Born in Brisbane, Australia, Rachael Kantaris spent much of her childhood in Cornwall. She studied at Falmouth School of Art and Brighton University, and after completing her B.A. in Fine Art and Contemporary Dance, and M.A. in Printmaking, she travelled widely, working as artist in residence in studios in Berlin and Melbourne.
She was invited by The British Council to exhibit and co-curate a major show of British Contemporary Printmaking in Manila, and whilst there, taught a series of workshops at The University of the Philippines. Twenty years ago she helped to set up the open access Porthmeor Print Workshop in St. Ives and still runs the studio today, creating her work both there and in her net loft painting studio nearby.
Etching is a very physical medium which for me lies somewhere between painting and sculpture and I often explore this sculptural quality in my work. The potential to create sumptuous, resonating areas of colour, subtle delicate marks or physical corroded scratches is an ongoing adventure, and I am always excited by this visual language.
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. Several plates piece together to form one etching and the delicate process of layering colour upon colour and mark upon mark is an exquisite, often torturous journey. The etching process has influenced my painting so I often use printed areas of texture combined with layers of paint built up and then rubbed or sanded back. I seem to take one step forward and two back in the push and pull of creating, unearthing and then paring down an image but there is something incredibly magical about the moment that you finally get it right.