F YOU have attended an event recently – perhaps a friend’s wedding or your company Christmas party – you may have met a silhouette artist. If so, you probably came away with a small, black, cut-paper portrait and thought it all a lot of fun.
The art of cutting profile portraits with scissors is an old English craft with a fascinating history. It died out in Victorian times – after the invention of photography – and today is almost totally unknown.
Yet silhouette cutting still has much to offer. In today’s world, where technology is all, there is something captivating about such a simple art. All a silhouettist needs is paper, scissors and a quirky skill. Driven by a belief in the future of his art, Charles Burns – The Roving Artist – has taken this lost craft and re-invented it for the twenty-first century. Teaming up with fellow silhouettists, Michael Herbert and others, he has created a flexible team of artists working at events all over the UK and abroad.
The artists combine traditional skill with modern, stylish presentation. Whether you need a single silhouette cutter for a wedding, or a team of artists to make 500 silhouettes at a gala dinner, The Roving Artist can provide.
With his experience and expertise the likenesses are extraordinary. Working with just a pair of scissors – and a pocketful of paper – he will capture your portrait in just a minute or two.
Silhouette Secrets is an entertaining TV documentary about the art and history of silhouette cutting. It was made in partnership with film director Andi Reiss, and is now available for viewing on Amazon and Amazon Prime.
The film is a journey back in time, looking at artists who have most inspired Charles in his quest to master the art of silhouette cutting. Shot in both the UK and USA, it features Charles’ meeting with the world’s fastest silhouettist. The film culminates in a surprising “duel of scissors”, at an Audi showroom in Houston, to determine who is really the fastest.
Silhouette Secrets came out at the end of 2015, and did well in film festivals around the world. It won Best Documentary at festivals in both Houston and Barcelona, and was nominated for Best Documentary in Marbella.