Saturday, January 3, 2009

Profile of a silhouette artist

I think we’ve all gone on line and Googled our own name just to see what comes up. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered silhouette artist Karl Johnson.

Once a popular art form, silhouette cutting is rare these days. According to his website, Karl has been practicing since he was ten years old. He learned from his father, who was taught many years earlier by a long-time family friend.

Karl cuts every silhouette entirely freehand. He looks at the subject's profile and then cuts their likeness out of black paper. Each silhouette is an original, one-of-a-kind work of art. Karl has cut thousands of silhouette images.

Karl attributes his success, in part, to having vision in only one eye. Not having binocular vision forces him to judge the distance and shape of an object by examining its shadow. This gives him an uncanny ability to capture an image in silhouette.

Karl's studio is in Los Angeles. You can see and buy his unique works of art on his website at


  1. Excellent website. Such a sweet art. I remember a booth at Hampton Beach which offered this perspective. It is amazing.

  2. Hi Karl,
    Thanks for this interesting posting. I'm a silhouettist too, but much closer to you, here in New England. You can check out my silhouettes at
    Ruth Monsell