From an artistic philosophy, I believe that good art mirrors nature. Artists (painters, sculptors, photographers, etc.) see the world through a unique lens. Sometimes that lens is very clean and clear, such as the works of Leonardo di Vinci. He studied nature, animals and humans and tried hard to recreate them as accurately as possible on the canvass. Others have a more prismatic, distorted lens. Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali gave us their worldview in twisted, bizarre, yet beautiful works. 

It is my opinion that good magic should reflect the supernatural. Break down that word: Super means to be above or better than; natural is the normal state of things. There are abilities which are clearly outside the standard set of human capabilities. We cannot fly. We cannot move objects with our mind. We cannot see without our eye. It is the magician’s task to bring these supernatural abilities to life. 

The supernatural is (mostly) a wide open playing field. Magic has the freedom to explore the fantasies of mankind and attempt to bring them into reality. There is a caveat. Like any artform. magic should be relevant. It should have meaning, goals and importance. It ought to tease that craving in humans for the supernatural in a way that makes us dream dreams. 

There is a classic trick where the performer reaches up, behind a kid’s ear and pulls out a quarter. So what. Right? It’s just a dumb trick that your weird uncle did when you were a kid. False. What is it actually saying? What does it actually, artistically represent? 

In truth, that cheesy trick is a fallen fragment of remarkable classic of magic known as The Miser’s Dream. We dream of being able to pull money out of thin air. We can only wish for that ability. If you have every seen a real magician perform this trick, you know that it is quite astonishing. It represents an ability to create something of value (money) from nothing. (See Jeff Mcbride Perform The Miser’s Dream)

In my own work, one of my favorite bits of mentalism is to make a husband read his wife’s mind. No easy feat! It’s amazing to see how profoundly this little piece of magic can affect the posturing of this couple. It brings them closer. It shows them that they really do know (love) each other. It becomes important to their relationship. It’s beautiful. 

Any monkey can learn to handle a deck of cards. Infusing the moves, tricks and presentation with relevance and importance is the art. As artists, we have unique lens through which we see the world. We have access to the supernatural. Make it beautiful. 

Magician’s Takeaway:  Don’t just learn the moves and trick. Please. Make it your own. Make it mean something. Why? Because that is what the world craves. We need artists to come alive and fill the world with beauty.