With the year quickly coming to an end, it seems only right that we give a recap of all the things that made 2015 such a good year for the art. So sit down, grab a celebratory beverage and some cards, and let’s make it through the list, shall we?
Usually when asked about the birth of our art, most cardists would say Show Off by Brian Tudor was the first “flourish-only” product on the market. This wasn’t the case, as we are about to see. But most importantly, we are going to try to revisit the old-school scene, and when I say old-school, I really mean it. Let’s talk about the origins of one-handed cuts, Sybil-like two-handed cuts, and let’s learn a bit about some of the very old-timers of cardistry 🙂
Long before the Portals trainer deck Kickstarter, I had been making prototype decks for multiple uses. At first they were strictly for magic. Acrylic came to me as an accident, when a family member was doing an art project and I tagged along. When asked if I wanted anything, I simply asked for a piece of acrylic cut out in the shape of a card. There weren’t any acrylic pieces that matched the thinness of a playing card amongst the numerous colors, and so I settled for the closest one, a dark red wine color.
For those that have no idea who I am, my name is Leon Tai. I’m a cardist from Singapore (home to some of the dankest cardists ever), and I am mainly known for being fast:
The basic definition of speed, in relation to Cardistry, is to get from point A in a flourish to point B as quickly as possible. One could say that speed is a natural progression of one’s skills; once you’re smooth enough, it’s time to speed things up a notch. To me, speed conveys confidence; you’re telling people that you’re so familiar with the move you’re doing that you can do it fast.
This article regards making Cardistry videos that are more than just about cards. I see video-making as being a huge part of what Cardistry has become today since it is and will likely always be the main medium through which we share our trade. These thoughts and tips were written with cinematic videos in mind (as opposed to jam videos, trailers, and whatnot), but I’m sure it applies to some degree to all of them as well.
There is a huge difference between creating and exploring. The former consists of creating stuff, and the latter consists of finding new ways to do it. Doing both of these together is called ‘exploring mechanics’.
Exploring mechanics in cardistry is a really important philosophy when it comes to trying out things that you might not be able to visualize within your own comfort zone. By ‘comfort zone’ I’m referring to a deck of cards in the hands, because the majority of cardists limit the deck to just their hands when they create. It’s important to get out of your comfort zone, because doing so will allow you to discover different sides of the art.
So, it’s not about “thinking outside of the box”, but “forgetting about the goddamn box” altogether.
“The impact of criticism is often not the intent of the critic” – Ze Frank
Putting things on the internet scares me every time. It’s hard to put yourself out there, open to whoever decides to comment and voice their opinion. That’s why it’s important as a community that cardists provide a nice, pleasant place for people to share content they’ve created.
In addition to cardistry, I do have other things I do with my life. One of them was a research program where we were forced to consistently present to other members, and give feedback to the presenter. Currently I think the cardistry community could work on treating everyone with a degree of respect, even if the people on the receiving end of the criticism aren’t good at cardistry.
For a year now I had a lot of stuff to do outside of the frames of Cardistry. “Stuff” includes studying (school, online programming courses), training (jiu-jitsu mainly), girlfriend, friends, pets, and work around home (helping my family with random tasks). This takes an enormous amount of time. Unfortunately, because of this “stuff” I rarely have time to sit down in my room and just practice or create a new flourish like I used to.
I have a great passion for Cardistry and I can’t live a day without shuffling a pack of cards. Because of that, I have to find time for cards during the day. So the only times my hands are free for cards are when I am chilling outside with friends or my girlfriend. They don’t mind, even though I think I am annoying because often when I take the cards out of the box, I can’t put them back in. However, I found out that this isn’t half bad. You can still practice, experiment, create and have fun while doing it.
A few months ago, I was asked to write an article for WSLT? on any topic I felt passionately about. My mind immediately snapped to “Community”. However, in the months that followed I couldn’t figure out how to properly approach the topic. Everyone’s experiences and expectations of a Cardistry Community varied so vastly. In this article, I’m going to go over a little history, a little personal experience, and a little bit of wishful thinking for the future.
What is a community?
So, you’re a young kid who just watched the latest Zach Muller video and bought yourself a ton of Fontaine merchandise. You’ve filmed your first 15-second Instagram video of you struggling to do Franco Pascali’s Henrik Forberg’s Spencer Clark’s Zach Muller’s Franco Pascali’s Judo Flip and you want to get some recognition for your hard earned effort. But where do you go from here?
A lot of my attraction to cards has to do with the seemingly unlimited possibilities you get with such a limited object. What’s so fresh about the art of card flourishing is the aesthetics, the element of surprise, and the fact that it can be appreciated all over the world.
It feels as if we are in a bit of a revolution when it comes to the art. Believe me when I say there aren’t going to be as many basic moves created in 10 years as there are today. To me, being able to paint a part of the card flourishing history has been one of my drives to create cuts over the years.
Sometimes it feels like mining gold. But how do you separate the gold from the dirt?