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 2006 I was invited as a guest to perform at Magic & Meaning in Las Vegas. The conference is one of, if not the, leading conference globally to explore the connections between the magician and the human condition.
Another world-class conference, also hosted in Las Vegas, is Magic & Medicine, which explores how the healing power of the magician can be utilised by medical practitioners.
Now, after years of behind-the-scenes negotiations and the generosity of friends, I’m excited to be bringing a flavour of both of these events to the UK for the first time ever.
Shaman & Showman takes place on Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th March, 2020, in Blackpool (the Las Vegas of the UK!).
Hosts Jeff McBride and Dr. Lawrence Hass discuss this unique conference weekend for which tickets are now on sale. Watch the video here>>
Tickets available from £55 per day (Early Bird until 31.12.19), including over £150s worth of FREE merchandise. Limited spaces. Click here for more information.
It’s hailed to be the magical publishing event of the year, if not the decade.
One of magic’s most respected teachers, Eugene Burger (considered THE world’s authority on the philosophy of the magician) passed away in 2017. Eugene began a secret project in 2010 to create two books which recorded his magic theory, performances and secrets which would only come out after he had passed.
Entrusting the project to Larry Hass, Eugene wished for his magic to finally be revealed for future magicians to study, practice and perform, as opposed to taking his secrets to the grave.
Larry entrusted me to collaborate on the illustrations for these books. We began working in secret in the Autumn of 2018.
Now, nearly a year later, in Las Vegas, November 2019, the first of the two books has been released. Titled ‘From Beyond’ it’s hit the magic world with high praise and critical review.
I illustrated chapter icons and many other ‘secrets’. For those in the know, many of the illustrations (pen and ink) are subtle with hidden meanings. Larry and I can finally talk about the book too – which is a relief! I only had to keep it secret for around a year… Larry for almost a decade!
Well, they do say we magicians are great at keeping secrets.
2020 sees Larry and I on a book tour of the UK and also beginning work on the second volume, due for release in 2021.
While out and about, one of my collectors happened to see my ARToon proudly on display in a gallery in the Midlands. This piece has proven particularly popular so I’m forever having to type the full title… wish I’d given it a much shorter one now. Hence not typing it again in this paragraph!
If you’re out and about and happen to stumble upon an art gallery selling my original art, do take a selfie and tag me in it. or, if you’re feeling in the mood to spend a bit of your hard-earned cash on yourself, why not pop in and buy it? Fine Art tends to go up in price, so not only will you have a nice, bright unique piece of original artwork to add to your home, but also something to hand on in the future.
Well, that line was supposed to be edited out.
George Parker is a fascinating guy. He’s a ‘corporate alchemist’ and spends his time working the world’s biggest corporations teaching them about creative transformation. I know him as a superb magician – and friend.
George and I have undertaken many fun projects together; from team-building creative days, to joint magic shows in London and Amsterdam. We’ve also worked together in Las Vegas.
So when George announced he would like me to be a guest on his Creation Game podcast, I said ‘sure’. Knowing we both get deep on theory and performance when we get going, the hour long podcast became about 90 minutes. Not bad.
At one memorable point, about an hour in, my well-trained bladder was thinking, ‘yep, that’s about time, can we ‘go’ now?’ as a parcel was delivered to George’s home in Amsterdam. Great timing! George said he had to get the door and I remarked that was fine as I needed to go to the gentleman’s convenience.
George, wonderfully, left that part of the podcast in. He says he likes the podcasts to be natural.
Well, here’s the link. in it we discuss my journey from being a child Jesus (in a school play) through to my own West-End shows and beyond to my recent transition of a full-time artist. Interspersed with memories and touching on theory and personal philosophies, it makes for an interesting discussion! Enjoy!
Simplecast link: http://ow.ly/nHA230otN1P
Back in the summer of 2018 I was contacted by a long-time friend of mine Dan Clarkson (Dan and I were a double act way back in 2001/2. We also created a radio show and a student magazine).
Since then, Dan has written and starred in Potted Potter, a parody of the Harry Potter books. The show is multi-award-winning. When Dan contacted me, the production company behind Potted Potter wished to up the ante of the magic within the show.
Along with my magic director Richard Leigh, I devised new magic for the show which wasn’t as simple as might appear (pun intended!) given the touring nature of the show.
This comedy family show has now just won two ‘Best of Las Vegas’ awards and runs until January 2020 in The Magic Attic showroom, at Bally’s Las Vegas.
Hot off the press, MagicSeen (September 19) features an interview discussing my art and change of career direction from the stage to the studio as a commercial pro artist. Thanks to the team at www.magicseen.co.uk for kind permission to attach the article here for your enjoyment. Best read, as always, with a cuppa and cake. Probably carrot.
Las Vegas was naturally on my ‘to-do’ list when I was a professional magician. I did my first show there in 2006. I didn’t think it would be a natural part of my artistic ventures, but I was wrong.
Larry Hass (above left) is one of magic’s most respected teachers and publishers in the art of magic. Larry and I have been good friends for a number of years and have worked on many projects together.
In 2010, our mutual friend Eugene Burger (featured in the print) proposed to Larry, in total secrecy, the idea of writing his final books which were to be printed and released only after his death. Eugene passed in 2017.
Larry then began to work on Eugene’s final books (there will be two, one released this November and the next in 2021) and approached me to be the illustrator. Until then, I, like almost every other magician connected to Eugene, had no idea the books were even in the pipeline. Eugene was great at keeping secrets!
Upon book one being ready for publishing, Larry commissioned me to create a unique portrait of Eugene and we decided to use one of Michael Caplan’s (above right) brilliant photographs of Eugene. Michael was Eugene’s professional photographer for most of his life.
The print was released at Magic LIVE in August 2019. The first 195 orders received one of my prints. Michael has No. 1! The original portrait is also soon to be with Michael.
For magician’s who wish to know more about Eugene’s book, please keep an eye on www.theoryandartofmagic.com.
During September an interview with yours truly (a-hem) will appear in a magic magazine. The interview focuses on my transition from the stage to the studio, from a pro performer to a pro artist. As part of that interview, there’s a competition to win a limited edition print. And, in anticipation of the answer, here’s some info for those who need to know!
I painted this Houdini portrait based on a famous photograph of the escapologist. In it Houdini has his hand resting on a book. This book was to prove controversial (like almost everything Houdini wrote or said) among magicians. The title was ‘The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin’.
Robert-Houdin is known as the Father of Modern Magic. Famous for losing the wizard-like robes of the magicians of the past and adopting the modern tails of high society in which he lived and socialised. Harry Houdini was so impressed with the memoirs of Robert-Houdin that he took the surname of his idol and added an ‘i’ becoming Houdini.
However, in Houdini’s later years he became disillusioned with the teachings and stories of the then late, great Robert-Houdin and wrote the ‘Unmasking…’ book destroying his reputation. The book was heavily criticised among magicians who knew Houdini’s megalomaniacal obsession with fame.
So, there’s a tale for you. May it help those who didn’t know, should they look here, when the time comes.
The purr-fect gift! A pet paw-trait. That’ll do with the crap puns. Meet Gus – a recent commission. Gus was requested in pencil and will soon be framed and shipped to his new home in France.
Fancy your own pet forever cast in pencil (or charcoal)? Please email me here and I’ll get back to you with prices and options. Your favourite furry friend will be on your wall in no time… well, maybe a few weeks.
If you’ve been considering a private commission, now is a great time to book, as I’m giving you 10% off any portrait booked before 24th May 2019. You lucky tinker.
If you’ve been thinking of commissioning a portrait whether for a friend, gift or treat for yourself, now’s a good time to book and save. Please drop me an email and I’ll soon be in touch. Your 10% discount will apply once your commission is confirmed. Exciting eh? Don’t delay, email me today.
For further information please check out my commissions page.
Important note; the photograph depicts me on this glorious Monday. I wish to stress that the poorly hand-written notice in no way reflects the skill, dedication, discipline and talent that will be applied to your portrait!