Tricks by Michael James
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Michael James was first introduced to card magic at the age of thirteen. After attending his first convention a year later, he knew he would be committed longterm to the art of card manipulation. Combined with his passion for film, Michael is devoted to create a cardistry experience that transcends the mere exhibition of cuts and fans, and communicates a story to the viewer.
Michael James resides in Dallas, Texas and is currently studying film at the University of North Texas. In March of 2011, he was selected by theory11 to be one of a select few artists featured in official videos promoting Bicycle® playing cards (watch here!). He is currently working with theory11 on his debut cardistry DVD project entitled 'Solo.'
Q&A with Michael James
What got you into Cardistry?
Back before I was a flourisher, I did card magic. I would spend most weekends hanging out at a magic shop owned by magician Diamond Jim Tyler. One day, one of the employees of the shop mentioned a set of twins who were extremely skilled in the art of card flourishing. He told me about a dvd they had recently released (The System) and recommended that I check it out. I went straight home and explored their website. After watching a trailer entitled 'Spring Jam', I was sold. I bought their dvd and have been flourishing ever since.
When did you start creating - not just performing - card flourishes?
The first card flourish I ever created was called 'Ekklesia' back in 2008. The funny thing is that I have a very difficult time consciously creating new flourishes. New ideas tend to spring on me when I least expect it.
How long do you practice each day?
This is a question that people ask me all the time and it's difficult to answer. When I first started flourishing, I practiced literally six to eight hours every day. Nowadays I find myself practicing about two hours during the day and two hours in my sleep. Yes, I flourish in my sleep. (kidding)
What advice would you give to those who are just starting cardistry?
Learn the basics, but at the same time learn complex cuts. Odds are you got into flourishing because you want to learn fast two handed cuts, not Charliers or fans. Yes learn the basics, but also devote time toward the cuts you really want to learn. If you waste weeks of practice learning only the basics, you'll get burned out of cardistry before you get to enjoy the satisfaction of conquering the complex flourishes.
What's next? What vision do you see for the future of cardistry?
Cardistry is heavily influenced by magicians. In a way this makes cardistry somewhat subordinate to magic. I can't wait to see it become completely independent of the magic scene. I would love to see cardistry influenced by art, fashion, and culture, rather than by magic.
You were one of a select few artists selected to appear in videos promoting Bicycle playing cards by theory11. What is your deck of choice to use when practicing and performing?
I like using Streamlines (US version) for practice. They're cheap and good for cuts. My favorite deck for performing would have to be either Fan Backs or Absolut playing cards.
What can we expect to see in your debut project SOLO later this year?
A rap video by Andrei Jikh and myself of course! Seriously though, if you feel like you're getting apathetic with cardistry, this project is going to regenerate your passion and creativity for the art.