OON AFTER the start of the Coronavirus lockdown all our “real world” events were cancelled. Since then, Charles has been playing with online silhouettes, especially cutting them at Zoom parties. Cutting silhouettes online has always been an interest, but the current crisis has given this way of working working a new impetus. After a number of experiments and false starts we are making an announcement. Charles now has a new way to cut your portrait: Zoom silhouettes. We’re starting to promote them – for a limited period only – with a one-time special offer.
Are you holding a small party on Zoom? During the months of May and June Charles is offering small groups of friends and colleagues the chance to have their silhouette cut at what he calls “street-art prices”. We never publish prices online, but we promise it will be affordable.
A “street art” price is what you’d expect to pay for a silhouette if you approached a street portrait artist in Covent Garden, London. Or perhaps Montmartre, Paris. The only stipulation is that there should be a reasonable number of you – equivalent to a small audience watching a street artist in action. Between 10 and 20 people is ideal, but any number will work.
Charles will join the event and introduce his art. Picking one of your guests as a model he’ll pin them to his screen, ask them to pose in profile, and cut a portrait of them in a minute or two. “Pinning” allows him to focus on this guest, seeing them in full screen, while other guests carry on and chat as normal. At the end he will hold the silhouette up to the screen to everybody can see it.
Here are a series of short videos from a recent Zoom party. They show a group of friends self-isolating in London, Scotland and Amsterdam. These clips show the experience on offer. These friends got together on Zoom to catch up with each others’ news and have their silhouettes cut at the same time. Here are five clips which we posted on YouTube recently:
Another lockdown project has become the revitalisation of our flagging YouTube channel. We badly need to get our subscriber levels up!
These videos are the first of a number of videos we are planning over the next few weeks. Please show your support in these difficult times by visiting and subscribing to the Silhouettist YouTube channel.
Over the first few weeks of lockdown Charles conducted a series of online experiments. He began by creating a Facebook event and inviting friends to an evening of silhouettes cutting. This was followed by his blog post Can a Silhouettist work from home? The blog post led to a couple of short online corporate events. In these Charles cut silhouettes for teams of online workers. They were all working from home and their team leader wanted to hold a relaxed social eventing to boost morale.
It turned into the highlight of the day. These things need an element of fun in there – having the silhouette cutting was inspired and really made the day
The corporate events led to a variety of requests to cut more more people online. So far, Charles has tried cutting silhouettes on Zoom, Hangouts, Skype, Insta-Live and WebEx. The best of these by far is Zoom, as it allows him to “pin” each participant to his screen irrespective of whether they are speaking or not. On some platforms the person posing needs to keep talking, since every time they stop the spotlighted video moves to somebody else! This is just one of the many technical challenges involved in working this way. For Charles, Zoom silhouettes are the way forward!
Charles’ background is as a Covent Garden street artist. Many years later, he still enjoys speaking about his experiences there, and has always allowed them to inform his business decisions.
He’s always been find of telling people:
“If the corporate entertainment business ever fails me, I can always go back to Covent Garden”
Well, Coronavirus has caused the total failure of the corporate entertainment business. Unfortunately, it has also closed Covent Garden, so that’s no longer an option!
Instead, Charles decided to take the street art online. Taking the view that the internet space is the new Covent Garden he is setting up a stall and laying out his wares on the pavement. This is the thinking behind our Lockdown Special.
Charles recently made an appearance on Twitch, cutting a number of silhouettes (including James Acaster) on Stuart Goldsmiths “Infinite Sofa”. Stuart, like Charles, began he career as a Covent-Garden street artist.
“This was probably one of my most chaotic media appearances ever!”
You can watch the whole program here if you wish, but it is quite long. Charles appears quite early and then cuts James’ silhouette right at the end.
If you like the idea of holding your own silhouette party on Zoom please get in touch. It’s an entertaining way to pass an evening with friends or family. We’re making it very affordable right now, charging a simple flat rate per person.
To keep the rates low we will ask you to act as the “organiser”.
We will set up the Zoom event, but it will be your role to invite everybody and make sure they know when and how to join the event.
If you are planning to split the cost of the event with others, we will ask that you collect any necessary funds and send it to us as one sum. We will agree with you a reasonable cost per person (based on numbers) in any currency you wish. You can then send funds using Paypal, bank transfer or other service.
We welcome enquires from anybody wishing to organise such events on a commercial basis and are happy to discuss commission.
After the event Charles will share a scan of all the silhouettes with you which you can share with everybody at the event and send out on social media (if you wish) . We will then post all the original silhouette cuttings to you, each mounted on a card, so you can sort them out and send them on to everybody at the event.