The Silhouettist - Silhouette Artist

In his long career as a silhouette artist he has cut many notable portraits, including two silhouettes of the Queen.

He was born in London in 1961 and educated at Ampleforth, a catholic boarding school in North Yorkshire. Here he was taught to draw in the classical tradition by the sculptor John Bunting, himself a student of Leon Underwood. Later he attended art colleges in Exeter, Wolverhampton and Lyon, France, graduating with a 1st class Hons degree in Fine Art (painting) in 1984.

On leaving art college he worked for many years as a street artist in London’s Covent Garden, initially drawing 10-minute portraits in pencil and later cutting silhouettes. He naturally moved from there to the corporate events and entertainment market, where he found an audience quite different from the world of fine art. He has appeared at all kinds of venues and cut over 150,000 profiles, including two portraits of the Queen, President Clinton (while visiting the National Portrait Gallery) and the Duke of Edinburgh, as well as a large number of TV personalities, writers, artists and sporting celebrities.

He currently lives with his family in Reading, where he has converted a small eighteenth-century barn for use as a painting studio. The barn can double as an ad-hoc gallery and is opened to the public on various occasions each year.

In one way or another he had spent his whole life drawing people. As a shy and awkward 1970’s teenager drawing was the one thing that seemed to connect him with others. It allowed him to commit to paper his feelings about them, his fascination with their varying characters and his own relationship to them. From an early age his ability to draw enabled him to make friends and helped him define his sense of self. In many ways, it still does.

The activity of drawing can take many forms. His favourite (reflecting the way he was taught) is to use a 3B pencil on paper. Today, after many happy years spent cutting silhouette portraits, this is closely followed by a pair of scissors. Whether drawing or cutting he always begin by just looking, and then allowing his hands to respond naturally to what he see. When working fast with scissors this approach can sometimes produce unexpected results!

When his busy career as a silhouettist allows he still like to find time to draw for its own sake, and for many years have run life-drawing sessions for local artists in his Reading studio. This is an enormous help in keeping the silhouettes fresh; in drawing, as well as in cutting, one never really stops learning. Today he feel fortunate that his ability to draw has taken him all over the world, and given him a chance to meet - and cut - many wonderful people.

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