Greetings Arkane blog followers. I am happy to report that after two full weeks of illness I am finally on the mend!
This weeks blog title is one of my favourite songs of all time. I wish that this blog post could be all about the man, the legend and my idol, David Bowie. But you came here for magic, and magic knowledge I will bestow upon you.
You will hopefully learn why I think it is important to encourage our rebellious tendencies when creating magic.
As a kid I was anything but rebellious. My family might say otherwise. In school I was an A* pupil trying to be good and I always did what other people expected me to.
I’m just a creative anarchist, baby!
Although educationally, I was prim and proper, creatively I was responsible for a lot of anarchy in my childhood home.
When I was 5 I painted all my teeth with multicoloured highlighters because the boys in my class coloured in one of their tooth’s with a marker. Sadly I have no photographic evidence of this and thankfully since then the colour did not leave a permanent reminder of my stupidity.
In another incident I covered my kitchen with bright blue poster paint attempting to replicate a ‘splattering’ method Neil Buchanan demonstrated on the English afternoon television show called Art Attack. (Oh that theme music brings back memories). Except I had no cardboard to run the brush bristles across to create the flicker. My thinking was if I just shake the brush and paint towards the paper it will go onto the page. I didn’t think that the whole kitchen would end up covered by this new painting method I’d had tried to re-create. I will never forget my mother and fathers face when they entered the room that day. Thankfully all they could do was laugh.
After surviving childhood I ended up a magician, no surprise to my parents. I was always breaking, making and creating stuff.
Performing magic since I was 21, I have kind of followed the rules of being a girl in the magic artistically. I began a box jumper, assisting ‘the magician.’ I created my own magic shows for working with kids. But I always wanted to be more than just that. It was when I decided to rebel and take on the type of performances I was afraid to do, life become exciting, and so did magic.
In this unprecedented time where I am spending a lot of time with myself, I have had to get creative with stuff I have at hand. Parcels aren’t delivered regularly anymore because of the pandemic so when I wanted to create an effect I have had to simply reach to the items from my bedroom. When you limit yourself to only things that you have at hand it’s amazing how creative you can become. Over the last two months I have worked more with glue, tape, black art, safety pins, magnets, wire, thread and all the utility devices at hand to make my ideas work. No item is disallowed. Everything is in play.
I was challenged to come up with a method to change a deck from red to blue and within the space of an hour I managed to pull together this, never ever doing anything like it before in my life. No bought gimmicks involved. All made by yours truly.
I’m finding the longer I am locked in my tiny space the more I am enjoying creative challenges. Why is that?
Magic effects I have learnt to look at as a puzzle. There are so many ways to solve a puzzle. The easy way, the hard way or my way.
If we breakdown the effect I performed in the video above it can be solved in many ways. Heck people have invented methods for years on this. But what makes this version unique is that the thinking behind it is mine. This is how my brain solved this exact puzzle – How can I show a red deck of cards change to a blue deck?
If you were faced with the same problem you might come up with a different method. This difference of artistic thinking is what I find brilliant about magic. We all have our own artistic vision for what we wish to achieve. Mine is growing day by day in this isolation as I’m comfortable knowing what I want to achieve when I set myself a challenge. How I wish it to look and what emotions I wish people to feel from watching me perform. This takes a long time to get there. Trust me.
How to solve the unsolvable puzzle?
Speaking of puzzles. This week I had to come up with something for my Spark Creative group. A group of artistic people from around the globe that Carissa Hendrix has brought together on Facebook. Carissa then drops in a prompt for us all to create a piece around. It can be a video, a painting just something inspired by the weekly theme.
As Carissa has entrusted me to be a founding member I want to contribute as much as I can to inspire others each week. This weeks prompt was ‘Comfort’ using an unfamiliar prop. Immediately I wanted to perform something in my onesie. When do you ever get to perform magic in a onesie – unless you are Magic George a.k.a George Firehorse. A friend and Belfast comedian and magician who often is seen prancing about in his superman onesie on stage. (He must have deleted every picture online of himself in his Superman onesie).
Lying on my bed, I seen a pair of fluffy earmuffs and it hit me. The project has to be about ear muffs. But what shall I do with them? What if I passed something into one muff and it came out the other. What a sentence!!! I decided then that was the challenge. At first I asked Tom was there anything that existed like this before to which he replied, Brain Floss. Only thing was the whole world and her mother knows the method. Tom suggested that it might be cool to be able to take on and off the muffs freely to show there was no connection between the two. Here’s what I came up with below.
I am quite pleased with how it turned out.
Rebel is as Rebel does
As this post is all about being a rebel, I now must do what I should never do being a magician. Reveal the method.
Why, because the method is beyond hilarious and the length I went to in order to make this effect work you will understand that ANYTHING is open as a method. And I will most likely never perform this again, ever!
Remember there are no rules in magic when you create something original. You make the rules and can break them.
Last chance any guesses how I flossed my ears???
If you don’t wish to know the secret keeping the magic alive, don’t scroll down past this image. But if you do… continue at your peril!
The D.A.D Method
The method I came up with worked however I needed help. My solution in the end had to involve a partner in crime.
Let me introduce my amazing dad, Philip.
He became the ‘prop’ I’ve never worked with before. Whilst my dad followed the instructions; even when his dictator daughter gave him so many directions at once, hence why it took two, two hour sessions to film it, he kept getting into the shot.
Aside from the filming taking forever, what was wonderful working with the D.A.D method was that every time we had to start over he kept saying to me, “don’t worry love we’ll get it this time.” His enthusiasm for helping me achieve my goal was overwhelmingly beautiful.
I almost gave up getting it when I thought what if I put a blanket over his head would it work? Upon grabbing a black blanket by accident and literally throwing it over his head a spark ignited in my brain. What if I covered my dad from head to toe in black. Gloves, a jumper the works. And it did work, we got it filmed first go. My dad was unbelievably kind and patient and really helped me by doing literally anything it took to make this video work. BONUS: I believe he actually understood the magic he was helping to create in the end too.
Going Rogue is worth the results!
What I’ve learnt this week is that teamwork is hard. Learning to work in sync with someone is very tricky. Especially when that person is not familiar with magic. But my word it’s rewarding and so worth every mess up we had to get that film shot. My dad and I laughed so much creating this. After this mad process I can finally say I taught my dad the greatest magic trick of all. Too ‘magically’ become invisible and disappear on camera. Something magicians have strove to do their entire careers.
Go on, break the rules, it’s more fun!