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.
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!
Online store selling my original pencil and ink portraiture is now all-systems-go-baby. Please check out (literally, with an original in your shopping cart and support a starving artist!) my online shop here. Thanks!
And, as I mention on the store front, if you buy an original from me then you can show it off with pride as you actually own an original piece of art, unlike your friends who will also claim to have ‘fine art’ on display, usually purchased from The Range. Tut tut.
It started as a bit of fun to get me back in the swing of doing sketching after a hiatus. The response from my fellow Magi has been most kind and after many requests for prints of my portraits of famous magicians, I’ve decided to make a few originals for sale in the coming days. They will be on a first come, first served basis and available from this here website of loveliness.
The selected works, and new portraits, will be added periodically with the initial shop launch sometime this month.
Each piece of original art will be framed within its own mount and come with a Certificate of Authenticity. And be reasonably priced of course!
Thanks for looking!
Having been asked to write a tribute to my dearly departed friend and mentor Eugene Burger (THE philosopher of magic), I’m indebted to Magicseen Magazine for their kind permission to attach it here.
‘Weston-Super-Mare council weren’t to know. How could they? The pavement curb stone outside of the Playhouse Theatre was just another everyday mundane slab of concrete.
The gala show at the Bristol Day of Magic was enjoyable and the conventioneers had gathered on the pavement outside to bid farewell for another year. Like most conventions being a social occasion interspersed with the occasional packet trick and pint.
I was unexpectedly shoved from behind, with a growling voice apologising profusely. I turned to steady the attacker from further onslaught and came face-to-face with a living legend. He had tripped on the curb without being intoxicated (unusual for the inhabitants of Weston) and steadied himself on my wire-like frame.
And that was how I met the man who would go on to become one of my dearest friends, mentor and adopted granddad; Eugene Burger.’ [To read the rest, please click the link below]
My girlfriend Jen (www.artbyjen.co.uk) badgered me into taking part in the latter half of Inktober; namely, drawing something in ink each day and posting online. Rising to the challenge, I decided to do my own version (awkward sod that I am) and have devised Magink – magicians sketched in ink.
If you’re interested and this kind of thing swings your curiosity pendulum to ‘ohhh’ then please check out or follow me on Instagram. Alternatively, you can do one of those thumbs-up likey things on Facebook.
And here’s a sketch of UK underground magician turned super-star Dynamo doing his card-cutting wizardry. Enjoy!
Having been asked to write a tribute to my mentor, friend and adopted granddad Eugene Burger, who was the world’s leading voice on the philosophy and role of the magician, inspired me to pick up the pencils after a sabbatical. Miss you Eugene. (Tribute will be published in November issue of MagicSeen.)