Friday, August 26, 2011

Silhouette Artists, Silhouette Artistry, Silhouettes, Q and A+

Quick-blog about Silhouette Artists, Silhouette Artistry, Silhouettes, Q and A+

1. What is a silhouette artist? The broad word silhouette can apply to window shades, fashion, prehistoric cave drawings, Chinese embroidery patterns, iconic symbols on Grecian and Egyptian urns or crafty photo shopped or traced shadows. A real silhouette artist, the term created by the America’s premier silhouette artist, Augustine Edouart, applies to fine artists who can capture a profile, from hand-cutting portraits from black paper, freehand, using only their vision and natural talent, scissors and soot-blackened paper. Edouart renamed the English term “shades” after, Etienne de Silhouette, a French minister of Finance who loved the thrifty price of silhouettes compared to expensive oil paintings, there were no cameras at that time.

2. Where do you find a Silhouette artist? You find them on the streets of Paris, or in amusement parks, or in nice stores. However, all silhouette artists are not created equal.

The silhouettes created by these authentic silhouette artists, can be only as good as the artist is. In other words, some artists do not see the differences in everyone’s face,

and may not know style. I would shy away from street artists, and research the internet, for the gifted silhouette artists. Make sure the artist you select, does not make

everyone look old-fashioned or “out-of-style”. Look at the video by Cindi Rose and Cody Bess on You-Tube. The best silhouette artists, also know fashion.

3. How do you learn to cut silhouettes? Usually, the best way to acquire this talent is genetics—it is passed down from three to four generations of silhouette artists. It is a natural talent. I tried to teach it to other fabulous artists while I was a student in fine arts at University of Texas. The husband/wife team I taught after hours of training, cannot capture a good likeness, and thus, I have not spent weeks again trying to teach this art, even to top art students. There are books on the internet on this subject, but the books can’t guarantee that you can master this complicated, lost art. The best book is by Kathryn Flocken, Silhouettes Rediscovering the Lost Art.

4. How long does it take to do Silhouettes by a real silhouette artist? As the world’s fastest silhouette artist (see SilhouettesbyCindi blog story printed in San Antonio Express Newspapers, submitted to Guinness Book of World-Records) I can do over 100 silhouettes per hour—with an exact likeness, and eyelashes, style. However, at most weddings, corporate events and stores, I do 30 to 60 silhouettes per hour, depending on if someone else is mounting them, and how much detail I will put in to it. The fastest silhouette artists are the premier silhouette artists, they have the innate gift of seeing contour, detail, form and structure.

I have seen the slower, less gifted silhouette artists, take up to 15 minutes to cut a silhouette. The finished product is not smooth. The most capable silhouette artists of Victorian and classic paper profile cutting take 5 minutes or less per person.

5. Can I get a silhouette by e-mail? Yes. Cindi Harwood Rose only does e-mail orders of original signed silhouettes from or They are more expensive, but are of archival, antique, French silhouette paper, worth more than their cost ($100 as a tax-donation to cancer-survivors). They come on archival paper, with hand-cut black oval mats, and postage is included. You can also order silhouettes on cuff-links or pendants.

6. What should I wear for the silhouette, and should I fix my or my child’s hair? Don’t dress for the silhouette, or worry about the hair. The most gifted silhouette artists

have an imagination, and are fine artists and can make you, your loved one, or child’s hair and clothing look “fixed” in the picture.

7. My child will not “sit-still” how can I get a silhouette? No worry, the preeminent leading silhouette artists are skilled with “wiggly children”. They move to the child.

You may have never seen a real silhouette artist, they are not the school teachers who trace a crude shadow off a wall, or use the trick of a camera. They are talented fine artists who have natural talent to see profile.

8. Can you do pets? Yes, of course! I love to do furry and feathered friends. This is done from profile photos sent to It is a charity donation to a pet cause or cancer cause. SilhouettesbyCindi only takes internet orders for non-profit donations. They cost more than other silhouette artists charge, but you get signed, mounted art, that is collectable according to Peggy McClard, the world’s foremost authority on purchasing and collecting antique investment silhouettes. Rose is the only living silhouette artist that still has 50 year-old French antique paper (purchased in volume 38 years ago).

9. Will you do silhouettes at my wedding? Yes, of course, if the arrangements work with both our schedules. I love to help with the total theme, the invitations, napkins,

and centerpieces. If I am unavailable, I can recommend an alternate accomplished silhouettist, from American, Europe, Australia, or Canada. There are only about 18 skilled silhouette artists in the world who capture an accurate likeness, with interior details, and speed. Just e-mail for details.

10. What else does a skilled silhouette artist do? I love being a curator or speaker on the effects silhouettes have had to pre-date the camera. It is interesting to give lectures to museums and art galleries about the shadow, and how I work with the person, so the Jung definition of the shadow being your dark past, is replaced with the light of my work. In addition, I can do large scale silhouettes for plays, set-design, art and advertising design. Look at my video on YouTube with Cody Bess, and see the Papercapes we incorporated with fashion models, from fine art museums, an art gallery, bistro, and Farmer’s Market, all done with surgical scissors and imagination.

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