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.

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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First festival successes

First festival successes

Silhouette Secrets seems off to a flying start. We took part in two film festivals towards the end of 2015 and have applied for many more this year. The first two festivals were the Marbella International Film Festival, where we were nominated for Best Documentary, and NiFF Houston, where we won the Best Documentary Award. (more…)

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The Final Cut

The Final Cut

The film is out! I seem to have spent most of my time this summer cooped up in the editing room with Andi, making the final cut of Silhouette Secrets. Silhouette Secrets is a one-hour documentary film in which a modern-day silhouette artist (me) takes a journey back in time to explore the history of his shadowy art. He asks the question: “Where did it come from?” (more…)

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Arrest of an Artist

Arrest of an Artist

While in America last year, filming for the documentary ‘Silhouette Secrets’, we visited Philadelphia to study a 200-year-old automatic silhouette-making machine. On the way my mind lapsed and I found myself driving on the wrong side of the road. (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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Does ‘One’ in Houston mean ‘Go’?

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 we fought in Houston. There's only one problem: nobody seems to know the result!

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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. (more…)

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Digital Selfies

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. (more…)

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Free Silhouettes and other silly ideas

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. (more…)

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First attempts at filming

First attempts at filming

I am excited to report we have 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. (more…)

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Will anybody fund a silhouette documentary film?

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.  (more…)

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