Charles Burns

Charles Burns, silhouette artist, aka Roving Artist. Author of Mastering Silhouettes and presenter of Silhouette Secrets

Speed cutting: SS still

Speed cutting secrets

SOMETHING WHICH struck me after the “Off With Your Head!” speed-cutting contest was just how entertaining it had all been. With Cindi Rose and I cutting back-to-back, silhouettes began filling the room within minutes. Everybody went away with at least one portrait and most got two. Wherever I looked there were people laughing, joking and comparing profiles.

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The silhouette cutting world record result

Does ‘One’ in Houston mean ‘Go’?

THERE SEEMS to be some ambiguity over the silhouette speed-cutting world record. The main item on our 2014 US agenda was a trip to Houston to meet the world’s fastest silhouette artist: Cindi Harwood Rose. Her record stands at 144 silhouettes cut in one hour. Our film, Silhouette Secrets, is to end with the speed-cutting duel

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Ural view of the Oxford Shark

The Oxford Shark

DURING FILMING of Silhouette Secrets in February 2014 we were unexpectedly let down by an interviewee in London. We found ourselves, camera crew in tow, with nothing to film on a beautiful winter morning. On a whim we got the Russian motorcycle out of the shed and headed out into Oxford to cut a silhouette of a shark.

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Digital Selfie of Charles Burns

Digital Selfies

AS OUR INDIEGOGO campaign enters it’s final week I’m posting the promised update… and a request for a tweet! Tomorrow will be Silhouette Secrets’ Twitter day, and your chance to win a digital selfie.

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2 Silhouette Secrets Premiere tickets,

Free Silhouettes and other silly ideas

FREE SILHOUETTES! I begin this year in a state of high excitement. We have started filming “Silhouette Secrets” in earnest.  This is my first foray into the world of film (apart from occasional TV appearances: Blue Peter, Tales of Tools, Big Brother’s Big Mouth etc.) I’m thoroughly enjoying the experience. The film is a 50-minute ‘indie’ TV

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Jake's silhouette, how to cut a silhouette

First attempts at filming

I’M EXITED to report we’ve at last started filming Silhouette Secrets. We filmed this interview and “how to cut a silhouette” sequence in front of my wall of silhouette duplicate albums. It is unlikely to be used in the film, but I hope it gives a flavour of what we have in mind.

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Silhouette Secrets logo

Will anybody fund a silhouette documentary film?

WHEN I FIRST DISCOVERED the art of silhouette it seemed like a tiny corner in the world of art, unloved by the fine-art establishment. Back then, the thought of a silhouette documentary was hard to imagine. Today, I’m amazed by the journey which silhouette has led me on. Silhouette found me as an unknown artist – working

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Tony Blackburn silhouette

Can I cut a silhouette on the radio?

WHENEVER I FEEL I’ve exhausted all the challenges silhouette cutting has to offer, a new one always opens itself up to me.  Can I cut a silhouette on the raidoi? A week or so ago I was invited into a BBC studio to cut a single silhouette. The subject was the well-known DJ Tony Blackburn and the challenge

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Speed-cutting preparation: a cup of Earl Grey tea and a biscuit

Some very fast Germans

AN INTERESTING CHALLENGE was set for us by a client in Germany. He wanted each of 250 conference delegates to receive a silhouette – cut from their own corporate-blue paper – during a conference dinner.  My initial proposal (based on tried-and-tested advice to allow two minutes per person) was to book four artists.  He replied

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Six silhouettes in various poses

Silhouette Workshops and other cutting-edge ideas

IVE BEEN RECIEVING a number of enquiries about dinner parties, or small meetings, for 20 people or less. One particular event organiser, who called after a client had asked her about silhouettes, was understandably skeptical: “They’re only expecting 12 guests” she said “I know how fast you are, you’ll only be there for 15 minutes

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Charles cutting the Queen's silhouette

A royal profile or three

IN THE YEAR of the DIAMOND JUBILEE I was invited to cut silhouettes over lunch at a marquee in Coworth Park. It was one of the only events I’ve attended where the toastmaster had to announce lunch by calling for “Your Majesties, Royal Highnesses, Highnesses, Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen… ” to take their seats. 

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iPhone Apple

iPhone Drawings

NOW THAT Mastering Silhouettes is out of my hands I have some time to return to the studio and do some painting.  My biggest inspiration so far this year has been the (very crowded) David Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy, so I’ve been making iPhone drawings.

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Mastering Silhouettes book covers

The Book is Launched!

MY NEW BOOK, Mastering Silhouettes, was launched last month with a small party at the London Sketch Club.  We were fortunate enough to be sponsored by Hendricks Gin, after I worked at their “umbrella emporium” party last year. They supplied the drink, so it was a small but tasty party.  Thank you Hendricks! 

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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 hear that I use at least six pairs a night! When I explain that I’ve been using the same pair of scissors for the

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