The Roving Artist

  • Biography

    Silhouette Artist Charles Burns – The Roving Artist Charles Burns is one of only half a dozen full time silhouette artists in the UK and is widely recognised as the best and most experienced.

    Charles was born in London in 1961 and educated at Ampleforth where he was taught to draw in the classical tradition by the sculptor John Bunting. Later he attended Art Colleges in Exeter, Wolverhampton and Lyon, France, graduating with a First Class Honours degree in Fine Art (painting) in 1984. Self-taught Silhouettist On leaving Art College, Charles worked for many years as a street artist in London’s Covent Garden, drawing rapid portraits in pencil. It was here that he re-created the old English craft of cutting silhouette portraits with scissors, for which he is now best known. From Covent Garden he moved into the corporate events and entertainment market, finding an audience quite different from the world of fine art. Realising that silhouette cutting was becoming a lost art, Charles has carried out extensive research into the history of silhouette cutting and the processes employed by various artists over several centuries. Notable silhouettes Over two decades Charles has appeared at all kinds of venues and events and has cut over 150,000 profiles including many notable figures.

    These include:- – two portraits of the Queen (the second cut at a party to celebrate her 80th birthday) – President Clinton (whilst visiting the National Portrait Gallery) – the Duke of Edinburgh – sporting figures including Gary Linneker, and mountaineer Chris Bonnington, – politicians including Lord Archer, Charles Kennedy, Peter Mandelson, Michael Portillo – celebrities such as Rory Bremner, Eric Idle, Jamie Oliver, Michael Palin, Esther Rantzen, David Dimbleby, Alan Sugar Publications Charles is the author of ‘Mastering Silhouettes’, published in the UK by the Fil Rouge Press and in the USA by Stackpole Books in 2012 TV appearances Charles has several TV appearances including: – BBC2 Series “Tales of Tools” – an episode about scissors – Blue Peter (cutting a silhouette of Matt Baker) – Big Brothers Big Mouth (Russell Brand)