I love to weave stories and tales into my magic. This photo was shot at the 2021 MN Renaissance Festival by Darin Jensen. The theme of the magical effect I am performing here is the classic Magician vs the Devil. The story is told in the words of a poem. I titled it The Young Lad and the Mysterious Stranger. Captured in this photo is the moment the young lad sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for incredible magical abilities. In the end he outsmarts and beats the Devil at his own game with some incredible card magic.
Over my many years of performing this style of magic I have found the audience gets drawn into the magic, they begin to care about what is happening, they are engaged, enriched, enchanted.
SLEIGHT OF HAND: The use of digital dexterity and cunning to deceive.
The sleight of hand artist relies upon digital skills to accomplish his illusions. These techniques are invisible to the audience. The juggler openly displays his hard earned skills. The sleight of hand artist hides them. They are concealed within natural movements and actions.
Beyond the finely acquired skills of his dexterous fingers the sleight of hand artist also relies upon other subtleties to accomplish his deceptions: Psychology and timing, language both verbal and physical, help him in deceiving all of the audience’s senses.
Sleight of hand is synonymous with the art of close up magic. It’s a form of magic performed within close proximity to the audience. The objects used are common everyday items, playing cards, coins, paper currency even cell phones. Though anything that fits into the artist’s hands becomes magical. This impromptu style of close range magic makes deception seem totally impossible, yet amazingly, the totally impossible still occurs.
What is close up magic? What is a close up magician?
Close up magic is the intimate art of producing astounding illusions by sleight of hand performed within close proximity to the audience.
The magical objects or props need to fit in the close up magician’s hands. The traditional props are playing cards, coins, cups & balls and even dice. However, anything that fits into the magician’s hands is fair game for his miracles; a cell phone, a pen, paper napkins, a saltshaker, a coffee cup or a dollar bill.
Unlike the stage performer the close up artist brings his magic right into the audience space. There’s no stage or curtains, no boxes or mirrors, simply an object in the magician’s hands held inches away from the spectator’s eyes. The magic often happens right in the spectator’s hand!
Under these strict, close up and challenging conditions, deception seems utterly impossible. Yet, miraculously, the totally impossible still occurs! Close up magic is by far the most demanding form of the magical arts and when done perfectly it is the most astounding!
Close-up magic is best performed for an audience of 30 or less and can be performed sitting at a table or standing. With the arrival of LSV (large screen video) technology larger groups can be accommodated.
Another form of close-up magic is strolling magic. This style has become popular for social and cocktail hours where guests are standing and mingling in small groups. The close-up magician moves around the room entertaining these smaller groups of guests. Street magic is also a form of close-up magic.
Photo & art credits:
Photo art manipulation 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. 🙂
Magic with coins is my favorite expression within the performance art of Close-Up Magic. I have worked with this particular “One Coin” routine for approximately 35 years. A magical effect is never finished it just keeps evolving and growing. I sincerely hope you enjoy it!
My thanks to the very talented Kevin MacLeod, for creating the beautiful music and allowing me to use it here.
“Sardana” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
© 2015 Steven Paul Carlson.
This video is copyrighted and may not be used without the written permission of Steven Paul Carlson
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.
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/
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.