Friday, January 05, 2007
Hmm, I've never given any attention to Silhouettes. I thought it was some kind of "craft" of cutting-out photographs onto black paper or something. Boy, was I wrong. What it is, is a portrait cut "freehand" with just a piece of paper and a pair of scissors. Really interesting history, too. It seems that, before the invention of the camera, artists in Europe and America did a big business doing these "poor man's portraits." As is the case today (in a way) most folks could not get a real portrait because the cost was prohibitive, so they paid for these quick "shadow portraits." We know the faces of our ancesotors (in the 17th to 19th centuries) to large degree due to this art. Of course, the camera changed all that. The commoners paid for THAT, and silhouettes were largely abandoned as a way of familial record. But the art is still alive. And it's real portraiture, with works in galleries and museums, and artists hired by the celebrated and by the wealthy, and by presidents, and by simple folk like me.
So, inspired, I grabbed my nose hair scissors and a piece of typing paper and tried to cut a profile from memory, of some kid. Came out okay, although a little too small. I was amazed this could actually be done. Very cool.