Orlando, FL USA
The Chinese invented paper during the time of the Tang Dynasty, 700 AD. The Chinese also began the art of paper cutting, which later spread to Europe and the rest of the world.
A French bureaucrat by the name of Etienne de Silhouette created this form of portraiture in Paris, France in the mid- 1700's. Etienne was the French Minister of Finance, and was just as well-known for cutting "shades" of people as he was for cutting the government spending budget "down to the bone".
No, silhouettes are hand- cut by using scissors and paper only. A trained silhouette artist just looks at the subject's profile, and cuts it out freehand within a matter of minutes.
I learned how to cut silhouettes in the summer of 1989 at a theme park in Orlando, Florida. I started out as a paste-up helper, then became an artist later on. I carefully observed each artist while at work, then chose my two favorite artists. From there, I asked the two artists loads of questions about how they got started and if they had any pointers. I took their advice, came up with my own ideas as well, then just had to sit and practice and do the rest on my own.
No. Until now it has mostly been a word of mouth kind of art form, and the artist is left to glean tidbits of information here and there and mostly figure it out on their own through practice, trial and error. If a silhouette artist is really lucky, it is handed down to them from a family member who has decades of experience in the field.
The bulk of the silhouette artists in the world can be found either at Disneyland, Disney World, Tokyo Disney or Euro-Disney. Other than that, there are just a few silhouette artists scattered here and there on the planet. Some silhouette artists travel extensively, while others just do a few special events per year.
I would say it depends heavily upon each individual's skill level as an artist and the amount of practice they put into it. I practiced 45 minutes a day for three weeks and got the basics down, and I was cutting for the public within 3 months. I built up my speed, accuracy, and individual cutting style, however, by about the 1 year mark.
A good silhouette artist should be able to cut out an accurate portrait within 90 seconds.
French silhouette paper is used, with a cellulose based wallpaper paste to mount the portrait.
I can do anywhere from 80-120 portraits in a 4 hour special event.
Just a draped 4x4' table, two chairs and a light (or ambient light) is needed.
Pricing for an event depends heavily upon where the event is taking place. I would be traveling to you from Orlando, FL, USA.
I charge a discounted rate for local events, and regular price for events that involve travel of over 2 hours by car, or involve a flight. Flight, ground transport, meals, lodging, and my fee would all be calculated into the expense of getting to you.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free quote. Include the type of event you will be having, the approximate number of Guests, and the location of the event including city, state, and country, and the start and end time of your event. I will be traveling to you from Orlando, Florida, USA.
Two copies of your Guest’s Silhouette will be cut simultaneously. One will be pasted onto a scrolled card, and the second copy will be pasted into a Guest Book that is included FREE for you to keep. The Guest Book will be given to the Guest(s) of honor at the end of the reception.
The Silhouette may be mounted onto an attractive folded card with an oval scroll on the inside, and a brief history of Silhouettes printed on the back.
You may have a 5x7” sturdy card stock with a beautiful scroll and clear baggies.
A blank white 5x7” card with clear baggies.
Black oval frames polish off the look of the Silhouette, and can be included in your Wedding package for an additional charge. Please inquire with the number of frames needed, and a quote will be given to you. The frames will be sold at a bulk discounted rate, and may need to be shipped ahead to you.
I have a variety of Victorian themed costumes, and upon request can wear one at your Special Event. There is no additional fee for this.
For large events of over 100 people, please inquire about having more than one Silhouette Artist. I can ask one or more team member to join the event for an additional fee.
For events with 100 people or less, with no frames, I can queue the line and paste up easily on my own the entire time. If frames are included in your package, a helper is highly recommended. I can either bring someone along with me for an additional fee, or you can provide a helper for the evening. They would be required to stay with me for the entire Event.
Once your inquiry has been sent and we have mutually agreed on the terms, I will send my simple contract to you. A half down deposit along with my signed contract sent back to me is all that is needed to secure the date. I will make all travel and hotel arrangements, so there is no worry on your end.
Booking as far as a year in advance is ideal, but inquiries even days before your event are certainly welcome. If I am not available, I can more than likely send a skilled and trusted Silhouette Artist your way!