Tim Arnold, "The Silhouette Man" (Photo courtesy World of Mirth/Silhouettes by Tim Arnold)
Known for the remarkable detail in his silhouette creations, Tim Arnold, “The Silhouette Man,” will be at World of Mirth Oct. 17 and 18. Recommended by the Smithsonian Institution for his skill in creating these shadow-like replicas, Arnold’s technique is referred to as “European embellished style,” which dates back to the 1800s.
With more than 30 years of experience, Arnold travels the country stopping in at independent toy stores and other retail shops. He was previously a regular installation inside larger department stores, but when those stores discontinued offering the service, Arnold began traveling.
World of Mirth General Manager Thea Brown says this is the first time Arnold has come to World of Mirth, and it’s also his first time back in Richmond in 10 years. “He is one of the only silhouette artists in the world that’s recommended by the Smithsonian Institute,” Brown says. “He’s able to capture all of these unique details, and he can do it in five minutes.”
Remarkably, Arnold is able to create two profile images within those minutes. He does so by cutting paper to resemble the subject sitting in front of him or based off of a strong profile photograph. He can also create pet silhouettes. Wiggly babies, restless children and squirmy pets are no problem.
A master of his craft, Arnold’s visit is a unique opportunity to have an artistic keepsake created or a gift for someone else in a style rarely seen anymore. “It’s one of those amazing art forms that fell sort of by the wayside,” Brown says. “[Silhouettes are] something that was passed down from generation to generation, this snapshot in time.”
Advance appointments are requested by visiting the store’s Eventbrite page; however, all available spots have already been filled. Even so, Brown recommends monitoring Facebook and Eventbrite for openings that may pop up in advance of Arnold’s visit. Walk-ins are also welcome, but are not guaranteed to receive a spot, as advance appointments will have priority. A facing pair of silhouettes (the same subject facing left and right) cost $40. Up to four additional copies may be purchased for $10 each. Classic 5-by-7 black oval frames will also be for sale, featuring hand-painted gold trim, for $30.
World of Mirth will also be participating in the annual Toy Store Day Nov. 12, a day of festivities at the shop featuring a visit from Michael Muller and Mirabelle the Boston terrier, promoting Muller’s newest book, “Have Yourself a Mirabelle Little Christmas!” starring Mirabelle herself. A food drive will also be hosted at the store benefiting Richmond Animal Care and Control, and a percentage of the store’s profits that day will be donated to a local nonprofit.