News, views and shoes.*
*There aren’t actually any posts about shoes here. But it rhymed and the rhythm of three works well. Hence the shoes.
New book just published featuring a few doodles by yours truly. Thinking like a magician is one way to look at things with a different perspective. After all, we ‘keepers of the secrets’ fathom new ways to achieve impossible things. Quite a skill. A-hem.
My latest portrait titled ‘Our Dear Friend’ is now proudly hanging with a collector in Memphis, USA. The new owner, Larry, kindly said the following which is touching and, after having recently toured the UK with a legacy to the magician Eugene Burger (depicted) with Larry, I’m real pleased to have been able to produce this artwork for him.
Over to Larry, ‘Your drawing is simply stunning. I am really overwhelmed and a bit speechless. The piece arrived in perfect condition. And it is utterly expressive of Eugene. And it is beautiful. Your art is really wonderful. Thank you so much!’
In the words of Pennywise… ‘they float’… Client well pleased with their new magical toy. Thanks to Jamie Allan and team for doing a grand job. We believe the only permanent Pepper’s Ghost inspired install in the UK.
A Tesla has appeared to date. Who knows what the spirits will conjure up next!
Last month, April, I had the pressure… pleasure!… of touring with my two friends and magic mentors Jeff McBride and Larry Hass across the British Isles of love.
On the way we shared many laughs, a few tears and met so many new peeps to add to the ever-growing tribe of folk all looking to grow their own magical practice and share their tricks. All in memory of the master magician Eugene Burger, who left us last summer.
If ever you get opportunity in your life to do something different away from your normal routine, I urge you to take the chance. Touring is hard work, but equally re-energising as you get to meet so many new people and share rewarding experiences.
From late night card tricks (an essential touring component if you’re a magician of course, and on occasion, accompanied by musicians playing guitars), to discussing philosophy with Doctors, politics with scholars and life lessons with writers, walking on the sea-front with artists, around cities with thinkers and on the road with entrepreneurs, all of us breaking bread and sharing wine by the fire. Such good times.
Now a few days R&R to absorb, digest and begin on projects new.
What do you do to expand your tribe and get your fill of magical juice? If in doubt, arrange a tour with friends, even if it’s just an overnight with a tent. You’ll not regret it. Unless you forget to bring the bottle opener of course.
Or the guitar.
It didn’t start out as this.
Names not known to many, but hugely influential and famous in the world of magicians, are touring the UK this April through May. I’ve been involved with the Mystery School founders (based in Las Vegas) for around 15 years and have, of late, been producing their tours this side of the Pond.
In 2016 we organised a tour for April 2018 to feature the World Ambassador of Magic Jeff McBride (world record holder, Las Vegas headliner), Eugene Burger (the world’s authority on magic and philosophy) and Lawrence Hass (critical thinker and leading magic academic and performance artist). Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Our dear friend Eugene passed away in August 2017. I was honoured to be asked by the leading magic industry magazine to write a tribute.
Both Jeff, Lawrence and I were keen to keep Eugene’s spirit alive and so the forthcoming tour is all about Eugene’s magic, philosophy and teachings. Most events are full, with a few seats remaining at the show in Bath.
The tour dates are:
April 11th – Wolverhampton
April 12th – Kent
April 13th – Kent
April 14th/15th – Deal
April 16th – Magic Circle London
April 17th – Bath
April 18th – Abergele, Wales
April 19th – Blackpool
April 20th – Dublin
April 21/22 – Dublin
April 23rd – Blackpool
April 24th – Manchester
April 25th – York
April 26th – Newcastle
April 27th – Renfrew
April 28/29th – Scotland/SAMS
April 30th – Leeds
May 1st – Manchester
Event details in the magic press. As a kid I watched these magician’s on TV and now I am touring with them. Funny world.
After our inaugural Magical Workshop in November 2017, I decided to re-design the magic sets and tricks taught in this hands-on class for special needs students. After successfully doing so, and about to perform a back-up, my computer (the ever-customer-ignoring-Apple-brand) decided to crash. Oh, that was after dear Apple said I really, really should update my OS as my computer would otherwise be ‘vulnerable’. I updated. And… well, if you’re bored Google ‘Too Many Corpses’ as this was the fault I found out hours later.
The good news is that;
1 – the magic sets were completely re-designed again (they had failed to save upon the crash) meaning I could add an extra tweak or two before committing to print.
2 – my Mac is working, and I have decided from this day forth to not buy from Apple ever again.
3 – my magician friend Tim and I successfully delivered another Magical Workshop week to around 250+ students across many schools in Hertfordshire and Essex.
For the creatives among you, a hidden lesson was the opportunity presented from the above crash (I’ve recommended Apple change their name going forward to ‘hAssLE’) allowing me to re-design my re-design.
Often our first efforts are not quite as good as they could perhaps be, given we are ourselves unfamiliar with the work we’ve just created. When we have the chance to create it again, we are now doing so from a vision of knowing what the final result will look like, and this allows us to tweak and play until it is perhaps more how we feel it should be.
So is our second best actually the opportunity for our best?
Would you agree?
It’s a strange feeling, when you create something, whether that’s written, drawn or otherwise, and then somebody buys it with their hard-earned money. They then display it and enjoy it. I say ‘strange’ as the process isn’t connected to the outcome, which, you as the creator won’t get to experience.
Case in point; my Houdini ink portrait was recently purchased and has since been framed and is on display in a friend’s house in London. However, I created the piece in solitude here in my studio in Blackpool. The buyer experiences it on a daily basis in their home.
Another collector purchased two of my pieces and has since framed them and put them up in his home. And only yesterday a new buyer purchased a piece to display at his home in New York.
The disconnect between the creator (and the personal enjoyment that brings me as the creator) and the enjoyment that the purchaser experiences when viewing the work they now own, are separate experiences. This may at first appear blindingly obvious. But…
I spent nigh-on two decades as a professional magician performing in all manner of environments. The bizarre thing there is that the act which I created first as a solitary experience, then collaborating with my director, eventually led to the act being organically adapted and tweaked before the audience who experience it at the same time as I do as it is created.
I think as an artist and writer, having that disconnect often leads you to feel you’re missing out on something special; namely enjoying the enjoyment that your creation brings to the person experiencing it in the moment, something that a live performance has in spades.
How to overcome this is an interesting proposition. An exhibition? In March I’m co-organising in a theatrical immersive art installation. But again, throughout the week of performances, I may only be there for one or two given my schedule and the fact it’s in London. Writers often shy away from, but others enjoy immensely, the book reading to a small intimate audience. Again, it is a way to connect in the moment and share your creation.
Having seen it from both sides of the coin, I think the energy from creating live is immense when compared to the energy used when working in isolation in the studio. As socially hungry animals, finding that balance to share static works and bring them to life where artist and audience can meet is something I’m finding creatively stimulating as the weeks roll merrily along.
What do my fellow ‘creatives’ think? How do they work around this? Or, does it even matter to you as an artist?
Delighted to be one of the very first designer furniture brands on Artlimes – a major retailer for high-end art and design. We were approached by their enthusiastic team to feature Wundre, so have launched three months ahead of schedule.
Nice start to 2018!
Sometimes, pieces of the puzzle are floating all around and I often have a knack of seeing them and putting them together. The results aren’t always satisfying but never-the-less, I’ve had some right corkers and other things, well, let’s just let them stay unsaid.
This time though, it proved to be a right corker.
A friend of mine runs a charity helping special needs children cope with sporting activities. I’ve long been associated with the charity. They were looking at other ways they may be able to help raise smiles and I mentioned another friend of mine who was running a magic workshop.
The two came together rather quickly with yours truly as the jigsaw-connector.
And so my magical mate Tim and I took his Magical Workshop programme into special needs schools over the course of one week in November 2017 under my Magic Moments charitable initiative banner.
It was enormous fun, and challenging, given the range of disabilities with the children, aged between 10 and 19. To see the sheer joy of magic on their faces as they made the magic happen for themselves was more rewarding than any show I’ve ever done.
As a magician, I often forget to appreciate the power a properly presented magic trick can create for an onlooker. Magic can be momentarily traumatic, disrupting reality. Check out any of the top magicians and you’ll see what I mean.
The sessions were very hands-on and since our first workshops we have been overwhelmed with the feedback. I have a stack of hand-made thank-you cards, notes and pictures from one class which have pride of place in my magic den. (Quick note to non-magicians reading this; a magic ‘den’ is basically a room of the house you have convinced your partner to let you have to store all of your related magical ‘crap’ so as not to clutter the rest of the house. It is also private and full of secrets, so never, ever enter another magicians den. ‘Nuff said.)
This Spring, Tim and I are back out visiting more schools and working to develop the students motor-skills, communication and confidence.
We’re also working on new workshops for schools that target many of the anxieties and fears that young people face in an ever-changing world. And magic is an amazing tool to connect with. It breaks down barriers and encourages interaction.
Funny how little things can change your direction, all from a chance occurrence and invisible pieces of the jigsaw waiting to be fitted together.
It’s that time of year; looking at the usual mass produced nonsense and wondering what to buy our friends and family. If only there was something unique…
And along comes I, Festive Fortune, offering one of my unique portraits each day from today, 12th December, until the last posting day (UK) at a specially reduced price. Only one will be made available each day. To snap it up, please visit my shop here and look for the reduced price among the offerings!
A hint… all my pieces are £75, but one will be available at a seriously reduced rate. Happy looking!