Rachael Kantaris is a full-time artist / printmaker living and working in St. Ives, Cornwall.
She was strongly involved in the setting up of, and the daily running of the Porthmeor Print Workshop, where she is currently based. From here she supplies work to galleries throughout Europe and teaches at various places, including the Tate Gallery and the St. Ives School of Painting.
Rachael was born in Brisbane, and after obtaining a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Falmouth School of Art she studied for her B.A. in Visual and Performing Arts, and in 1992 completed an M.A. in Fine Art Printmaking at Brighton University. Since then she has travelled widely, and has worked as artist in residence in studios in Berlin and Melbourne. In 1997 she was invited by The British Council to be the main exhibitor in an exhibition of British contemporary printmaking which she took to Manila, and whilst there she taught a series of workshops at The University of the Philippines.
“My work is driven by a fascination for colour. I want the viewer to be seduced and drawn into the piece, and for there to be a sense of movement in which the colours resonate. Etching is a very physical medium, often involving quite textured and deeply embossed areas, and I use and explore this sculptural quality in my work.
I like the contradiction between the craft of working with the metal, and the very painterly image which I aim to achieve on the paper. Above all I love the richness of etching – it has an almost sumptuous quality – a soft, velvety surface texture unique to this medium.”
My imagery develops from a desire to explore something ambiguous; a sense of place, a perspective, an emotion, a colour. From these beginnings the piece becomes an adventure, not knowing until I finish where it’s going to end up.
I often spend weeks changing the relationship of colours slightly until I get it right, but what is unique about the etching process is that none of this struggle shows & the finished piece has a freshness & glow about it not possible to achieve in a painting. Ultimately I do it because it’s very exciting, especially with etching, there’s something magical about the moment you finally lift the image off the press & you’ve got it right”.