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John Duffin

5th November 2016 - 25th February 2017


A member of The Royal Society of Painter Printmakers, John has shown extensively both in London and closer to home with this being the first solo show he has had here in Leeds.  To mark this occasion John has created new prints of Leeds and other exciting cities near and far.  John’s work speaks of his experiences of city life and of the struggle of man against an often domineering urban environment.  John makes drawings on the spot in sketchbooks and on small pieces of paper and takes these back to the studio where he develops them into powerful images that are a fusion of what he has observed and has felt; that combined with his imagination, creates paintings and prints that are his powerful personal vision of modern city life.


'Reflections on Leeds' - John visited us here in Leeds recently to start work on his series of prints for his exhibition with us this Winter

"I have known the city of Leeds since I was a young boy visiting on a school trip and some of the same things that impressed and moved me then continue to do so now.  As a trained draughtsman and former naval architect I am very attuned to buildings and their environments and Leeds has a sense of scale and energy in its municipal and private buildings that make it a fascinating and energetic place to be in.  Working towards an exhibition in Leeds Craft Centre and Design Gallery I am in the process of making prints of Leeds for the show and have made a lot of drawings on the street to begin the process of thinking and looking at the city and it’s people in order to be able to make some images of the city that capture some of the essence of it.  I draw on the streets working with pencil and small pieces of paper, I look for quiet corners near views that interest me and try and capture a place and its mood in 20-30 minutes of intense looking and drawing.  Once I have this raw material I take it back to my studio in London and begin to sieve the drawings for the essential elements of the place.  I make new drawings from the sketches and then reverse them on a photocopier, I then work from these reversed images by painting onto a plate with coloured inks, this plate is then sent through an etching press in contact wth a piece of paper and this creates a monoprint; a unique image created by hand from the printing process.  I draw and reinterpret the urban world through looking and remaking, selecting aspects of a city that appeal and interest me and from them hopefully creating something that has some of the best of a place within it."



























John Duffin is one of the leading printmakers in Britain.  His prints and paintings of urban environments capture the dynamism and energy of modern city life, chronicling the narratives of contemporary living.  He has won many prizes for his printmaking and painting and his work is in many public and private collections in the UK and abroad.  John studied BA Fine Art at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London (1985-88) and MA Printmaking at Central St Martins, University of the Arts London 1988-90.  He is a painter and printmaker whose work focuses on figures in the urban environment, his early work contained large powerful figures but more recent prints have shown small lonely figures in the large urban landscapes of the modern world.  He has won many prestigious printmaking prizes and in 2010 won, “The Most Outstanding Print Award,” at the Originals 2010 Exhibition in London chosen by Sir Peter Blake.  He has been on BBC Radio 4 and BBC National News discussing his paintings and prints and has had great media acclaim for his highly individualistic work. 





A word from John:

“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.”


“My monoprints are a combination of the process of printing and painting together and allow me to work in colour.  A monoprint is created by painting an image onto a plate with oil based inks and paints, you have to work quickly due to the fast drying time of the inks and this helps with the energy of the picture.  Once the image is ready it is placed in contact with a sheet of paper and wound through an etching press by hand, this transfers the image onto the paper.  I then work on the print by adding to it with a further layer of printed marks or paint directly onto the print with acrylic paint, allowing me to refine and emphasise aspects of the image.”

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