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.
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!
I finally gave in and began embarking on the latest phase of my new art career, namely oil paints.
They were there, in their metal cases with their screw top lids, coaxing me into using them. They’ve been there for a month or two. Smooth sides, shiny, slim, crying out to be squeezed…
Three weeks in (and having been involved in a big publishing project during this time too) and there’s now five paintings finished. Yes, yes, they’re all of famous magicians, but it does mean that I’ll soon be offering oil painted portraits for commissions as well as charcoal and pencil work.
And, hand-on-heart, am LOVIN’ the oils! Not quite enjoying how long they take to dry, but nonetheless, expect the vast majority of my future work to be in oils.
Just one pallet of colour for a recent portrait can be seen in the photograph. Odd as, in my life, I prefer minimalism and simplicity. But when it comes to painting, it’s chaos! And perhaps that is how it should be. Ying and Yang and all that!
A friend of mine used to have a poem on her fridge that began, ‘Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better, to paint a picture or write a letter…’ I sat down to write this blog and carry on painting after cleaning my studio.
Speaking of which… back to the drawing board.
I’m a bibliophile and always got my head in a book. Not literally, that would make it almost impossible to read. Unless one had super-eyesight. Anyway…
I’m a music lover; have managed bands, tried my hand at a variety of instruments and always have music on in the studio when working on new pieces.
I read poetry. Music lyrics are poetry. I love art. Let’s chuck all of that in a fictional pot and what do we get? Yep, Lyric originals.
Going forward, will be offering this for commissions to, not only of famous folk but of loved ones and their favourite song, verse or saying written into their portrait.
In the last few weeks I offered the option of buying an original with, or without, a frame and mount. Recent sales have ALL requested the framing option. Well, like a true magical genii (albeit I have no wish to cram myself into a tea-pot) your wish is my demand. All of my original portraits now come with a custom made frame (black, but upon your order, I will confirm your preferred colour) and high quality Daler-Rowney mount.
This means that, whether you have purchased for yourself or as a gift, your artwork will come ready to be hung and admired.
Your Certificate of Authenticity is attached to the back of your frame, so do keep it safe. The value of your work may very well go up!
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!
To stand a chance of winning, simply become a member of my newsletter. It’s easy to sign-up and completely free.
I also don’t spam you, only sending out an update periodically to inform you of new releases (before they’re announced on social media), the occasional special offer and latest news.
There’s a sign-up bar along the top of this site. Bright yellow. You can’t miss it!
Destined to become a collectors item, this portrait could be yours. Winner selected February 1st 2019.