ALISON RUSSELL comes from a family tradition of silhouette cutting. Her American grandmother, Mary-Lou Russell, taught her to cut while she was still a child. Alison’s work still shows Mary-Lou’s influence to this day. Here silhouettes are larger than mine, full of character and incredibly lifelike.
Mary-Lou Russell (1928-2009) was an established painter and silhouettist for more than 50 years. She was a friend of the well-known English silhouettist Hubert Leslie. When Alison cut her first silhouette, aged just eight, it was a huge surprise! Later, she observed Mary-Lou’s technique and developed her skill by practising on friends and family.
Skilled in all things paper, Alison is also an accomplished origami artist. After gaining her BA Degree in illustration she began her career as a freelance silhouettist. She has also studied graphics, jewellery design and mosaic. Alison has been working as a guest Roving Artist for many years.
Alison is based in London, where she lives with her partner and two young children. She enjoys working at weddings and company fun days. She is conveniently placed to travel to events anywhere around London & the south of England.
Alison & Charles are such lovely people & so talented. My family of 4 got our silhouettes cut in a matter of minutes at a wedding. Absolutely amazing!
Alison’s silhouettes have a somewhat nostalgic air. The American tradition of silhouette cutting is still a big influence on her work. She enjoys the challenge of capturing the essence of the human spirit in a single sheet of paper. Alison also works in a variety of media including sketching, painting and sculpture. She has even taught mosaic to children all around the world and has a great sense of fun!
Alison Russell – artist’s statement
I make my living by cutting profile portraits live at parties and events. They are quick to produce and leave guests with a highly-personal memento of a special occasion. Guests can hardly believe it’s possible to cut their silhouette right then and there! Perhaps because we are so accustomed to having everything produced using digital technology. It makes hand-crafted experiences all the more novel and precious. Long live hand-made silhouettes!
Some of Alison Russell’s silhouettes, cut while working with The Roving Artist