The Coin Magician’s Dream, photo art by Steven Carlson
In the art of close-up-magic, coin magic easily finds its place toward the top of the most challenging skills.
Coins, along with playing cards, are the primary objects in the close-up magician’s repertoire.
Historically coins predate playing cards by a good three to four thousand years.
Coins were first introduced as a method of payment around the 6th or 5th century BC and have been in the magician’s bag of tricks ever since.
In the magician’s hands coins appear, vanish and multiply. They magically move from place to place or from hand to hand, visibly and invisibly. Coins change from sliver to copper and even grow in size. The possibilities of magic with coins is limitless.
Coin magic relies upon the intricate dexterity of the artist. Dexterous skills acquired through years of practice, training and performance.
A master sleight of hand artist’s technique is never seen. To the audience it is invisible. These graceful methodologies lie gently hidden beneath the surface of natural movements and gestures. Only then does the coin magic appear effortless and impossible.
My name is Steven Paul Carlson, I have been practicing magic since I was 6 years old and I have been performing magic professionally for over 40 years.
So sit back and relax and enjoy the magical ride.
Oh, and please, fasten your seat belts. 😉
Photo & art credits:
Coin and photo art by Steven Paul Carlson, portrait photo by Nick Olson
As a sleight of hand artist, or close-up magician, I occasionally get to perform at really fun venues. Such was the case last month in Minneapolis, MN at The Theater in the Round.
It was an evening of magic, manipulation and illusion. In the photo, shown here, I am finishing my close-up magic performance with a classic magical effect called, The Cups & Balls. Here, in a finale I created back in 1975, one of the cups magically fills with pennies and pours out on to the table. Who says, magic doesn’t make any sense… (cents )
The priceless expression on the face of my audience helper, makes this one of my all time favorite magic photos. I hope you enjoy it. 🙂
You are entering a world of magic and illusion where anything is possible… pick a card… any card. 😉
This is my new magic promo poster, I had lots of fun creating it, I hope you enjoy it.
This is my dream studio. Someday, with a little luck and fortune, that will be where I hang my hat and create 😉
Antiquity of the Soul – Pastel 16” x 20”
One can see and feel the history etched into this man’s face and antiquity its-self reflecting in his eyes. I had great fun painting the bright colored head cloth with its intricate patterns, wrinkles and folds juxtaposed with his face and the similar intricate patterns. This is one of my all time favorite portraits.
I met an individual at an art show who was from this part of the world. He told me that the head wrap they wear, the colors and patterns, tells you what region the person is from. Fascinating!
Fa’er•ie gnomé or fa’er•y gnomé n
Pronounced fair-ee nohm
May the reader bear in mind, the information offered here regarding these very shy and illusive creatures, is based on only a small number of sightings since the history of the “big folk” began to be documented. Sightings of Faeriegnome dwellings are fortunately a little more common. Both these sources and recent archaeological discoveries help to provide us with our current knowledge of the Faeriegnome folk, their temperament, attributes and customs.
Faeriegnomes are ancient creatures, tiny, quiet and shy by nature. They were believed to be of simple gnome ancestry but they predate even the earliest gnomish records. They are much smaller than a gnome, but larger than the leaf faerie.
Faeriegnome architecture is known for its clever construction and unique creativity.
The unique coalescence of both the Fae and Gnome bloodlines seems to account for their vast magical abilities, their immeasurable ingenuity and ancient wisdom. It also explains their extreme diminutive size. The size of the average adult male, by their standard of measurement, would be about 54 to 63 digits or fingers, which would be about 2.5 to 5 cm or 1 to 2 inches tall.
Writings predating antiquity indicate Faeriegnomes were a part of the Great Earth Caretakers. Their ability to travel extremely long distances enabled them to keep a watchful eye on the delicate balances of nature. Assisting them in these earthly stewardship responsibilities were their ever present, always faithful walking sticks, ‘Astar’, as they call them. The wood of the astar was from a tree, bush or plant of unknown origin. Interestingly, the astar continued its growth despite being separated from the root. In fact, it had to be regularly pruned or it would quickly outgrow its owner! Ordinarily the astar was quite plain, but on occasion a particularly creative and fastidious Faeriegnome might adorn it with a little silver, gold, gems or even seashells.
The Harp Faerie, as she has been affectionately nicknamed, and like its pair Faerie I, feature the Matrifaerie, a mature, dignified and sophisticated faerie captured here while creating upon the woodland harp. The woodland harp, unlike any other musical instrument, is a living entity. It grows from out of the ground, blossoming and even bearing fruit. Its gossamer, web-like strings produce a sound that few are able to hear. Only the truly ingenuous spirit can perceive its atmospheric musical air. Sylvan dwellers are drawn to the magical recital and a rare, ethereal appearance from a musical muse can be seen if you look quickly.
The artistic and musical collaboration of Steven & Patricia inspired this beautiful title song which appears on Mrs. Carlson’s Creative Harp CD ‘Woodland Opus’.
Flyaway blond hair, freckles, and that faint smile easily makes this one of my favorite portraits.
It’s mid February and I have spring fever! I was hoping this beautiful summer image might hasten the coming of warmer weather.
“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” – John Steinbeck,
There are no prints of this piece only the original.
India – pastel 16” x 20”
This stunning face still captivates me; it was an absolutely wonderful portrait to paint. It is one of those rare pieces of my own art that actually hangs in my house. 😉
The textures here also intrigued me; the necklace, the embroidery on her clothing and then creating the sheer effect of the veil.
Like the Viking portrait this too is rendered with pastels. It’s an intricate layering technique using different pastels with a final detail finish of pastel pencil. This layering process gives the portrait an oil painting, oil glaze look.
There are no prints of this work only the original.
The Queen of Hearts, with her charismatic charm, completely enthralls her eight suitors.
Originally I wrote a little story, about a princess, to fit the magical effect of this card trick.
Personally, I loved the story, but after years of performing and testing I found music to be the best accompaniment. I truly hope you enjoy!
Kevin MacLeod created the wonderful music! Let me tell you, Kevin’s one talented guy! Here’s his link.
“Sneaky Snitch” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
© 2015 Steven Paul Carlson.
This video is copyrighted and may not be used without the written permission of Steven Paul Carlson
He was the young son of Bor, the father of the gods. He was a shapechanger, usually appearing as a vigorous man of fifty with long hair and braided beard, wearing the skins of animals and carrying his unfailing weapon called Gungnir. Here he is, in the ages before he gave up one of his eyes and before sacrificing his life in exchange for greater wisdom. Before the time when the other mighty gods would serve him as children serve their father, before he became the god most favored by the Vikings. His name is Odin, the god of the Norseman!
19” x 26” Pastel (LE prints available)
In magic we call this effect, a coin assembly. Coins magically move from one place to another as if attracted and then, in some cases, instantly return to their original locations. This version, of this classic, is particularly intriguing because this happens numerous times in different ways. My first post of this video did not have music so that is the reason for the new posting.
I hope you enjoy!
Music by Kevin MacLeod, “Not As It Seems” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
The Four Season Faeries – Graphite 16” X 20”
Herald of the summer solstice; certainly the most care-free of all her sisters Summer Faerie maintains harmony between prolific spring and fruitful autumn with the long, warm, tranquil days of summertide.
The Faerie’s Secret
16”X20” Mixed medium
Twig Oaklyn Flewinia Thistlebottom…
Whew! That’s quite a name. Fortunately her friends know her simply as Twig, the fun, whimsical, magical faerie that graces the renaissance festivals. The young at heart, who are fortunate enough to meet her, often find themselves sprinkled with faerie dust and presented with a magical gem! But be aware, if you ask what the secret is in her hands, she will only answer with her flute. I hope you are fluent in double piped aulos.
Wandering Wiseman, Pax Consensio
Graphite on board 16”X 20”
Ancient lore tells of an old man, a wanderer who travels with his faithful gazehound (greyhound). His peregrinations take him far and wide, over mountains, through valleys and deep into the forests. He speaks the language of the rocks and the trees and the birds of the sky. Everything about this unique wizard exudes peace and harmony; look close and you can see his robe is embroidered with spells and enchantments of peace and harmony–pax consensio.
Look attentively for him when you are feeling the most troubled, but keep in mind he may choose to appear as a friendly bird or affectionate four-footed critter.
Wandering still, searching for the pure of heart and those in need, he gives his peaceful invocation to all who will receive it.
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
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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!