Artist and Historian
FASCINATED BY THE HISTORY, Steve Abbott is one of a small band of silhouettists keeping the decorative and beautiful art of the silhouette portrait alive today.
With his distinctive Santa-Claus beard he looks every inch the quirky and interesting artist he is. Steve cuts his portraits freehand in just a couple of minutes, using an arsenal of scissors sewn into his coat. His relaxed and entertaining manner makes him a genuine asset at any event.
As well as being a talented silhouette cutter, Steve collects old and unusual examples of the art. He has a wealth of knowledge about silhouette history and is fascinated by artists of the past. Steve has a range of stories about their lives and work and is frequently booked by local art societies to do just that. He is a long-standing member of the Silhouette Collector’s Club.
Alongside his work as a silhouettist Steve is also an accomplished watercolour painter. He enjoys teaching these skills to others. Students report that he manages to fill his lessons with a passion and enthusiasm for art that makes it a delight to learn. Hearing him speak about silhouettes it’s easy to imagine why this is so.
Steve Abbott – artist’s statement
“Hi, I’m Steve Abbott and I live in Marple, near Stockport, in Cheshire. I am a retired Aircraft Design and Publications Engineer.
I’ve been demonstrating and lecturing on watercolour and drawing techniques for many years. I started painting in 1980, when I joined the Society of Marple Artists. The society is a group of friends who share their love of art to all. In the evenings, after shift work, we would draw and paint at the Quarry Bank Mill at Style, Cheshire.
One evening in 1984 I was approached by the director of the mill. He was organising an Edwardian fair and wanted a silhouette artist. I searched the North of England and found no one. So, for the day, I became a silhouette artist and painted profiles of visitors to the fair. By the end of the day I had been invited to do more at local school fairs and folk festivals. I then started my research into the shades of the past.
Shortly afterwards I met Charles while be was cutting silhouettes in Covent Garden. We swapped silhouettes and have been firm friends ever since. I am now an active member of the Silhouette Collectors Club and am pleased to see the popularity of the art growing.”
A set of recent silhouettes by Steve Abbott, cut from life in about 2-3 minutes each at a family party.
Steve Abbott was involved in the Silhouette Secrets projects. He was interviewed on Llandudno Pier about the an artist called Harry Oakley, who used to work there. During the interview he cut a silhouette of Charles. The process would have taken little over a minute, if Charles hadn’t insisted Steve include all his curls! The sequence would have ended up on the cutting-room floor, but we revived it to make this little two-minute Silhouette Snippet video.