Roving Artist promo video (03:17)

FOR NEARLY THIRTY YEARS Charles Burns, aka the Roving Artist, has been cutting silhouettes at weddings, corporate events and charity dos. Famous for the speed and accuracy of his scissor-cut portraits – as well as the enthusiasm with which he approaches them – his trademark surgical scissors are never far from his hand.

An ancient art brought back to life

Silhouette portraits first became popular during the Georgian and Regency periods (think Jane Jane Austen).

Today, anybody in the world can have their silhouettes cut by Charles, either via his virtual Zoom studio or by booking him to attend a meaningful event. Whether cut online or in person, you’ll be amazed by the speed and accuracy of his portraits, as well as the wit and charm with which they are made.

Charles has taken a musty, long-forgotten art and reinvented it as an engaging entertainment for the twenty-first century. His equipment – a pair of scissors and a pocketful of paper – hasn’t changed since Jane Austen’s time. His skill and presentation, on the other hand, is unmistakably fresh and modern. Watching Charles cut a silhouette is an object lesson in hand-eye coordination.

How did you discover you could do that?

How did you discover you could do that?

Charles’ Story

Beginning his career as a street portrait artist in London’s Covent Garden, Charles has since gone on to cut portraits of the Queen (three times now), President’s Clinton and Mandela and many other extraordinary people.

He achieved this primarily by focussing on the art of the silhouettist with unrelenting and laser-like determination. At the age of 40 he was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, an event which he describes as “strangely empowering”.

In this series of articles he tells the story in his own words.

Silhouette scissors in action

New silhouette scissors

ONE OF THE QUESTIONS people most often ask when they see me cutting is “How many pairs of silhouette scissors do you get through?” I get the impression they’re expecting to …
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Silhouette outlines by Charles Burns

Charles Burns

IN HIS LONG CAREER as a silhouette artist Charles Burns has cut many notable portraits, including three silhouettes of the Queen. He is the UK’s busiest silhouettist, having appeared at …
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Charles’ self portrait caricature as a Roving Artist

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