2020 starts in crisis

2020 has started with a country in crisis and massive devastation as insane bushfires ravage large areas.  The volume of smoke in the air is an indicator of how bad things are and we arent near the fires.  There needs to be action for climate change.  NOW.

I created this piece today, the first day of the new year while watching the smoke outside and hearing news of the damage from the fires.  This piece is a statement, a call to action.  Its a simple piece that is relevant to anyone anywhere.  It states plainly 'You Are Here' and in doing so asks you to take action as you are here, now.  No matter where you are on the map of the world, You Are Here. Do something!


If you want a print of this piece send me a message and i will arrange it.  Money from sales will be sent to bushfire relief.


Nathan J Lester

1 Jan 2020

interesting few months

the beginning of 2019 came and went and was quickly forgotten as i was informed i required open heart surgery.  This was announced in late January and in mid March the procedure was done.  Following the surgery was about 8 weeks of rest and recovery.  During that time i managed to do some art but was limited as i was recovering.  Now i am back to full steam and getting into (probably too many) art projects.  Having open heart surgery has made me consider a lot of things and moving forward i am not going to hesitate on my art like i have in the past.  Time is fleeting and we should embrace every minute.  So moving forward there will hopefully be a lot more coming from me.


Nathan J Lester

25 June 2019









Sculptures @ SouthFest

On 24 November 2018 i unveiled I AM & I HOPE, a pair of sculptures to represent the people of the community and their hopes for the future.  The Sculptures were part of the SouthFest event which was a great success.  I had a number of community members engage with me and the sculptures and include their messages on ribbons and attach them.  The sculptures have added some colour and movement to the space and they look great.  Over the coming weeks i will be engaging with other groups to add more ribbons to see this work grow.


There are more images of the work and progress over the project on my facebook page (link at the bottom of the page)


Nathan J Lester

28 November 2018



Over the last couple of months i have been working on a pair of public sculptures to be unveiled at the inaugural SouthFest event in Tuggeranong on 24 Nov 2018.


The sculptures have been supported by the wonderful crew at the Tuggeranong Art Centre.


The primary sculpture element is a cube made of welded steel frame and steel mesh.  The cubes will be mounted on a pole by one corner so that all sides are accessible.  The two cube sculpture elements were fabricated by Michael Lester.


The cubes will be mounted on two of the foundations of the old gazebo structure between Anketell and Cowlishaw streets, Greenway. 

Members of the community are asked to use a sharpie to write two words on a length of ribbon.  One word on each end.  One word is to describe themselves in a positive way, the other word is something they hope for our future.  The ribbon is then tied onto the cube creating an interwoven piece that reflects our community, its positivity and hopes for the future.  The cubes will remain on display for others to engage with post the event.  Each cube will accommodate over 400 ribbons.


Nathan J Lester

22 Nov 2018

portrait of Mike Lester

In late Oct I made some time to do a portrait of my dad to enter in the National Photographic Portrait Prize. I have never done a portrait of dad before but thought it was about time I did. It is all submitted and at the mercy of the judges. So here is the result and some accompanying text.


Mike Lester is not only my father but he is also an accomplished artist. He is the reason I became a visual artist. He has taught me a lot about art and many life skills over the years. His influence in my younger years helped me to develop a passion for art. Not limited to painting, he also creates sculptures, many that adorn their yard. Here he sits in his studio where he paints and sketches images of the Australian landscape, its buildings and rustic objects.


Nathan J Lester

14 Nov 2018

inspired by Rothko

i have always been inspired by a few artists, one of my favourite modern painters is Rothko. I have been lucky enough to stand in front of a number of his canvases and admire them.  This current series of work is inspired by him.  These images are all photographs, creating the blends and blurred edges in the way i shoot the colours.  Again, this is another example of the range of art i am starting to produce.  I still work in traditional photography but my ideas and thought processes take me all over.


Nathan J Lester

21 July 2018

Encapsulated forms

I have been working on some sculptural pieces over the last 12 months. Each of these is derived from my photos of nudes. The sculptures play on the negative space required to create the full image.  The forms seem to float in the bell jar, contained in the space that also defines them.


If you like these pieces and would like one please feel free to contact me.


Nathan J Lester

4 July 2018




'Glitterscapes' tour

Finally it is here.  The walk through of the Glitterscapes exhibition.  Filmed just prior to the end of the exhibition this video is a quick walk through of the gallery space and shows each of the works.  Without all the right equipment it was difficult to capture without reflections from the high gloss images.  As you can appreciate, the video does not capture these images as well as standing in front of them but it was important to load this video for those who couldnt make it to the exhibition.  Enjoy!


Nathan J Lester

30 June 2018

'Glitterscapes' opens!

Glitterscapes opened on 10 May 2018 at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre, Canberra.  The opening was very well attended and there was much glitter and sparkles to complement the exhibition. 


The opening was a huge success with many of the models able to attend and a large number of friends who turned out to support me.


The series and exhibition are my largest to date.  There have been countless hours in the background of each work to bring them to exhibition.  I am very pleased with how this series has turned out.  So much so that i will be releasing a short run book of the images shortly.


Glitterscapes is on at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre till 2 June 2018.


Nathan J Lester

22 May 2018

'Glitterscapes' MC - Belle Bleu

Announcing the amazing Belle Bleu as the MC for the opening of my exhibition 'Glitterscapes'. 


Belle is a skilled MC and cabaret artist; the original hostess for Canberra's very first burlesque club night Le Chat Noir.  A versatile and vivacious performer she will charm you with a wink and a smile and a song for every occasion.


The exhibition opens on 10 May 2018.  For details please visit the event page on Facebook.  All are welcome.  The exhibition runs from 10 May - 2 June 2018.


Facebook page - Glitterscapes event


Nathan J Lester

21 April 2018


'Glitterscapes' the exhibition

i am excited to announce that in May 2018 i will be holding a solo exhibition at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre.  The exhibition will be of my sculptural nudes bathed in glitter.  This is the largest nude series i have ever undertaken.  It features approx 30 nudes, each one a different model. 


The series was inspired in part by my work with the Canberra Burlesque community and their extensive use of glitter.  Each image is the culmination of a play with light and shadow and the amazing make up skills of Missy Suzor (for most images) and Maddie Tranter (for others) in applying the glitter to suit my ideas and images.


More details are available on the Tuggeranong Arts Centre Facebook page - Glitterscapes event

and the website - https://www.tuggeranongarts.com 


Nathan J Lester

17 February 2018


well, what a year it was!

2017 presented a few challenges for me and slowed me up a little bit.  i had some minor set backs in planned artworks etc due to health issues throughout the year.  That's all sorted and moving forward now with renewed energy.


i will be holding an exhibition in May 2018 featuring my series of glittered nudes.


i have also recently been playing with bell jars and installing works inside them.  These works use the negative space to complete the visual effect.


Nathan J Lester

7 January 2018

another new painting

an unexpected week off from the normal job provided me with time to relax and paint another canvas.  As with my other paintings this is based on a photograph of a model who is nude.  I enjoy working on larger canvases but am running out of storage space for them.  This work is 61 x 122 cm.


Nathan J Lester

29 April 2017

new painting

my latest painting has seen me work with the same style but this time i experimented with gold leaf.  The gold leaf was used to add texture to the torso of the image and to echo the bronze sculptures of the renaissance period.

the challenge

As an artist I have been cruising along for many years in my comfort zone.  In the last 18 months I have expanded my art into different areas of practice, most often painting.  


In order to challenge myself even further I have decided to enter the 2017 Archibald Prize.  For those who are not aware, the Archibald Prize is Australia's most prominent portrait prize for paintings.  The conditions are very specific and include the fact the subject of the painting must be alive and also must have sat for a session as part of the overall painting development.  The painting must also only be completed between specific dates.  Those who have been following my work will note my images are abstracted and show little to no face detail.  The Archibald will test my skills in this area to the limit.


I am happy to announce that I have selected a subject for my entry and it is non other than Canberra Burlesque artist Ursula Wolfe.  Over the next couple of months we will be working together to capture a series of reference images and I will be working on the canvas.  I wanted to take you all on this journey so I will be capturing video and photos and posting them here so you can all see the piece develop into the final submission.  Stay tuned for more on this one.


Nathan J Lester

25 Feb 2017

all that sparkles

Over the next month or so from mid February to April 2017 i will be undertaking my largest photo series ever.  I have a bunch of people who are going to pose nude or partial nude, whilst this sounds like my back catalog of work the difference here is the parts of the body to be photographed will be covered in glitter.  The glitter will bring a whole new dimension to my nudes.  


I have been overwhelmed with people offering to be part of this series and have received a heap of assistance in this regard from Nicky.  She has been amazing at getting people to come forward and offer to pose.  


The shoots will see me busy and shooting up to 6 people almost every weekend.  Stay tuned to see some of the bts and then the images from the shoot.  I am also looking for a gallery to exhibit the series in.


Nathan J Lester

11 Feb 2017

old school process

For some time now I have been playing with old school photography printing processes. These use different emulsions to create photographic images.


My favourite of these processes at the moment is the Anthotype.  It uses the light sensitive properties of plants to create the emulsion on which the image is printed.  Each of these images takes over a week to create.  But the resulting image is one of subtle tones and beauty.


I have been printing various images from flowers to erotic nudes using this method.


The final works are hard to photograph well due to the tones but below are some examples of these works.

no more space

Yes the image is a vulva.  

Now that's out of the way.  


This is a piece I created around 10 years ago for entry into a contemporary art prize.  It is a large piece measuring over 70 cm wide by 92 cm tall.  It is a three dimensional piece hence its name "Box".  The image itself was initially intended to be only a portrait, however it developed into the current format.  The purpose was to expose the viewer to a larger than life image that may be confronting to some. To challenge the norm of hiding sexuality and making anything related to reproductive organs 'dirty' or 'wrong' if talked about or shown in public.  I wanted viewers to be presented with a piece of a size that made it hard to ignore, one that you could see from anywhere or any angle in the space it is exhibited.  I wasn't worried if the piece disgusted some viewers as it is these people who are most likely the ones that the piece is really about.


In addition to the reasons noted above it was also a slight play on the colloquial term 'box' that is sometimes used to describe a female's reproductive parts.


This post has a down side, sadly, as an artist I am running out of storage space to store my works and will need to find a new home for this piece or decommission it.  This realisation came today as I was reorganising my studio space to accommodate my works better.  So as most of you out there probably don't have the space have this piece in your homes I thought I would share some images so hopefully you can at least admire it online.


Nathan J Lester

7 Jan 2017

new site, new art

To most people i am known as a photographer, but for many years i have regarded myself as a visual artist.  The work that everyone has usually seen has been my photography and it has been traditional in the true form.  Photos taken on film, processed and printed in a darkroom.  While i have produced a lot of photographic artwork over the years, the photographic work that not many have seen has been that which is printed using different techniques and old school processes.  In addition, over the last few years, i have been creating some non photographic pieces.  This includes sculpture, stencils,  and painting.  


Now, from late 2016 I will be doing my best to display my works for the world to see.  This may be through this website or other public display methods.  No matter how i display them there will be updates so all can see or go and visit the piece.  I encourage anyone who may see a piece of mine to take a pic and tag away on social media.  I want to share my work with the world and you can all be part of this!


Nathan J Lester

22 Nov 16

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