Charles Burns, Silhouettist
I’m an artist on the autistic spectrum specialising in portrait silhouettes. I cut these very quickly, freehand with scissors, at events all over the world. I enjoy telling my story as well as conducting artistic and historical research on all aspects of silhouette art.
I’m a silhouettist working at corporate and private events all over the UK and overseas.
A silhouettist makes black, profile portraits, sometimes knows as shades or shadow portraits. Typically, I cut these with scissors in a minute or two. Clients book me because the process is fascinating to watch and it leaves their guests with a unique and personal memento of their event.
Silhouette cutting is an obscure artistic niche requiring a deeply obsessive personality to master it.
I began my career in the late 1980s as a street artist working in Covent Garden, London, where I worked for twelve years. it wasn’t always an easy existence! In my early 40s I was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum.
This diagnosis was a turning point in my life. It allowed me to accept my obsessive nature and embrace my growing obsession with silhouettes. Today, my life revolve entirely around silhouettes: I’ve written the book, made and film and continue to reinvent the art. During lockdown I created an online business making silhouettes over Zoom for families all over the world. More recently, I gave a TEDx talk on the history of silhouettes which I’m so happy with.
I enjoy speaking about my art and look forward to being a part of this community.