John Duffin’s new exhibition at the Catto Gallery in Hampstead, London is focussed on the London along the river, with many paintings and etchings of bridges across the River Thames, atmospherically-lit by coloured skies or full moonlight. ,
John Duffin, born in the industrial town of Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, England, started his career as as a draughtsman and naval architect for Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd, before studying Fine Art at Goldsmith’s College and printmaking at Central St Martins School of Art in London. Perhaps his early training influences his work, some of which is quite graphical as he illustrates the dynamism, the light and the dark of cities, often set around water such as the River Thames and animated with people that have a dark edge and long sinister shadows, with coloured skies, moonlight and rainy pavements.
Considered one of Britain’s leading and most industrious, John Duffin illustrates contemporary life in cities such as London using a variety of media such as oils, pastels, prints and etchings.
“I work mainly in the medium of etching and spend long hours drawing on the copper plates to create light and shade, working from small pencil drawings I have made whilst out walking in the city streets. I work with line and cross hatching only and print with the blackest ink on the whitest paper I can find. I like the directness of drawing on a plate, it distils my visions of the urban world and allows me to create very direct images with great subtlety and mood. Etching for me is a long and methodical process, purifying my imaginative impressions of the world onto plate and paper.
I draw on the spot in sketchbooks and on small pieces of paper and take these back to the studio where I develop them into powerful images that are a fusion of what I have observed and felt combined with my imagination, creating paintings and prints that are my powerful personal vision of modern city life.” (John Duffin)