Who is Steve Brooks? Steve Brooks can best be described as a man who wears many hats, and has a wide range of interests. He makes his living from various sources, including the running of The Magic Cafe, which is arguably the most well-known and highly populated forum for magicians on the internet. Besides that, he's active as a magician performing private shows and restaurant magic, and doing graphic art design work for various projects including the designing of playing cards. He's previously also been involved in creating and publishing his own magic effects, and producing, directing and marketing DVDs for the magic community. In addition to his own artist background, he has a passion for all the arts, including music (playing multiple instruments in various bands) film, and also for history, specifically the American Civil War and WWII. He's also a real thinker an philosopher, who has a lot to say on many subjects, with genuinely thoughtful reflections. With his breadth of knowledge and a wide range of interests, particularly given his background in art and magic, Steve is well placed to have some real insights on the aesthetics of playing cards. He's even writing several books currently, including a couple on magic theory, as well as a huge historical project about the famous Escape Map deck from World War II. As it turns out, Steve is a very serious and dedicated collector of playing cards. How serious, you ask? Well, right now he owns more than 26,000 decks! Anybody that has a collection so large it would take a truck to begin moving it has some serious credibility as a collector! Steve is also very active in the 52 Plus Joker Club, the prestigious American Playing Card Collectors Club. Steve kindly agreed to being interviewed about magic and about playing cards, and I'm happy to report that he was not only generous with his time and with the amount of his words, but he's shared some wonderful stories and reflections about both playing cards and magic. There's a great deal we can learn from his passion and experience. So without further ado, here's Steve Brooks! Interview on Playing Cards For those who don't know anything about you, what can you tell us about yourself and your background? Well, like my mom used to say, I'm a man of many hats. I have a lot of interests and I've learned how to do a lot of different things. My biggest fear was becoming a Jack of all trades, master of none. So I had to focus on just a few things. Most people probably know I'm into magic, and I run The Magic Café forum. I've been drawing and doing art all my life, e.g. painting and illustrating. I grew up drawing, and I worked in a print shop for like four or five years. So I ran Lionel types, learned how to set type and ran Windmill Heidelbergs, and Kluges and Offset presses. And so I learned all about printing, which went along with my graphic art. I still do art. As I got further in magic, I got into different playing cards. Playing cards fascinated me for just a number of reasons, not just magic purposes, but also because of the art. I was fascinated with the different types of designs and how they were printed. So I got into that, figured out how they printed cards and all the technologies that go with that. And I've always loved music. So I got in the band when I was in school and I played the trumpet for around four years even though I hated the trumpet. Eventually, I got a guitar and taught myself how to play. And then I started playing keyboards and drums. When I got older, I played in numerous bands, country bands, rock and roll bands, jazz bands. I've done that most of my life. Because of problems with my hands on the advice of my doctor I had to quit drumming. That said, I still play guitar from time to time, just to amuse myself. I enjoy writing and creating. I'm a history buff, and the American Civil War fascinates me, and World War II as well. I collect hourglasses - I've got tons of them. I'm also a science fiction buff, so I'm a geek.