Rachael Kantaris Australian, b. 1967

Rachael Kantaris | Painter/Printmaker



Rachael Kantaris is a full-time artist / printmaker living and working in St. Ives, Cornwall. She was strongly involved in the setting up of the Porthmeor Print Workshop which she now runs. From here she supplies work to galleries throughout Europe and teaches at various places, including the Tate Gallery, Newlyn School of Art and the St. Ives School of Painting.

She was born in Brisbane, grew up in Cornwall, and after obtaining a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Falmouth School of Art she did a B.A. in Visual and Performing Arts (fine art and contemporary dance), followed by an M.A. in Fine Art Printmaking, both at Brighton University. Since then she has travelled widely, working as artist in residence in studios in Berlin and Melbourne.

Rachael 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. Rachael can usually be found etching in the Porthmeor Print Workshop above the Penwith Gallery, or painting in her net loft studio just around the corner. She lives in St Ives with her husband and three daughters.


“Etching is a very physical medium which lies somewhere between painting and sculpture and I love to explore this raw physical quality in my work.”


"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.


Working as both a printmaker and painter in St Ives, Cornwall, close to the elements and extremities of the land, and in a studio surrounded by the rich history of the St Ives artists, these visual references appear in my work, are erased, and appear again. Eventually, they are distilled to the essence of a sense of place, a feeling, a memory”.




1990   TAPESTRY STUDIOS OF AUSTRALIA, MELBOURNE Weaving large-scale tapestries, including work commissioned for Parliament House, Canberra.

1993   BETHANIEN KUNSTLERHAUS, BERLIN Four months in residence in large print studio in Berlin, making etchings and silkscreens.

1993 - 95   TREVOR PRICE STUDIOS, ST. IVES Worked alongside Trevor Price professionally editioning his etchings and producing new work of my own.

1996 – 97   WILHELMINA BARNS-GRAHAM PROJECT Was approached by WBG to work with her one to one on three large scale colour etchings as part of her “Scorpio” series. The making and editioning of the work took several months.

1997   EXHIBITION AND WORKSHOPS IN THE PHILIPPINES Invited by The British Council to be main exhibitor in & co-curator of an exhibition of British Contemporary Printmaking in Manila. Whilst there, taught a series of workshops at The University of the Philippines.

1999 - 2002   STONEMAN GRAPHICS, CORNWALL Editioning in professional studio for artists such as Patrick Heron, Terry Frost, Ian MacKeever, Breon O'Casey. Also worked for Breon O’Casey at his house/studio near Mousehole.

2001   ARTIST IN RESIDENCE Kings School, Worcester.

2001 - 2006   LECTURER AT CORNWALL COLLEGE on the Foundation Degree & HND Fine Art courses. Teaching at various places, including the St. Ives School of Painting, Tate Gallery St. Ives, Penwith College, and the Newlyn Art Gallery.

2005/06/07   Mentor to Falmouth Art School BA and MA Graduates through an ongoing scheme run by Creative Skills and the Tate Gallery, St. Ives.

2011–2016     NEWLYN SCHOOL OF ART Running Workshops two days per month

2012-13          PORTHMEOR STUDIO 5 Was the successful applicant for the flagship studio (former occupants Ben Nicholson and Patrick Heron). 2013-14 Porthmeor Studio 9 (formerly the studio of Sandra Blow).

PRESENT (2014-present) PENWITH STUDIO 6 becomes my permanent painting studio.

PRESENT (1995-present) PORTHMEOR PRINT WORKSHOP, ST. IVES Instrumental in setting up the workshop in 1995. Run it as an open access facility for artists to use and provide a varied educational programme.