Having Ideas


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Welcome to Making Art

A website and blog devoted to encouraging others to make art, using their original ideas.

When you make art you are an artist.

It's as simple as that. Nobody has to approve it, you don't need to be cool or to have a degree. If you make art you are an artist.

This site is about helping you to generate and hear your own ideas and to use them to make art. To then build a genuine creative practice or habit that keeps you having ideas, taking note of them and using them until art making becomes a regular part of your life

Imagine this: You wake up one morning with an interesting thought in your head. In the ideal world you would be able to follow this thread of an idea using art, until it led to another idea. Pursuing an idea sometimes from morning until late at night, like a detective or an archeologist until you are satisfied, that you have worked it through. Are you consciously thinking about what you are working on? Planning every move? Or are you just physically with the paint or clay, laying down the manifestation of your feelings or thoughts or discoveries?

The pull of an idea and following it along like a hound dog with a scent can be quite intoxicating. And like a hound dog suddenly darting off in another direction, it can be unfathomable to an outsider.

There are so many inspiring art works and artists that have made me want to make art, drawn me to their mystery, their magic, their shocking way of making me re-evaluate something I thought I already knew. Art made by all sorts of people in all sorts of ways. If you decide to make some art, maybe you too will be able to show the hidden somethings revealed by artists everywhere.


Here are some examples of some of my favourite artworks. They make me happy.


Mueck Nakamarra

The humanity of Ron Mueck's Old Woman in Bed
or the feel of land and time, depth and soil, in Dorren Reid Nakamarra's Untitled, 2005.


Nandi cressidacampbell gascoigne cornell

The grandeur and serenity of The Sacred Bull Nandi.
Cressida Campbell's ability to render the ordinary beautiful and exotic in Through the windscreen 1986.
Rosalie Gascoigne's eye: her abilty to find and rework found objects.
And Joseph Cornell, who I think of as the father of the power of suggestion, Untitled [ The Hotel Eden].


lindy lee beesley wenders

The abstract beauty and rawness in Lindy Lee's burnt holes
the animal responsivesness and charm of Philip Beesley's Hylozoic Series 2011
and the understated magnetism and mystery of the work of Wim Wenders Red Couch.


gober1 gober2

Robert Gober's piece Untitled 1997.
A suitcase sits on the floor of the gallery which is on about the fourth floor of a Melbourne city building. A woman walks up and peers into the suitcase. A sharp intake of breath, she looks in closer, squatting down in front of it. Through a metal street grate in the bottom of the case she can see into a subterranean world. She can see the feet and legs of a man who seems to be holding a baby. His feet are in water with seaweed and rocks underfoot. Momentarily confused, because the floor under the one she is on, is not underground at all. She smiles delighted realising they have CUT A HOLE right through the floor of the fourth floor to the one below, and the artist has created an underworld glimpse. Magical.


There's only one rule here at Making Art.

The Rule?
Make some art

Who I am and what I think

My name is Nick Lee and I believe that art making is for anyone, not just for a chosen few. Trained or untrained, any medium. Every age, every nationality, every gender and cool or uncool people. What's important to me is the process of making art, the enjoyment of it, the stimulation of it. For some artists it's the constant pull of each new idea growing in our mind, for others it's the mastery of a particular medium.

I also believe the current focus of art in Western media is galleries and curators. In a way this makes sense; their star artists are like pop stars and the curators are like their managers, but that's only the tip of the art iceberg. For thousands of years, [maybe 50,000] people have been expressing themselves, creating ritual objects, recording events with their art, and there is no reason that should be inhibited by the judgement and taste of a few. Remember: without artists, the galleries, curators and critics would be out of a job.

One thing you will not find on this site or on the Blog is art criticism or review. If I am talking about an artist it's because I like their art or a technique they use. Yes some art is not great, but there is enough criticism going on out there without me joining in. [Although I am not promising I won't criticize museums, galleries or curators].

I think the best environment for making is a non judgemental one. So I like to think of myself as an Art Whisperer. Helping you to gently tease out your ideas and make them real.

I have been to art school and it is a load of fun, but I don't believe its the be all and end all of becoming an artist. The best thing about art school is being surrounded by people who want to make art and focusing your time and energy on making stuff.

I have also worked in various art galleries and know what cheekiness they get up to, and how blinkered their views can be.

And like most of you, I have held down other jobs when I'd rather have been making art.

Teaching a bit here and there, I found to be a joyful experience , if draining. But it was always within some institution's guidelines and ultimately required a score which I am not really into. So, this is my forum for saying what I didn't get to say before.

I make a lot of art, but I don't really want this site to be about my art: some of which is good and some which isn't. I want it to be about you. About helping you to become an artist.

I hope you will start making whatever it is you want to make,


Nick Lee

The Artist


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