Printmaker Profile : Ray Dennis

Web :

Mail :

I was born in Hertfordshire 1956, and have been an artist ever since- or for at least, as long as I can remember! By 1976 without intending to, I became a commercial screen printer and graphic artist which allowed me to pay the rent and to continue to paint…

I moved to Sheffield in ‘79 where the screen printing continued for another four years until I decided to take on formal art education and completed a Degree in fine art Painting at Sheffield Polytechnic were I learned, amongst many other things, etching and aquatint.

The learning continues.

On graduating, I moved to Brighton to work as a fine art printmaking technician at Brighton Polytechnic. A job I applied for and was offered, but didn’t much care for nor intend to do for more than a couple of years…That was in 1988.

I have been fortunate enough to work with some brilliant artists and students over the past 27 years- some of whom are current members of North Star studios – and have been able to continue to develop my own practice and exhibit as an artist.

Being a figurative artist first and foremost, I have always been drawn to the likes of Goya, Bosch, Whistler, and the Dutch and Italian painters, Caravaggio particularly, surrealists such as Leonora Carrington, Magritte and so on, and I have a particular interest in Japanese culture including printmaking –traditional and contemporary.

I have exhibited nationally and internationally and have work in the collection of Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts Russia.

ray dennis mezzotint of russian astronaut

Ray Dennis : “Russian Icon” Mezzotint

My main area of are practice is Mezzotint, a copper plate engraving process invented in mid 17th century Amsterdam and soon after brought to England where it was perfected and became known as ‘The English Process’ or ‘The Black Manner’

A curved, serrated tool known as a ‘Rocker’ is used to apply a ground of burrs to a copper plate until the surface resembles fine sandpaper. This surface will hold and print a rich, velvet black layer of ink. Where this surface is scraped away and reduced using steel scamper/burnishing tools, a tonal image can be created, hence: Mezzotint or ‘Half-Tone’.

This beautiful and laborious process allows me to produce work with a distinctive character and quality not easy to achieve with other intaglio printmaking processes.

My children have regularly featured in my work; The way we grow, and learn and understand our world through play, no matter what our age, continues to fascinate me.

The image on a Mezzotint plate gradually reveals itself out of the dark background. There is the point between the unseen and the understood, the obscure and the enlightened which is the point of discovery, the ‘reveal’ from matrix to paper, this is what makes a printmaker a printmaker.

printmaker Ray Dennis is based at North Star Studios in Brighton

Ray Dennis : “Egg Hunting” Mezzotint


Printmaker Profile : Ann March

Email :

Foundation/ Pre- Dip course at Worthing Art College.

Graphics at Newport Art College, mainly in the Litho Room, taught by Derek Butler.

PGCE Brighton Art College.

lithographic printmaker Ann is exhibiting her prints at North Star in Brighton this May

Ann March : “Iron Embrace” Lithograph

Raised a family. Ran a business. Still running that business.

Did a refresher course in lithography at North Star Studios, taught by the great Maxie Vellenoweth.

Started Etching at North Star Studios, taught by Pete Kosowitz and Mary Gillet… also great.

Exhibited in the R.A. Summer Exhibition three times. Almost, accepted but not hung, about another five times.

Various Open Art Exhibitions over the years.

All my prints have been printed at North Star Studios.

north star studio print exhibitor, Ann March is showing etchings and lithography

Ann March : “Urban Landscape” Etching

Printmaker Profile : Mark Eason

I drew from an early age (4­-5 yrs old). I started using oil paints when I was about 8 after my grandfather, W.E.Anderschou, died and a box of his oil paints turned up at our house. Later, I drew obsessively during all my classes at Judd School in Tonbridge, Kent between 1971/77 (especially Maths) and followed the Dali/Dean seam of surrealist fantasy that all melancholic young artists at that school followed (both of us), with a bit of cruel caricaturism of mad masters thrown in to leaven the craziness of the place.
I failed Art “O” Level first time around (a gouache painting of my plimsoled feet and a double­neck electric guitar with various other jarringly incongruous semi­-symbolic objects floating about). After I was expelled from Judd for not fitting in I attended West Kent College, between 1977/79 where I landed up in Brian Davies’ fantastic Art Class. He encouraged me as an artist and as a photographer in the ‘A’ Level. I then went to Art School at Canterbury (Foundation 1979/80), Leeds Polytechnic (1980/83) and finally at St. Martins’ School of Art (1983/84).
I got a rubbishy 2:2. Analysis of the failure: I fluffed the degree show with over-ambitious pieces over various different mediums and styles so that the final piece never got completed. After that, instead of going on to do an MA at Chelsea as the tutors expected me to, I went into the job market as a temp after the obligatory 3 months on a building site.
During these desperate years I did a clerical work in offices, before leaving that world (temporarily) to join the team at Palace Software in The Scala Cinema at Kings’ Cross, London, doing computer games. I was only there for 9 months but it was an important time, not least because I finally got together with my second wife, Nicki.
I also had an exhibition at the Submarine Gallery across the road.
Lots of strange stuff went on at Palace and my photography was in a world of its own with trips to West Brompton Cemetery with Nicki and a roll of Infra­Red Ektachrome. Then came a move to Brighton where I worked for a few more years in Computer Games Design & Animation before the inevitable Thatcherist Boom/Bust cycle slumped the company I worked for (Martech/Intelligent Design) out of existence. I then went back to temping in Brighton.
Then came another break which I managed in my usual skilful manner to make as little of as possible: a temp placement with The Body Shop International in Littlehampton. I managed to work there for a few years, doing computer generated slides for talks, a bit of early multimedia, and lots of DTP and illustration, most significantly for Anita Roddick herself. Just at this time I joined North Star Studios in Brighton and recommenced screenprinting, litho and etching. I also had an exhibition at a friend’s place on Brighton Seafront, The Collett Gallery.
Thereafter were several years between 1993 and 2002 where I was a freelance DTP/Typesetter in London. North Star Studios took up my free time and I managed to do a lot of prints in this time though hampered by lack of technical support that is taken for granted at art college.
Neptune Long Acre

Mark Eason : “Neptune Long Acre”

In 2002, after yet another slump in the Print Industry I found the Print Road had run out altogether and I started studying Law and eventually I got Called To The Bar.
In the past 5 years or so I started landscape painting and printmaking again.
MY WORK: I have always confused viewers and my peers by being multimedia­esque in the sense that I tried everything artwise settling mainly on painting (abstract, surreal, landscapes, portraiture, collage, montage), drawing and printmaking (etching, litho, screenprinting, woodcuts), photography and early computer graphics (C64 level, not Quantel Paintbox).
I managed to look like a different artist in each medium.
Nowadays I am mostly doing the landscapes again with a few abstracts derived from the paints left over on the palette after I’ve been in the fields/woods etc. which I use at home to do the colour studies. These are abstract extrapolations of the basic Colour Wheel/Colour Theory exercises that we had to do at Canterbury Art College Foundation. For some reason the fascination of those early colour exercises has never left me. The colour studies have given me a reason for my abstraction and a direct link between it and my landscape/ figurative work.
The leftover colours start the process of dictating which colours come next and whilst deriving from the real world of nature soon diffract off into all sorts of weird and unexpected collisions. It really is a way of bringing the random into the natural, and sometimes external events in the world also manifest themselves into the general demeanour of the abstract work in whether it is bright or gloomy, even stressed and harsh. This reminds me of William Burroughs’ ‘cut and paste’ technique, and the forgotten art of ‘tape loops’, whereby the physical intervention into the creative process (literally cutting and pasting) creates a dislocation in the finished article that makes you step outside of the ‘pre­ordained pathways’ that you otherwise would not be aware that you were following. When I am in the woods I sometimes see the paths formed in places by the deer and I am reminded of the familiar routes we all take unconsciously in doing whatever it is that we do, and the trails we leave behind. Paintings and art can form these paths and help you step outside of them with the right approach.
Imogena Violina Green

Mark Eason : “Imogena Violina Green”

Printmaker Profile : Rose Dixie


Drypoint print on paper by Rose Dixie

Drawing forms the core of my creative practice. For me it is a means of both trying to convey an experience, and of trying to better understand the experience itself. It is a process of both documentation and discovery.

Although my drawings are always of people, I do not see them as portraits. My figures often evolve through the drawing process taking on my own moods and emotions, becoming expressions of my internal processes, and taking on lives of their own.

anatomical etching on paper by North Star Studio's Rose Dixie

Rose Dixie : Untitled (etching)

anatomical study by Rose Dixie

Rose Dixie : “Head Study 1” (etching)

Printmaker Profile : Miranda Vincent

email :

instagram :

Here we go with our first printmaker profile! A fairly recent addition to the studio, Miranda is both an etcher and screen-printer… During the Fringe Festival you will be able to see her framed work hung upstairs at North Star and a good number of wrapped pieces in the browsers downstairs.

The etched piece shown above is entitled “An Unfortunate Misadventure”

cat print by Miranda vincent of North Star - Sussex print studio

Miranda Vincent : “Hungry Cat” (etching)

a monochrome print by Miranda of sussex print studio north star

Miranda Vincent : “The Slow Path To Moon Beach” (etching)

miranda vincent etching precarious position bear girl blindfold monochrome

Miranda Vincent : “A Precarious Position” (etching)