(Close Window)
Topic: An Ellusionist Post
Message: Posted by: daffelglass (Oct 17, 2008 10:45PM)
So I decided to see if the Ellusionist forums had anything to offer me (not surprisingly, no). But while I was browsing I came across this post:


I’m not sure if this has been brought up before – and if it has, whether or not it had this ‘slant’ on in. It just occurred to me today – it’s the notion that magic is somehow an Art. We hear it all the time - 'our Art, your Art, this Art'.

Even, Brad in one of his DVD appearances – Ninja maybe - says something about the cards ‘being your Art’ – so, as a result, we all gotta handle them with a bit of sensitive tender loving care and flair.

But is magic really an Art? I don’t want to get all flowery about what art is or isn’t or might be or should be – but if we look at what we do as magicians – it’s all about trickery. It’s a con. Magic doesn’t exist. It’s a little white lie to create a moment of entertainment. The spec might describe magic as some kind of miracle – but we know better.

On a base level isn’t all magic a cheap con? Clever. Effective, when it works – but nothing more that a series of deceptive moves? So where’s the Art in that? There’s an element of personal involvement and skill – but involvement and skill exist in even the most mundane activities

I don’t mean to undervalue magic – and in some ways, I’m trying to give it much more value, by not idly classifying it as something it isn’t – Some kind of almighty Art.

Magic is a con. A sales pitch delivery with some fancy moves of the fingers thrown in or a gimmick doing the hard work for you. And that’s about it. Nothing artistic there. And if people say there is - then selling cell phones is an Art. Asking customers if they want to ‘go large’ on their next Burger King meal is an Art.

And this is my point - Is the big, clever deception – the fact that many magicians call magic an Art? We describe what we do in these might terms in the hope that it somehow drifts towards the public’s perception of what we do – and consequently places magic and our abilities on the higher ground? A ground well out of reach of the common people

What I’m trying to say, I suppose – is that when I tell my friends about magic – I might call it an Art, to boost the notion of its unique standing – but between magicians I wouldn’t call it Art. I’d feel like a pretentious fool. And well done to the magic community for creating this lie that subtly pervades into the conscience of the public. Clever stuff – and all in the spirit of furthering the deception.

But, when we are all chewing the fat as magicians - surely we can drop the arrogance and pomposity and call what we do – tricks. Our Tricks. Not our Art.

Calling it an art reminds me of those internet sites where you can buy instant qualifications like PhD’s and MA’s and BA’s. It’s a self-appointed title which holds no real merit. It only fools the ignorant public and attempts to 'up' your status.

As a bit of a footnote, I got my delivery today of Trilogy and Loops dvds. Impressive stuff. Talented and skillful tricksters at work.

This is my first post for a while. I've been in a magic wilderness for about 6 months. Confused but I still practiced my tricks everyday. Loving and hating every moment of it.

Second footnote - in four days time I've got a glorious eight week vacation coming my way - so the good times will start to roll again and hopefully I can submit many more pointless threads. I've just had a bit of a deja vu - I thought that I'd already posted this kind of thought before. Maybe I should use the search feature.


What do you think of that?
Message: Posted by: Daegs (Oct 17, 2008 11:02PM)
I would think that the person is really just looking for attention, taking such a position that he knows will draw a strong response.

I would also question if Art even exist, by his standards. I wouldn't think film, sculpture, music or painting would qualify for an art by his standards.... He would just say music is playing a bunch of notes from a sheet of paper, or that painting is just throwing different colors and shapes onto a stretched sheet of canvas.

If he can't see art in the performances of top magicians, then he is intentionally not looking hard enough, just to get people to respond to his internet threads.

I would rather work on my magic than worry about some random person out there with a bad opinion.....
Message: Posted by: Ben Train (Oct 18, 2008 12:00AM)
I think the key portion was here:

On a base level isn’t all magic a cheap con? Clever. Effective, when it works – but nothing more that a series of deceptive moves? So where’s the Art in that? There’s an element of personal involvement and skill – but involvement and skill exist in even the most mundane activities
Sure, on a base level it isn't art, it's a craft. Just like painting, dance, drama, music, sculpting, or any of the other fine arts.

There are other factors that come into play, such as intent, expression, etc, that make it art. [b]Can[/b] it be art- sure. Just like [b]anything[/b] can be. Is it art? Not usually.

Message: Posted by: Sword of the Soldier (Oct 18, 2008 01:37AM)
This is an interesting topic.

If we are looking at the analytical definition of "Art" we find this according to Princeton University Dictionary:
-the products of human creativity
-the creation of beautiful or significant things
-a superior skill that you can learn by study and practice and observation

Is not all of these things integral aspects of Magic. Do we not utilize our human creativity to create an effect? Are some effects, if not all, beautiful and extravagant things? Are not our sleights and subtleties the result of study and practice? Is not, the films we watch to learn, the images we view (such as Neo's Vernan Erdnase image on the board) artwork relating to magic?

By definition Magic is Art, and Art is magic?

My question to you is what, do you think art is?

I am a musician. I play 5 instruments. I am a magician. I have seen both sides, clearly, and first hand. I know without a doubt of any kind that the skills and knowledge that make a violin sound beautiful, or a Double Concerto perfectly written, are the same skills good magicians use daily in their work?

Without these skills, a violin would be played with terrible tone, a concerto would not harmonize, and a DL or a change would look like crap.

Ben is right. If you strip everything down, its nothing more than deception. But strip dance down and its nothing more than timed movement. Strip music down and it's nothing more that dry notes... this leads me back to what art is.

Art is not a thing in itself. Nothing is art in and of itself. Art is the essence of man, the creativity of man, the emotion of man put into something.

It's like my quote says, "Magic becomes art when it has nothing left to hide" for me this means that when Magic has been given everything by a person, the moves, the deception disappear because they are undetectable and natural. That's when magic becomes art, that's when anything becomes an art.


Josh :)
Message: Posted by: Hansen (Oct 18, 2008 02:24AM)
But a great con is a beautiful thing...
Message: Posted by: Close.Up.Dave (Oct 18, 2008 02:49AM)
Haha, a great con [b]is[/b] a beautiful thing!

But in my point of view, magic to me is a performance art. It contains acting, rythm, proper speaking skills, etc. It is an art by my standards but I don't think many laymen and magicians alike treat it like one.

On another note, hearing that magic is an art from Brad Christian is, to me, a sales pitch. He is a good salesman and has a very modern and catchy website. He has inspired a lot of people to get into magic. But, that is Brad Christian. There are a lot of other well respected magicians to consider magic an art and have good arguments to back it up.
Message: Posted by: uhrenschmied (Oct 18, 2008 03:10AM)
Every craft can be an art, but not every craftsman is an artist.

Message: Posted by: joseph (Oct 18, 2008 05:33AM)
A vanishing art?.. :) ...
Message: Posted by: tommy (Oct 18, 2008 06:01AM)
The Art in magic is what makes magic an Art. Where there is no Art in magic there magic is no Art.

Painting is not an Art unless there is Art in it. Put a lick of paint on your house and it is painting but not Art, as there is no Art in that. The performance of magic is not an Art unless there is Art in it.
Message: Posted by: Medifro (Oct 18, 2008 07:26AM)
With all due respect to the original E poster, I read that he performs once a week or even less. I'm sure he's a good guy, but with this performing experience, I can't take his opinions, especially if strong ones, seriously.

Either way, Tommy and Ben Train nailed it.

~ Feras
Message: Posted by: Brandon Sheffield (Oct 18, 2008 07:47AM)
I only see great magic as art, sure it can be used as a con and as said above, a great con can be a work of art.

But in reality I do not see this as being a con http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7_ISio_9SA I see it as art

or this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkYNAwdFH9M

And for sure this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJCtOz32dnw

Ok maybe not that last one, but you get my point.
I just see so much beauty in magic, not to mention the hope it inspires, the way that it can take you to a different place, and the nostalgia it gives you watching a great performer, that feeling of being a kid again.

Thank you all
Message: Posted by: Vlad_77 (Oct 18, 2008 07:51AM)
The Ellusionist poster fails to consider the deception of the actor. Of COURSE the audience [b]knows[/b] that Al Pacino is not a powerful Mafia Don, and yet for three hours, the audience suspends its disbelief and becomes engrossed in the cold, calculating machinations of Michael Corleone. The audience [b]knows[/b] that Jeff McBride is [b]not[/b] a shaman, and yet the audience is [b]enthralled[/b] by the shaman he plays and the wonders he produces.

What do they have in common? They [b]are[/b] artists!

What you bring to a performance it what transforms it from mere technique to ART.

As for Magic being a "con", the comparison is inaccurate as well. The audience KNOWS that the magician IS going to fool them. The [b]mark[/b] however, is [b]never[/b] told by the grifter that he is being setup; [b]Big[/b] difference.

Like Josh, I too am a musician and a magician. I am also a formally trained stage actor. All of the elements that comprise the performance of music or the portrayal of any given character in a play are present in the performance of a magic act - [b]provided[/b] the performer infuses stagecraft [b]into[/b] her/his performance.

The Ellusionist poster has admitted to a lack of performing experience. I would suggest to that person to revisit his/her assertion after gaining a few more years of performing. I wager that she/he will find his assertion completely inaccurate.

There is much more I could write, but I think other posters here have said it well enough.

Message: Posted by: gadfly3d (Oct 18, 2008 10:16AM)
This is one of those discussions that suffers from a lack of definition. One could ask is there a difference between art and technique? Is art simply a term of praise?

But fundamentally what the question here is: is magic a good thing? The answer is simply yes.

Message: Posted by: bouche (Oct 18, 2008 11:08AM)
From the all definitions of art you can create it from the most mundane of tasks. I think that is a valid point. I also think to 'idly' call it an art is meant to boost the perception of magic which I think is a good thing, but many times unwarranted.

When I go to Subway I witness the skill, and personality of 'sandwhich artists'. Do I really think that they are artists? No. But as Sword of the Soldier said,
the dictionary defines art as follows:

-the products of human creativity
-the creation of beautiful or significant things
-a superior skill that you can learn by study and practice and observation

I suppose a sandwich artist could meet these criteria if they had a flare for the trade.

Yet when one sees performances by the likes of Tommy Wonder there is no other word to describe it but ART
Message: Posted by: seraph127 (Oct 18, 2008 02:19PM)
On a base level isn’t all magic a cheap con? Clever. Effective, when it works – but nothing more that a series of deceptive moves? So where’s the Art in that? There’s an element of personal involvement and skill – but involvement and skill exist in even the most mundane activities
So stupid it's hard to know where to start...

Response to the first rhetorical question: No, not all magic is a cheap con. I imagine David Copperfield's magic is a very [i]expensive[/i] con. Sarcasm aside, "cheap" and "con" are mere invective aimed at making the conclusion more plausible without actually arguing for it.

Effective, when it works...
Redundant much?

nothing more that a series of deceptive moves?
Proof positive this clown doesn't even know what [b]magic[/b] is, let alone art. The deception is the method. The magic is the [i]effect[/i]. But that's what you get in a craft that constantly conflates method and effect in the term "trick".

So where’s the Art in that?
Most, if not all, art is illusion. Sam Sharpe: "When people enter a theater, they enter a house of illusion." So why is magic not a theatrical art, but merely a "cheap con"?

Here is a person who, perhaps, knows too many scribblers of stick figures, concluding that all illustration is worthless.
Message: Posted by: FILL--IPINESS (Oct 18, 2008 02:28PM)
If he thinks magicians are con artists, it is art anyway.

Message: Posted by: kcg5 (Oct 18, 2008 03:38PM)
Michael jordan was an artist with the ball
Message: Posted by: Jimeh (Oct 18, 2008 03:41PM)
On 2008-10-18 04:10, uhrenschmied wrote:
Every craft can be an art, but not every craftsman is an artist.

This is really all that needs to be said.
Very well put...
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (Oct 18, 2008 06:03PM)
Well, to offer a contrary view, there is one thing of value that he points out, which is that many people take for granted that magic is an art form, and the reason that it's valuable is because too many people use that premise as an excuse for poor decisions. They violate principles "because art has no rules", they think what they do should be accepted by default on the terms that they want, they mistake style for content, etc. Generally, they use the claim as a means to avoid really thinking about what they're doing.

Of course, that's a no-win situation, because that suggests that the only people who deserve to designate what they do as art are those who really study it, but if you've ever tried studying art and determining what art is, you start having Joycean discussions about coughing onto a block of wood and end up more confused than ever.

In conclusion, banana pancakes are tasty.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Oct 18, 2008 06:12PM)
Perhaps better to leave this to folks with a background in art history and some awareness of the other performing arts and their history.

To say that our craft involves the mechanics of guile is pretty safe.

To suggest our art is somehow distinct from the other performing arts is also safe.

From there... not so sure - as banana pancakes are a matter of taste.
Message: Posted by: Matthew Wright (Oct 19, 2008 04:51AM)
This was something I wrote as part of my entrance exam to drama scholl and I think it fits nicely into this topic- if you have the patience to read it!

My interest in magic began in 1981 when my father amazed me with a coin trick. Since then I have studied magic with some of the most forward thinking magicians of my day. Throughout my magic studies, I have read, and been told that magic is an Art and that it should be respected as such. There are hundreds of magic e-forums where magicians pat themselves on the back and take great pleasure in their status as artists. In ”Performing Arts - a guide to practice and appreciation” it says, ‘Of all the performing arts, magic is the one which crosses both borders and cultures most easily. The language of tricks and illusion is universal.” In 1911 Nevil Maskelyne wrote one of the most important books in magic. It was called “Our Magic”. In it he said, “ … justify the claim of magic to be classed among the Arts-not, of course, the mechanical arts, but among the Fine Arts-the Arts with a capital A”. His justification was based on the model for artistic status at the time. He wrote, “all agree the basis of art is imitation –either the imitation of something that actually exists, or of something that might exist in circumstances imagined by the artist……we have no need to be led out of our depth by trying to define that will-o’-the wisp, abstract art”. Well, abstract art has evolved somewhat since 1911, and because of this I believe that Maskelynes’ views need reviewing.
The more that I look at magic, the less I am convinced that it is art. Most magicians, in performance, seem happy to ridicule the history and art of magic if it means them getting a cheap laugh. Originality in magic is rare and most magicians use the presentations supplied with the latest trick they have bought. As I look through the latest magic magazines I see advertisement after advertisement saying that the magic trick they are selling is, “easy to master” or “learnt in minutes”. My favourite is the “self worker” where no practice or experience is needed! Surely this is not Art? If it is then any child’s’ painting by numbers picture must also qualify as art. When someone first learns the piano he does not go out and perform concerts, yet it seems to me, that all a magician needs are a couple of tricks, bought from the magic store, and a nicely printed business card, and they are elevated to the status of artist. My investigation is to try to determine at what point does a piece of magic become a work of art. Does the Art exist in the trick itself? Is it in the performance of the trick or does it lie in a deeper meaning? Is the Art in the creation of wonder? Does it only exist for that one brief moment of astonishment? S.H. Sharp writes “Magic is what happens to a person’s mind when a mystery is experienced. Magic is an inner experience, not an exterior, objective event.” Sharpe also writes in Good Conjuring, “It is by attention to detail that Fine Art is produced. Rough or clumsy work clashes with that terms etymology, which implies graceful, delicate and painstaking finish”. I believe this to be true but as this was written in the early twentieth century it needs a little revision. Sharp uses the words “rough and clumsy” to exclude works from the Fine Art bracket. Many artworks are now created with the purpose of being rough or clumsy but I am sure that if the work were created with the same “painstaking finish”, then Sharpe would include it in his Fine Art folder.
It seems to me that before I can justify magic as Art, I must first be comfortable with what my understanding of the terms Magic and magician are. The father of modern magic, Robert Houdin said a magician is simply, “an actor playing the role of a magician.” Eugene Burger says, “nowadays, more often than not, a magician is, an actor playing the role of a fool playing a magician.” He goes on to explain what he claims a magician should be, “a man of power and confidence. It’s that simple”.

Magic claims to be the second oldest profession. Its myth and history have been documented for thousands of years and at its roots it is packed with symbolism. It lies at the heart of most religions, from the magicians of the ancient Pharaohs, through to modern Christianity. During mass, a Catholic priest claims to change bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. It is said with belief and conviction, yet I doubt many worshipers truly believe the transformation has taken place on a physical level. This is ceremonial magic as opposed to theatrical magic yet both come from the same roots. I am not claiming that your local priest is either a magician, or an artist, but this shows how unclear the lines are.
During my studies of magic I have been lucky enough to have been taken on as a student by one of the most important magicians in the world of magic today. Eugene Burger has twice been awarded the Magic Lecturer of the World award, has written many best selling books on the theory of magic and was also a lecturer of philosophy and religion at the University of Chicago. In his wonderful book, Magic and Meaning he writes, “…is conjuring performance simply entertainment, or does this ancient and venerable art involve some larger symbolic or metaphorical meaning. Why has the idea of magic exerted such a profound influence upon human beliefs and behaviour for a span of time that reaches from the present moment back into the encompassing darkness before written records?”
It would be very easy for me to fill this essay with quotes on the theory of magic but already I feel I know where my answer will come from. I do not believe that art exists in the tricks themselves but lives in the performer. In how he puts across his message; and it is here, I think, I can make the comparisons with more traditional artists. Eugene says, “learn to sing your own magical song and don’t let the words of others make you afraid to travel down your own magical path”. Magic in this sense is very much like art. It cannot be taught but it can be learned. Artistic magic comes from within and leaves a part of you with your audience. Magic is theatre and theatre requires drama and conflict, mere showmanship is not enough. A showman may be able to get great applause but it is the artist who can provoke deep silence.

Another problem I have if I am to include magic in Art is to define my understanding of art. Under the title “Content and Form in Art, Francis Klingender writes, “Like all other forms of social consciousness art is an expression of social existence….if we are to analyse art, we must thus commence by analysing the social group whose art it is. Art however, is more than a mere reflection of social reality. It is at the same time, a revolutionary agent for the transformation of that reality. Magic could hold true to this principle. Throughout history, the magician has had to change his act to keep in touch with the audience. Pharaohs used magicians to keep the population in check and confirm their status as Divine. Harry Houdini used his knowledge of magic to all but destroy the spiritualist movement that exploded after the First World War. The nineteenth century saw the introduction of large-scale illusion.

Imagine being in the audience the first time a woman was cut in half or the first time a person floated. These new tricks sent shockwaves through the world and made people question their understanding of how the world worked.
In the twentieth century, as people became more accustomed to large-scale illusion, close-up magic appeared. Now people were seeing miracles performed only inches from their faces and again the masses were forced to question their beliefs. David Blaine was made famous and has earned millions from his performance of very simple effects. Uri Gellar is a household name and to this day insists that his power has supernatural origins and that he has no knowledge of magical practice. His 35-year act is possibly one of the most successful in magical history and if art is judged on the reaction it creates, then Gellar is the greatest artist magic has seen. As we turn into the twenty-first century a new form of magic is evolving. A man called Derren Brown has revolutionized the way we look at mentalism. His studies of psychology, hypnotism, sleight of hand and traditional mentalist techniques have made even the most knowledgeable magicians sit up and take note. In his critically acclaimed book, “Absolute Magic” he says, “If magic is to stand as art it must provoke the audience member to consider some things differently after the performance. That may consist of him seeing potential in everyday things, or even to develop an awareness of aspects of his own perceptual apparatus and psychological make-up..…..if not, then I can’t imagine it is doing the job that art should.”
As I move towards 1500 words I think it is time to make some kind of assessment. There were three reasons I doubted as to whether magic is Art or not. The first was the number of magicians who simply buy commercially available magic and perform it as it tells in the instructions. I realize that these people are not even attempting to be artists and are happy simply to be copyists. As magicians, they do not now enter into my discussion. The second reason, were the magicians who do strive for originality and genuinely attempt to be creative with their magic yet fall flatly on their faces. I now realize, that if magic is to be included in Art, then these people are artists; they are just not very good. The third reason I doubted that magic was Art was the attitude that the other Arts took to magic. From my experience 99% of the people who thought of magic as an art form were magicians. I imagine that most of the art world care very little about magic as art, but as Dali said of artists, “each will find the personal quest of the other incomplete or daft.” Having read “the Arts and the Mass Media” I think that the Art World would be happy to accept magic into its ranks on the basis of its’ appeal to the masses. It would accept magic although, to use Clement Greenburgs’ term, it may well be classed as “Kitsch”.

I have come to realize that an artist is an artist whatever field he chooses to express himself. Individual magic tricks are just the tools of the artists trade and should be thought of in much the same way as an artists brush. The invention of a new magic trick is not art; only in performance can it become art. The original invention of the trick is not in itself art, even though it has been designed with the intention of becoming art. The magic is simply an expression in the same way that a painting is.
With my three main reasons dispelled, I am happy to put the terms magic and artist together. If a magician sets out with the intention of making Art, if he encompasses the principles of theatre to create whatever emotion he chooses and if he pushes his own boundaries to a painstaking finish, then the product must be Art. However, as I have already stated, some artists are better than others and generally only the very best artists are remembered. There are very few magicians remembered outside of magic history. Those that are become the subject of myth and legend. Merlin? Rasputin? Jesus Christ?
Message: Posted by: Lawrence O (Oct 19, 2008 10:03AM)
Your problem is more a semantic problem than philosophical one. Since art is such a vague word, one can discard or integrate about anything under the "art" umbrella, just like "love" can refer to the professional on the curb all the way up to Romeo and Juliet
I agree on many things you say but would disagree with your dismay of modern magicians (with arguments I hear repeated days after days as a dark incantation which is not sufficient to give it ground). Actually magic (I mean our art, not sorcellery) has done more progress since World War II than in the previous 5000 years, whether on cards, coins, close up, stage... Thus let's stop complaining like old normative lawyers about the small number of creative magicians, and rather focus on what the creative ones have brought. Believe me this can keep you pretty busy, more than any narcissic reflection on art and magic... and I'm a fanatic about character building, showmanship, entertainment, misdirection...

Think positively and proactively: magic will reward you thousands of times.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Oct 19, 2008 10:41AM)
The piece of art we offer to the audience is the performance. It’s that 30 minutes or so when we perform.

It is an Ephemeral piece of art. Ephemeral means short-lived, transient, fleeting, passing, brief, momentary and temporary. Thus, ephemeral art could be characterized as a form of art that has a finite “life span.” It exists for a certain amount of time, perhaps to fulfil a specific purpose, and then either gradually fades away or is destroyed.

Its not like a painting that we can put in a museum and preserve.

Doing the same act tonight and tomorrow night, is not the same piece of art. They are two pieces of Ephemeral Art.

Once one sees the piece that way it becomes far easier to see it as a piece of Art.

How fine a piece of Art it is, like other Art, it depends on many things.
Message: Posted by: Ben Train (Oct 19, 2008 11:20AM)
If you are [b]truly[/b] interested in learning more about this, you need to be willing to do a little reading.

Start with Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Hume. All four have [b]very[/b] important pieces on art (defining it and creating objective standards in which to asses it)- and if you read P/A together and K/H together they address similar issues and the issues each other present.


Message: Posted by: tommy (Oct 19, 2008 11:39AM)
HERE we come into contact with a difficulty which has taxed the powers of
many great minds to the utmost. Before we can talk sensibly about "Art" of any kind, we must first define the true meaning of that term. We must decide what, in our opinion, art really is. Fortunately in this instance, we are not in danger of encountering the obstacle that so many able intellects have failed to overcome.
We are not called upon to define the meaning of art in the abstract. We have only to define what is meant by "Art in Magic." To that end, we may evoke the aid of both authority and common sense.


But you can read Plato if you like.
Message: Posted by: gaddy (Oct 19, 2008 11:13PM)
It's an art and a craft. [i]"That's A Good Thing..."[/i]
Message: Posted by: tommy (Oct 20, 2008 05:06AM)
One thing that has occurred to me is that a piece of Art is only such when it is being shown to people. If a painter painted a picture and then destroyed it, then he would not have created a piece of Art. A picture in a museum is only Art when people are viewing it. At night when no one is looking at it then it is just an object. Likewise the Art of magic is only the Art of magic when it is being shown to people. I don’t think a painter can paint a picture for himself or a singer sing himself a song or writer write himself a book or magician perform magic for himself and call it Art. Art must have an audience. All Art is ephemeral in that respect, it seems to me. When people see magicians perform it is exactly like when they go to see any work of Art, some magic happens in their mind. Different kinds of Art create different kinds of magic in their minds.

All Art is magic!
Message: Posted by: gaffed (Oct 20, 2008 06:23PM)
On 2008-10-18 04:10, uhrenschmied wrote:
Every craft can be an art, but not every craftsman is an artist.

Hmm...I'll have to use uhrenschmied's quote here also.

[i]Doing[/i] magic tricks and [i]performing[/i] magic tricks are entirely two different things. Take a few minutes watching YouTube and you'll certainly surmise that within about three minutes...or less!

When a magician/performer does his or her act flawlessly, fluidly and with [i]presence[/i] he or she is definitely [i]performing[/i] an "art".

When one simply [i]does[/i] magic tricks he or she is simply painting by numbers as it were and this of course can in no possible way be conceived as "art".

Just about any moron can purchase a trick and with some practice learn how to do it but, can that same person then go out and [i]perform[/i] it! Mind you, the keyword here is “perform” and not simply “do”.

The "art" does not lie within the magic itself but rather [i]within[/i] the one who is [i]performing[/i] it. Anything less than that and it is then merely nothing more than .......a trick.

Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Oct 20, 2008 06:32PM)
What's with capitalizing the word art?
Message: Posted by: tommy (Oct 21, 2008 04:15AM)
To distinguish from false art basically.
Message: Posted by: Lawrence O (Nov 8, 2008 09:22AM)
If the performer is totally focused on his character's act, it is art (good or bad).

If the same one focuses on his (performer's) narcissistic concerns, it becomes skill (good or bad) but it's not art.

I repeat the Simon Aronson quote: "There is a world of difference in not knowing how something is done and knowing that it cannot be done." The first approach is skill, the second is art.

Art is like true love: when it touches you, you know it with absolute certainty.
Message: Posted by: john scot (Nov 12, 2008 09:32AM)
On 2008-10-17 23:45, daffelglass wrote:
So I decided to see if the Ellusionist forums had anything to offer me (not surprisingly, no). But while I was browsing I came across this post:

But is magic really an Art? I don’t want to get all flowery about what art is or isn’t or might be or should be – but if we look at what we do as magicians – it’s all about trickery. It’s a con. Magic doesn’t exist. It’s a little white lie to create a moment of entertainment. The spec might describe magic as some kind of miracle – but we know better.

"Art is the lie that helps us understand the truth." - Pablo Picasso
Message: Posted by: gaddy (Nov 12, 2008 03:08PM)
Also, calling magic an "art" will create a never ending demand for books on the "Art of Magic, ETC" marketed to those who are eternally chasing this carrot on a string.

I know that I'm no Picasso of magic, but I can strive to, at least, be a [url=http://www.dogsplayingpoker.org/gallery/coolidge/a_bold_bluff.html]C.M Coolidge[/url] of magic...
Message: Posted by: john scot (Nov 12, 2008 06:42PM)
To me, art is the product of the ability to honestly express oneself through a creative medium. Not an easy thing to do, so I can see why one might fail to see magic as an art. I would feel pretentious calling myself an 'artist' but would like to think that I approach magic artistically.

That is why it’s so important to have other interests besides magic, so you can draw inspiration from them.
Message: Posted by: Cardician99 (Nov 12, 2008 08:18PM)
I don't perceive myself as an Artist and have never given it much thought. Just a guy who stands back and watches the awe and amazement on the faces and eyes of those observing what I do. So rewarding! That is basically what Magic is all about. Right? At least, for me.

Laymen recognize "skill." Make no mistake, if they remember you as a "really good magician" and discuss you a day or days afterwards, what more recognition could you ask for?

I have seen this "Magician as an 'ARTIST'", definition of an artist, etc., type thread for nearly 50 years. Hey, just enjoy yourself! Please the public and call yourself whatever....rather: A "Magician."
Message: Posted by: ghostpianist (Nov 15, 2008 09:00AM)
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Dec 25, 2018 04:27PM)
[quote]On Nov 12, 2008, gaddy wrote:
Also, calling magic an "art" will create a never ending demand for books on the "Art of Magic, ETC" marketed to those who are eternally chasing this carrot on a string.

I know that I'm no Picasso of magic, but I can strive to, at least, be a [url=http://www.dogsplayingpoker.org/gallery/coolidge/a_bold_bluff.html]C.M Coolidge[/url] of magic... [/quote]Memorable images there, thanks :) And Merry Christmas!
Message: Posted by: magicianbrady (Mar 17, 2019 09:50AM)
What does it matter if it's an Art or not?