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.
In honour of my friend David Berglas being awarded an MBE for services to magic, I am gifting this original 18 x 24″ charcoal portrait of him worth £135 to one lucky newsletter subscriber!
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Destined to become a collectors item, this portrait could be yours. Winner selected February 1st 2019.
This month sees a significant change in the direction of my creative life.
Firstly, I turn 40 years young.
Secondly, I’m focusing on my artwork into the foreseeable future, specialising in works reflecting my love of magic and wildlife. After nigh-on two decades as a successful professional magician, an agent, producer and manager, I’ve been feeling the call to move out of the spotlight of performing into the isolation of the studio.
One way to celebrate this change came quite unexpectedly through my association with the world’s most prestigious and progressive magic school for magicians based in Las Vegas. I was honoured to be asked to write the editorial for their global newsletter this month which is read by tens of thousands of creative folk.
This was my first ever editorial and allowed me to discuss my views on magic and showcase my change of ‘career’ into that of an artist.
Feedback has been encouraging and I’m pleased to have been already asked to consider future contributions.
There comes times when it’s hard to stop the train we’re on, take a step back and consider how we’re going to transform ourselves for the future. It’s not easy! It means digging deep, confronting fears and challenging beliefs. I guess I can’t help it, as I’ve always been changing direction and shaking things up, usually at a time when things are most stable.
And for someone who has always been very pro-active and ‘out-there’, taking time to hibernate and create is not a natural process, but one that feels right at this point in my life.
Many simply go and buy themselves a Porsche I hear! Alas, being a person who has no real interest in material possessions, turning inwards is the journey at present. Please keep an eye on my art as it progresses and if you feel like supporting a ‘starving artist’, there’s a small selection of my work available on this here site.
So, Happy Birthday to me. Happy Birthday to me. Happy Birthday dear me. Happy Birthday to me!
Working on a series of charcoal studies at present. And getting high with the amount of fixative in the studio! Charcoal is an amazing medium to work with, but creates one hell of a mess. There’s black powder everywhere here. Looks like some kind of black magic drug den. I could don a face-mask, but where’s the fun in that?!
And why don’t we use the word ‘don’ more often?
Okay, this stuff has gone to my head. My eyes are glazing over. The keyboard letters are becmoing all mxied up…
A new category of art has just been added to this ‘ere website of love; ‘Wildlife’.
Back when I was a student, I spent hours drawing big cats. After a sabbatical, I’ve recently re-discovered my passion for these magnificent beasts.
And I’ve been fortunate enough to get up close and personal with lions and tigers (even a cheetah) as I once lived with three lion cubs. Here’s a younger me with the one Jen (my girlfriend and awesome artist in her own right) called ‘Tiny’. The cub that is.
Tiny is now a massive beastie, beautiful and lives in our friends private sanctuary in Kent. Check out The Big Cat Sanctuary.
As featured on MagicWeek, the UK’s leading online magic site; Jeff McBride’s Magic & Mystery School have recently invited Jay Fortune to join their faculty after another successful UK tour (co-produced by Jay). Larry Hass, the school Dean, said “I am so pleased to say that our friend Jay Fortune has officially joined the Magic & Mystery School team as one of our Guest Teachers! Jay brings so many talents to our team. He has a long career as a magician, but he is also a fine artist, producer, agent, and deeply experienced magic teacher. His knowledge of magic and magic business is extraordinary.” As Jay ‘retires’ as a successful performing magician after nigh-on two decades to focus on his art and writing, Jay says he has plans to work closely with the school to develop new projects and tours and constantly strive to excel in his lifelong pursuit of magic.
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.