Artistic & Magical Creations to engage your intellect, enrich your soul and enchant your heart

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Sleight-of-Hand

Sleight-of-Hand

Sleight-of-Hand
Graphite 16” X 20”

This pencil drawing is still in progress. I sketched the original back in 1972, I was still in high school. My intention was to paint it however I never finished it and it has since been lost. I decided to start it up again and see where it would take me.

In high school I was very interested in this fascinating art movement called Surrealism. It greatly influenced my art at that stage of my young life.

Surrealism began around 1920 its objective was to combine incongruous images blending dream state with reality. Probably the most famous surrealists are Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte and Max Ernst. The word “surrealist” was coined by Guillaume Apollinaire.


Wizard III – The Family Portrait

Wizard III – The Family Portrait
Graphite on board 16” X 20” – printed on parchment

A rare moment of relaxation for a Wizard; pictured here in repose with his extended family, this Wizard, though very old, is an imposing figure. Even seated he exudes the unmistakable power and wisdom of a Wizard of the highest order. Standing to his full height he would reach seven feet. His magical wolf and owl companions are also considerably larger than their kin. Only his feline companion, T. Thomas Tiger, Esq., is natural in size. The hidden images of faeries, raptors, dragon and wizard faces enhance the magic and mystique of this limited edition creation.Steven Carlson wizard


Gladden’s Grand Slam

For most of my professional art career, starting early 1970’s and still going today I have been an illustrator. This was one of my favorite commissions.

Steven-Carlson-GrandSlam

The Minnesota Twins 1st World Series Championship 1987. Game 1, Saturday, October 17 Dan Gladden hits a grand slam home run to cap off a seven-run fourth inning. –

Interesting note: The Twins came into the 1987 season number 13 out of the 14 American League teams. –

 

This piece of art was done for the Twins and WCCO Radio for the 1988 baseball pocket schedule. It was truly one of those great art commissions for me. I still have the original art.


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Gandalf the Grey

Gandalf the Grey

“Do not take me for some conjuror of cheap tricks!”

Not Gandalf the Grey! He’s the real deal, only real magic here. And Sir Ian McKellen is certainly the real deal when it comes to portraying the perfect Gandalf.

This is a graphite portrait I’ve been working on for some time; it’s not quite done yet. It’s one of those pieces I’m just doing for my own enjoyment but I did want to share it. It’s 16” X 20” the medium is graphite on board.


The four card – 3 Card Monte

This is a magic performance of the classic con game Three Card Monte.  But this one is done with four cards!  The setting is an old-fashioned Carnival and Fair in a small Midwestern town.  I was 16 1/2 when I first saw a working conman perform the Monte.

The inspiration and influences in this four card Three Card Monte include magic greats such as Joe Riding, Fred Kaps, and Harry Anderson. The story is my own with inspiration from Harry Anderson.


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100 year-old wooden crate

100 year-old wooden crate

Actually it’s a brand new wooden crate it’s a prop I made for my magic performances. It’s made from brand new wooden crates, the kind you find at craft stores. I took them apart and reconstructed them so there were no spaces between the slats.

The logo was created in Photoshop. I wanted it to have a turn of the century, carnival genre look to it. I hand painted it on the crate.

The aging process of the wood was done in two stages, distressing the surface to make it look worn and scarred through years of use and then further enhancing the illusion of age through discoloring and staining. The natural aging process has a definite quality that’s subtle but distinct, surfaces that are handled more wear and color differently it was a fascinating study. I visited antique and junk stores observing the distinct qualities of the aging process.

The metal trim is actually aluminum angle stock (aluminum for lighter weight) this was aged to look like weathered copper or rusted steel. Two products were used, one that coated the aluminum with super fine steel particles and then another product that caused rapid oxidation of the surface creating rust. I gave this a light brushing of steel wool and then some subtle hints of patina.

I’m more conditioned to take something very old and make it look brand new again. This was an interesting challenge because here the goal was to take something brand new and make it look very, very old.


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The young lad and the mysterious stranger

The poem is my own creation. I have always been intrigued with the story line of someone making a deal with the devil. Then of course when it comes time to pay the bill (their soul) they try to wiggle out of the deal with one last game or challenge. I wrote the part of devil as one similar to a con artist playing the three-card Monte or the shell game.

The idea of telling a story or a poem as a background to a magical effect has also been of great interest to me. Storytelling and magic are two very powerful mediums and together they can pack quite a one-two punch.

The card effect is called Beat the Devil from Darwin Ortiz, Scams and Fantasies with Cards. I took the presentation idea of the magician vs. the Devil and created the poem.

I truly hope you enjoy it.


Canis Lupus V

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Canis Lupus V
The Grey Wolf of the Americas – The Recovery

Historically, few animals have been as misunderstood as the wolf and, as a result, it has been brought dangerously close to extinction.  Because of the champion efforts of naturalists, wild life advocates, and the support and financial giving of wolf lovers, the tide is turning; the protection and recovery of the grey wolf population in America is proving to be very successful.  I am proud that my home state of Minnesota has taken such a strong leadership role in these efforts!
Canis Lupus V is the new addition to the Hidden Creations Wolf series and is a celebration of the efforts of so many who have given so much of themselves to help in the recovery of the American grey wolf.

Graphite on board 20 X 32 by Steven Paul Carlson, hand colored Gicleé prints available.

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The Great Houdini

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The Great Houdini
(March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926)

Graphite on board 16” X 20” – Steven Paul Carlson – Gicleé prints available

The center portrait was created from Houdini’s favorite publicity photo.

On the left Houdini is performing his “challenge handcuff” act; it was in escapes, not magic, that Houdini would find his great success.

On the right is Houdini’s most famous escape, the Chinese Water Torture Cell.  Houdini affectionately referred to it as The Up Side Down.  Contrary to common belief Houdini did not die performing this act.

In the center are the Famous Mirror handcuffs, a custom set of cuffs made as a special challenge for Houdini by the London Daily Mirror in 1904. It was reported that 4000 people and more than 100 journalists turned out for the much-hyped event at London’s Hippodrome theater. The escape attempt dragged on for over three hours.  When Houdini finally emerged free he broke down and wept when he was paraded on the shoulders of the cheering crowd. Houdini later said it was the most difficult escape of his career.


Harry Houdini

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Harry Houdini
(March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926)

Graphite on board 16” X 20” – Steven Paul Carlson – Gicleé prints available

Caught here in a rare moment of repose Houdini was a Hungarian-American magician and escapologist, stunt performer, actor and film producer. He was also a skeptic who set out to expose frauds purporting to be supernatural phenomena. For the majority of his career, Houdini performed his act as a headliner in vaudeville. For many years, he was the highest-paid performer in American vaudeville.

Born Erik Ivan Weisz (he would later spell his birth name as Ehrich Weiss) in Budapest, Hungary, on March 24, 1874, Houdini later claimed in interviews to have been born in Appleton, Wisconsin, on April 6, 1874.
His parents were Rabbi Mayer Samuel Weisz (1829 – 1892)
and his wife Cecilia Steiner (1841 – 1913).   Houdini was one of seven children.


Close-up Magic

Steven Carlson magic

The style of magic that I perform is called Close-up Magic.  This style of sleight of hand magic has been described as the ultimate experience in magical entertainment.  It’s magic that is performed within inches of the audience and usually witnessed from all angles.  This artistic form of close-up sleight of hand magic is by far the most challenging to perform.  The up-close, intimate nature of this form of magic makes it the strongest form of magical entertainment.

The close-up magician’s props range from the common to the classic, from napkins, saltshakers and coffee cups to playing cards, coins and cups and balls.

Many of the magical items are elegantly hand crafted and are works of art in themselves!

More information on Close-up Magic can be found here.


Professor Steven Paul Carlson’s Traveling Magic & Mystery Show

Steven Carlson

Professor Steven Paul Carlson’s traveling magic and mystery show.  Magic that mystifies the mind, enriches the soul, and delights the heart!  Acclaimed by the Crowned Heads of Europe!

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Leonardo da Vinci, a magician?

Leonardo da Vinci 1452-1519

Leonardo da Vinci 1452-1519

Leonardo da Vinci
Without question Leonardo is the undisputed heavyweight genius of all time and the quintessential Renaissance man.

He was a master painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, astronomer, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, city planner, botanist, and writer and I could list more.  And now it seems that the title, ‘amateur magician’ should also be added to Leonardo’s résumé!

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Buffalo Bill

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Buffalo Bill

William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody
(February 26, 1846 – January 10, 1917)

American soldier, bison hunter and showman Buffalo Bill was born in the Iowa Territory (now the American state of Iowa), near LeClaire. He was one of the most colorful figures of the American Old West, and mostly famous for the shows he organized with cowboy themes.  Buffalo Bill received the Medal of Honor in 1872.

Graphite on board 16 x 20 by Steven Paul Carlson, Gicleé prints available.


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Panthera Leo

Panthera Leo

Panthera Leo

Pastel – Steven Paul Carlson

Suitably named the King of Beasts, the regal stature of this noble monarch is caught here in a moment of repose.  The last rays of the setting Serengeti sun wash across his majestic face and mane.  A nocturnal hunter by nature, the coming crepuscular hour marks the beginning of the lion’s workday.

Revered for its legendary strength and bravery, the lion has been a symbol of supremacy throughout recorded history.  The full grown male conveys a grandeur and self-assurance like no other animal.  His magnificent mane is reminiscent of a king’s ceremonial headdress or an Indian chief’s war bonnet.  His roar, a low grumble building in intensity sends a vibrating signal throughout his domain and literally makes the earth quake.  All these unique qualities, and more, make the lion the undisputed king of beasts, the Monarch of the Animal Kingdom.

Gicleé prints are available.


Panthera Pardus

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Panthera Pardus
Leopard

Every muscle relaxed with paws tucked in close, his lithe body low and snug to the terrain.  Patient and motionless with perfect camouflage the leopard becomes virtually invisible to their prey.  What animal can match this intense focus so unique to the feline?  Whether it’s a big cat or small all cat owners are familiar with this distinct posture and look.

This is a gicleé print hand colored by the artist.  Steven Paul Carlson