Magicians Create Art Two Ways

There are two schools of thought regarding the creation of performance artEventually, the techniques merge, but in the beginning, they are polar opposites.

Acting provides a good example of what I’m talking about, and it’s not that much of a stretch. As Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin wrote, “…[a magician] is an actor playing the part of a magician…”

Some actors are emotional. They become their characters by first trying to feel the same way as the character feels. Their actions are dictated by feelings. They work from the inside out.

Other actors are analytical. They become their characters by analyzing situations. Their actions are dictated by cause and effect. They work from the outside in.

I am the latter. All of my art is analytical.

As you know, in my opinion, 2017 will be a good year for art. If there is an artist inside of you—magician, writer, musician, illustrator, whatever—now is the time to let them free. The world needs hope, wonder, and magic.

It will take all of us to reach everyone.

And it starts with a dream.

The emotional artist will imagine how others feel about the magician the artist will become. They will envision their show in terms of how it will change the audience, and themselves.

The analytical artist will wonder what the magician looks like, and why they look that way. They will want to know what the magician says, and what style of magic they perform, targeting a specific market.

A well-rounded magician will take advantage both techniques.

For example, the emotional artist might use a written character sketch instead of an internal picture. The analytical artist can brainstorm on a spiritual hike, visualizing results conceptually before committing them to paper.

This year can be your year of art too. Not just more art, but better art. Don’t procrastinate. Step one is fun. All you have to do is dream.

But dreams can quickly become nightmares without the right tools. Here is a helpful, free whitepaper to shed some light on the journey, Planning to Art: How Dreams Become Magic.


Are magicians to blame for 2016?

Social media is flooded with posts bashing 2016. It was not a popular year.

Maybe I’m to blame. Perhaps you are too?

Looking back, I produced far less art than I usually do in an average twelve-month period (there’s a list at the end of this article). Several of my closest friends and colleagues have said they also wrote fewer books, created less magic, drew fewer pictures, etc.

A trend such as this nationwide could explain the angst of the old year.

After all, if a magician performs less often, there is less magic in the world to give hope and wonder. If an illustrator draws less, there are fewer pictures to explore. If an author writes less, there are fewer stories to experience.

The little things in life make for good years.

People love art. They enjoy talent. You have an open invitation from the void to create. Whether that means magic, illustration, sculpture, music, acting, whatever. Your audiences will reward you. If not financially, emotionally.

Even though I didn’t create much, I am still a far better artist today. I developed new talents, and honed old skills. I spent a lot of [quality] time dreaming, and now I am ready to produce.

Artists make things, yes? Then I am going to make 2017 magical. This year won’t have me to blame.

How about you? I would love to read your thoughts on this in the comments.


One of the ways you can potentially create more and better art in the New Year is by expanding your venue options. As a performer, another venue is another revenue stream—a new market.

There are a number of excellent effects on the market perfect for a closeup magician moving to the stage, such as Linking Rings, Egg Bag, $100 Billet Catch, and Suit Up!

But if you want to add a signature trick to your local performances, consider Victory Cubes.

Victory Cubes are an instantly recognizable prop for your brand. Plus, they play HUGE, and they are a ton of fun for you and your audience. Not only does a large prop like this provide more venue options, you have a better chance of earning a clients’ attention when your promo pictures feature a signature illusion—a signature value.


It was about this time two years ago, I introduced a sample of my Old World Siberian Chain Escape. The sample was so successful that it became its own product, including custom routines. Today, it is called The Old World Chain Escape MINI.


Back in 2015, I started the New Year with a trick I gave away free, “Dollar Shotpossible.” A signed dollar vanishes from under a clear glass. Very easy to do, and still free!


The year wasn’t a total artistic wash for me. I published Chain Game, which is itself a commentary on art in magic (part of the DVD), Easy Blood From Anything, Mental Marker FX Spray, and I produced Sutterbee’s Fine Magicians Rope.

I began theSTUDY: A Magical Place to Better Your Craft, my spring-summer podcast.

With my friend, Phillip Shamblin, I directed Eat Your Heart Out, and The Shadow Box, I also appeared in the latter, and we just began production on To Kill A Mockingbird (we blocked 42 pages in the first four hours). I was stage manager for Oklahoma! and A Christmas Story.

I founded a comic book company, and began the first two titles.

Between those projects, I answered your emails and phone calls, followed a close election with bated breath, and I worked long, difficult days and nights in the workshop.

This year, I plan to double, maybe even triple all of the above. I hope you come along for my adventure, and include me where you can in yours.