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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » The Art of Magic Part 1 (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Burt Yaroch
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Tom Cutts offered a unique perspective to a reply of mine under New to Magic: Beginners Code in which I was attempting to impart my thoughts on “staking your claim” (proper crediting of effects). Our comments included the art of magic. While I think our views may have differed, his opinions were insightful and, I thought, deserving further exploration. So I put to your collective knowledge three questions (posted separately for the sake of clarity and brevity):



-What is it that makes magic an art form (if you consider it an art form at all)?

Smile



Thanks to Tom for his thought provoking reply.
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Tom Cutts
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Always happy to lend words to consider.



What makes magic an art is no different than any other craft which aspires, in the hands of its master, to greater things.



Magic becomes an art when it becomes a vehicle for the expression of the greater acts of being human.



"Was this your card?" just doesn't cut it.



Someone with such lofty questions in their head should surely look into AM/PM, a periodical about the art of performing magic.



Why there just happens to be an essay on the very topic of magic as art in there.



Tom Cutts
JaquaiGul
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When does the child plunking out Chop Sticks on the piano become an artist? When does his music become art?

Smile

It all has to do with the seriousness of the performer and quality of his work. In one sense the kindergardener's crayon picture is art, but I wouldn't pay to see it. I believe the magician must consider his effect a small play that has as its main purpose the entertainment of his audience.

Smile
Scott F. Guinn
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There is a difference between a guy who knows some tricks and a magician. In my travels, I've come across people who've told me they have been "magicians" for three weeks, and they've already done two shows! Even worse, I've met those who say they've been "doing magic" for 35 years. They then show me an effect and it's horrendous! In reality, they've been doing magic for 6 months 70 times!



Neither of these types are artists--or magicians. The true art of magic comes from someone who respects it and views it as an art form; someone who wants to bring joy, wonder and astonishment to his audience; and someone who understands that this is NOT an easy task that requires little or no effort!



Tommy Wonder is an artist. Juan Tamariz is an artist. The local hack who does a trick he just bought that day and flashes all over the place, with little or no presentation, is NOT an artist.



I recently visited Hollywood, going to both Wizards and the Magic Castle. Of all the acts I saw (about 12), I would classify three as artists: John Lovick (Handsome Jack) and Shimada at the Castle, and the hand shadow guy at Wizard's. The rest were some guys doing tricks, just to be in the spotlight.



In my opinion, the true artist understands that the actual TRICKS are the least important part of the performance. He understands that the show is about the AUDIENCE, not the magician. As Ammar says, his focus isn't "Here I am!" but "There you are!" He brings the audience out of their boredom, tension, stress, depression and cynicism, and however briefly, takes them to a place of wonder, where the impossible is possible, where life is a wonderful gift to be slowly unwrapped and enjoyed, where problems and troubles can be conquered and where they are important. THAT is the art of magic!
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Burt Yaroch
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Dang, you guys (gender neutral usage) are pretty smart.



I especially like the perspective that the ’art’ is created as an interaction with the audience. That would tie in with my favorite phrase in magic: The suspention of belief. Magic performed well, in an entertaining manner, that mystifies as well as amuses, I’m sure it would be considered, to many who view it, as much a performing art as interpretive dance. (Actually that was probably a bad anology. What the heck is up with that stuff?) Smile
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Martino
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My two penneth! IMO magic becomes an art when the performance of the magician elicits the emotional response that the magician planned and worked to create. Obviously this doesn’t come from just doing a few tricks. You need to have worked on proper routining, presentations etc. This also refers back to a Wesley James post about using routined emotional responses to "play the audience" like a musical instrument.



We laugh, we cry, we go home!
"There's a difference between not knowing how something is done and knowing it can't be done!" - Simon Aronson
Ian Rowland
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There's no reason why most of you should ever have studied the philosophy of art (there are far better things to do with one's time)... but there's a lot of it, and trying to define what IS 'art' forms a large part of it.



From my own brief dunking in this subject (mis-spent youth) I'd say that art means two things. In the simplest sense, it means 'decoration'. You can leave a wall blank, or you can finish it off with a pretty mosaic pattern.



A less superficial definition would be this: art (aside from simple decoration) is that which intends to preserve and communicate human experience.



The surprising discovery of a card thought lost in the deck may be good magic, but is not (in itself) art. If, through presentational means, the trick conveys to those who see it something more than just a temporary apparent impossibility, then it may become art.



Some of Copperfield's illusions, themed around the permanence of love or the endurance of imagination, I consider artistic - even if detractors may find them schmaltzy or maudlin. When I see Michael Vincent present close-up card magic, it is always artistic.



In my own field, I love watching any good mentalist exploit the power of mentalism to touch people in other ways, perhaps to enhance their own sense of confidence or self-belief, or to re-think their own possibilities in life. Christian Chelman's presentations, if 'Capricornian Tales' are anything to go by, seems very artistic in all he does.
www.ianrowland.com . Working Magic.
Stephen Long
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I think anything done exquisitely becomes artistic. The other day, for example, I was sitting at a restaurant and I looked over to see a waiter folding napkins. The guy looks tired, he looks bored, you could tell he’s done this sort of thing a hundred times before.

But his fingers seemed to be at one with the napkin (a strange thought indeed) as they folded and creased... a few seconds later, after having immaculately folded the first, he was onto another.

Now I’m not comparing napkin folding to magic, but there is a parallel there.

somewhere...
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Thomas Wayne
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Quote:

On 2001-10-24 19:10, yakandjak wrote:

Dang, you guys (gender neutral usage) are pretty smart.



I especially like the perspective that the ’art’ is created as an interaction with the audience.




Yak,



You’ve touched on my favorite aspect of magic, one that makes it different from almost any other type of performing. With singing, dancing, stage acting, film performance, et al. it is rare that an audience comfortably accepts the performer violating the "fourth wall". Of course, not all magic performance does this either, but it happens often and when it does the audience understands it as a natural part of the experience. Because this is so, we - as magicians - are given the wonderful task (and stingent duty) of making such interaction an enjoyable, exciting and memorable experience for our audience. To do any less is, in my opinion, failing as an artist.



Regards,

Thomas Wayne
MOST magicians: "Here's a quarter, it's gone, you're an idiot, it's back, you're a jerk, show's over." Jerry Seinfeld
Peter Marucci
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Art -- magic or otherwise -- is something that emotionally moves at least some of the viewers/listeners/spectators/audience.

Does your magic do that?

And if not, why not?

cheers,

Peter Marucci
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