Lhouette, aka British artist Ciarán Robinson, is one of the UK’s most progressive proponents of urban pop. His ‘post urban glamour' and 'pop maximalist' concepts have won him international recognition, along with the widely collected silhouette figures which inspired his pseudonym. Committed to innovation and self-expression, he makes flamboyant and colourful compositions which embody what he calls a “do-it-yourself ethos” and a penchant for challenging conventions.
After leaving the Royal Navy in his early twenties, Lhouette spent a lot of time in East London. Here he rediscovered his early interest in art with a whole new creative world of pop-up exhibitions, art studios and a dynamic urban art scene. He began working in the art industry and spent two years studying an arts course at Birkbeck University of London, before setting up his own studio in 2012.
In those early days his art was raw and his methods were unconventional. Over a decade later, his technique is honed and his skills are refined, but he strives to keep that excitement and innovation alive in every piece he undertakes, forging forward into the unknown on his artistic journey. He employs mediums ranging from aerosol paints to high pigment heavy body acrylics, resins, metallic gilds, diamond dust and works with stencils, collage and hand painting.
Lhouette’s creative process begins with one imaginative idea which he builds on with a combination of digital designs and physical execution, guided by themes and imagery sourced from popular culture. He incorporates vintage design, iconic figures, comic book characters, fashion, music and more, and his personal nostalgia for the ’80s and ’90s heightens the retro aesthetic. In an interesting visual twist, he juxtaposes these elements with digitised symbols, apps, text and icons from social media platforms, smart phones, streaming services and any type of mainstream software within his daily life which speaks directly to the contemporary cultural landscape.
His work also has a distinctive cosmopolitan feel as spending so much time abroad in his Navy years gave Lhouette an interesting alternative view on consumer culture. The familiar brands, products and advertising often looked completely different, and he was fascinated by this ‘lost in consumer translation’ idea. As a result, his images are scattered with international references, from old Japanese superman manga titles or coca cola branding in Slavic script, to bootleg products and foreign food packaging.
Over the last 10 years, Lhouette has held successful exhibitions in galleries and art fairs in London, Hong Kong, San Francisco and New York, and his success on the secondary market has seen his work sell at Christies, Sotheby’s and Bonhams. His impressive list of private and corporate collectors includes Antonio Banderas, Tim Burton, Ronan & Storm Keating, Adrian Newey OBE, Tyran (Ty Ty) Smith, The Khayami Family, The Dorchester Collection and CBRE Group. In 2017 he enjoyed a 3 month residency at 45 Park Lane Hotel in affiliation with The Dorchester where he showcased over 30 works, all of which sold.
Lhouette’s charitable work includes raising tens of thousands of pounds for Unicef, Cancer Research, and the ‘The Estate We’re In’ campaign in Angel Town, Brixton. In 2023 he collaborated with Bonhams on ‘Hyper Pop’, a campaign promoting men’s mental health in aid of the charity Calm (Campaign Against Living Miserably) through a series of exhibits and showcases of new original artworks which were sold at auction.