Master Portrait Artist, Cassidy Alexander, Brings Back the Art of Silhouettes
Updated: Mar 29
Cassidy Alexander strikes a pose among some of her many exceptional portrait projects in her Aurora, IL studio.
Silhouettes of children are always a popular choice for families. Cassidy can also cut silhouettes of pets. Scroll down for more examples of her work.
Once readily seen in the décor of European and Colonial America homes of long ago, silhouettes have long since faded into a quaint, vintage art form not easily found today.
However, in our area, quality paper silhouettes are available from fine artist, Cassidy Alexander, an Aurora, IL resident since 2007.
Cassidy is one of only a few active silhouette artists in the U.S. cutting genuine likenesses in the traditional manner: freehand, with paper and scissors only, without preliminary sketching, shadow tracings, or electronic manipulation of any kind.
Her thirty years’ experience as a master portrait artist gives her silhouettes a warmth and lifelike expressiveness not found in the generic cuts done at theme parks.
In just a few minutes, right before your eyes, Cassidy produces a snipped profile with Old World charm creating an instant heirloom for your family.
“Silhouettes are actually little portraits,” Cassidy explains. “Years ago, cutting silhouettes was taught as one of the graceful arts – a charming, clever and interesting pastime.”
She first learned by watching her husband who learned from a theme park artist. Cassidy’s portrait art training helped her catch on quickly. Using special paper and sharp surgical scissors, she masterfully captures a person’s likeness in less than five minutes! She can even cut the silhouette of a favorite pet.
Prior to COVID, Cassidy could be found snipping silhouettes at area festivals, department stores, and shops. Her business also includes private parties, fund-raisers, and events. Because of social distancing, she is now creating silhouettes from profile photos. Although
she credits creating silhouettes as the bread-and-butter of her business, she is far more than a paper-cutting artist.
Non-Traditional Art Education
Her art education – growing up in California -- was somewhat unorthodox. Instead of going through conventional art training at an institution of higher learning, she assembled a list of well-known California-based artists with whom she could study through private lessons, small classes, or seminars. She followed this path for six years and continued to refine her skills as the years went by.
As a child she could often be found scribbling faces, creating different characters defined by distinctive facial features. Today she focuses on capturing that unique expression of an individual that lights up their image on canvas. That fastidious attention to facial detail now has portrait clients reaching out to her from around the world.
She enjoys working with oils, pastels, charcoal or graphite. Next time you visit the Paramount in downtown Aurora, look for the portrait she did of the Paramount Arts Centre Endowment founder, Anne Goldsmith, hanging in the lobby.
Honoring those who died in the line of duty…
Cassidy also creates and donates pastel portraits of local fallen police officers, starting first in California where she resided, and now in the Chicago/Aurora area. She tries to complete the portraits in time for their funerals, if her schedule allows. She has also donated portraits of police dogs. Check out her website for more details about her dedication to this work.
Commissioning a Silhouette
Cassidy charges $29.00 for a silhouette bust cut, $18.00 for oval frames. She quotes an hourly rate – two-hour minimum – for parties or events. Call her at: 630-859-3551 for details.
Scroll down to view more of Cassidy’s art and visit her website at: www.CassidyAlexander.com
Cut silhouette on 5 x 7 card.
Anne S. Goldsmith, 22" x 28" oil on canvas; located in the Paramount theater lobby; Aurora, IL
Mojo, 12" x 16" pastel on board
Anniversary couple; 16" x 20", pastel on board
Fallen hero -- Chicago Police Department Commander, Paul Bauer, killed in the line of duty on February 13, 2018; donated portrait
18" x 24" charcoal on paper