A modern-day silhouettist tells his story. Charles Burns writes about his explorations into the art and history of silhouette. His mission is to bring this often-overlooked art to a wider, appreciative audience.
11.12.2019 by Charles Burns
As an artist interested in science I'm aways fascinated by weird pseudo-scientific ideas of the past, especially if they involve silhouettes. Once which caught my eye recently is the Prosopographus. In this post I'm going to take you back in time to see if it can be brought back to life. I’m looking for ideas to help me design a silhouette machine. A 200 year anniversary. I’m going to take you back exactly 200 years.
03.09.2019 by Charles Burns
For the last few weeks I’ve been toying with an idea for a new book. I'm thinking about a picture book, a “guess the silhouette” collection of cuttings. It's the kind of book I hope somebody would love to receive in a Christmas stocking. (more…)
17.03.2019 by Charles Burns
I began playing with an en grisaille portrait many years ago. At the time, I was experimenting with traditional techniques for adding gold details (known as embellishing) and began scribbling pencil notes on my white copies. I began to find these white copies more interesting than the finished silhouettes! (more…)
21.10.2018 by Charles Burns
After watching Silhouette Secrets, recently launched on Amazon, people often ask: what sparked my interest in silhouettes? It isn't such an easy question to answer. However, my mind often returns to this silhouette, which has been in my family for years. It may well be the first silhouette I ever saw. (more…)
09.10.2018 by Charles Burns
Our film Silhouette Secrets includes a cameo appearance by Paul Daniels. This interview - our Paul Daniels cameo - was a late addition. We were looking for a magician to talk about Dai Vernon, the celebrated father of close-up magic, who earned a living as a street silhouettist during the Great American Depression. (more…)
09.08.2018 by Charles Burns
What should a silhouettist's approach to data protection be? This question has been much on my mind recently. I'm not alone; the launch of GDPR in Europe – and the subsequent wave of reply-or-unsubscribe emails – has got everybody thinking. What kind of data do I use? For me, the question has caused me to reexamine some of my most fundamental ideas about the role of silhouettes in society. (more…)
07.06.2018 by Charles Burns
I recently came across the work of a talented silhouettist called Sarah Harrington. She was a professional silhouettist who worked during the latter part of the eighteenth century. What struck me about about her work (apart from her obvious love of hats) is that they're all cut inside-out! (more…)
16.02.2018 by Charles Burns
In Emmer Green, at the bottom of the garden of an unassuming 1920’s semi-detached house you’ll find Mays Barn. It was quite a find! I always tell people we bought the barn and the house came with it! But why is it there? (more…)
03.02.2018 by Charles Burns
“Can you cut a face-on silhouette? What happens if I'm not in profile?” For years, like most silhouettists, I tended to avoid these questions. (more…)
10.03.2017 by Charles Burns
One year on falls the paper anniversary. A little over a year ago I was booked to attend a wedding at the Savoy, London. It was a wonderful event and I cut some memorable silhouettes, including a three-minute cutting of one of the most complicated hats I've ever seen. (more…)
14.02.2017 by Charles Burns
How many ways cut I cut a silhouette? To be honest, I've let count. Soon after I cut my 50,000th silhouette I realised repertoire was everything. Since then, I've made it my ambition to cut or paint every kind of silhouette I can imagine. Here are some of them.