. “Especially if it makes money.”
Alex plans to sell his rocks Aug. 27 at the 53rd annual Shelter Island Art Show and Craft Fair and Aug. 28 at Southold American Legion Post 803’s Car Show and Craft Fair. But he won’t stop creating his art when the summer ends and is already planning different fall and winter scenes.
Ms. Koch said she’s proud her son isn’t afraid to do what he loves.
“I’m impressed every day,” she said. “I’m so proud of him because he has so many talents that are not mainstream things that kids do, and he’s doing him and he’s making it work, and he’s getting a lot of encouragement.”
Top photo: Alex Koch in his ‘rock room’ at his home in Mattituck. He’s started a business selling the decorated stones. (Credit: Krysten Massa)