Blog: @silhouettist

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.

Portraits and Caricatures by Inger Eidem

Portraits and Caricatures by Inger Eidem

I heard about Inger Eidem long before I knew her name. Whilst cutting silhouettes at events I'd occasionally meet people who'd tell me about silhouettes they had done in their childhood. Apparently the artist cut through two pieces of paper at the same time, one of which became a portrait and the other a caricature. Wait, what?! Is that even possible?

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Prosopographus: the silhouette automaton

Prosopographus: the silhouette automaton

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.

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Trench Life in Silhouette

Trench Life in Silhouette

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…)

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Our Paul Daniels cameo

Our Paul Daniels cameo

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…)

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A silhouettist’s approach to data protection

A silhouettist’s approach to data protection

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…)

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Sarah Harrington’s hollow-cuts

Sarah Harrington’s hollow-cuts

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…)

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A silhouette of Marie Antoinette

A silhouette of Marie Antoinette

Last Wednesday I picked up an eighteenth-century silhouette by Isabella Beetham. Beetham is a well-known Georgian artist and her work is much prized by collectors today. She is something of a feminist icon. (more…)

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The European Art of the Silhouette

The European Art of the Silhouette

In the midst of the referendum debate I would like to draw your attention to the European Art of the Silhouette. Every so often I am asked to appear as a guest speaker, speaking about silhouettes and their history. (more…)

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Tales of a Wayside Inn

Tales of a Wayside Inn

After visiting Houston the Silhouette Secrets film crew were invited to a lunch by SCONE. We met "Silhouette Cutters of New England" at the Wayside Inn, near Boston. We knew nothing of the Wayside Inn's history or it's connection with the art of silhouette. (more…)

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The Ink and Wash silhouettes of Mr Charles

The Ink and Wash silhouettes of Mr Charles

I sent the first draft of my book to the publishers this morning.  It's been an intense few months, but I've really enjoyed the opportunity to write about people like Mr Charles and his ink-wash silhouettes.  (more…)

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