What is a silhouettist anyway?

NOT EVERYBODY KNOWS what a silhouettist is. When I describe what I do,I’m often met with a blank stare.

“You mean, you cut up bits of paper for a living?”

The full stop moment
Holding up a freshly cut silhouette for the audience to appreciate

PICTURE THE SCENE: guests are beginning to arrive. Many of them have never met each other. In walks a silhouettist. It isn’t immediately obvious that he’s any different from the other guests, but this is a guest with a unique talent.

He approaches a group and engages them in conversation. He then produces a pair of scissors and – seemingly in seconds – cuts an astonishingly accurate portrait of one of them, holding it up to the light. Cries of amazement attract the attention of others, some of whom gather to see what’s going on.

Posing for a photo after mounting the silhouette onto one of our folding cards

 The silhouette, now mounted on a card, is passed around the room.

“Can I see? It looks just like you.”
“Where did that come from?”
“How did he make it? Did he use a camera?”

“CHARLES is an absolute master of his craft – and worth every penny! He effortlessly mingles with guests while producing fantastic ‘takeaway’ mementoes of the day”

Hugh L.

Silhouette cutting

Silhouette cutting against a yellow wall
Holding it up to the light

Meanwhile, the silhouettist moves on, repeating the process. Each group greets him with initial surprise and reluctance, followed by delight and astonishment at the silhouette. After a while the whole room becomes aware that ‘something is up’. People begin searching for the artist, hoping they will be next.

A number of small, black-paper profiles – mounted on neat folding cards – are being passed around the room. Each is compared to each person’s profile. More importantly, everybody gets to know each other in the process.

The reception is beginning to look like a success.

Art as Entertainment

Using art as entertainment in this way is crucial to what I do. I aim to take my art out of the studio and into your event. I’ll work with you to find the best way to present my silhouettes, whilst always keeping in mind that your priority is the success of your event.

Working in front of an audience like this would be most artists’ idea of a nightmare. Artists tend to be nervous about their work, hating others to see work in progress. For me, as a silhouettist, it has become as natural as breathing.

Cutting at a pre-dinner drinks reception
Working at a corporate summer party
And at a wedding evening party
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