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On Why Illusions are Expensive: The Artist, the Engineer & the Illusioneer

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From a note posted elsewhere, I thought these were strong and sound words so I thought I should share it with you.

I can speak from experience because I've seen terrible builders and amazing builders. I've seen why. And why not. First off I think the topic is brilliant. Its something I feel is important to be asked (from individuals who are not seasoned professionals) This is information every magician or illusionist needs to know and contemplate, as artists and professionals honing their craft.



I've found a few things with an artistic fabrication of sorts.  Whether you are a boat maker, car maker, or a home builder, you  are an artist. You either have it or you don't.  Each artist usually studies their art for years and years. Honed and perfect. This particular kind of fabrication takes the skill of an artist and ingenuity as an engineer. These are two things that are hard to perfect or accomplish. Some builders have this . Others do not. (some THINK they do - but do not) 

So, if you have a renowned artist and engineer who's taken all their life and honed their art for the very thing you are seeking, why in the world would you seek a mediocre artist (or no artist at all), a builder who has no vision or understanding or passion for the art you love.  The answer is probably just to save money, but the end product would be just as soulless as the art that went into the project. 

To me, it's easy to spot the masters from the masterless. They are true artists and brilliant engineers who have worked most or all of their lives to hone their craft.   If you were a pilot and had the means, you would  buy a state of the art aircraft. But a prude business man, needs to save some money. What would you do?

Would you go and get a ship builder to collaborate with a consultant who designs planes. Or would you 
go to the plane builder, someone who has studied their art, their craft so much that they could do it in their sleep? Something that WORKS - is tried and true - is engineered by a consummate professional, 
and built by the best hands and knowledge in the industry.

Or would you rather risk your career for someone who is a great builder, who can read blueprints but DOES NOT understand the ART and the rest that goes into a LIFE of study in honing their individual crafts. 

Doctors work a good part of their lives in order just to practice medicine. If you were on your death bed, would you go to the local free clinic and hope some schooling newbie will save your life to save some money? Or would you rather go with someone who is QUALIFIED to do the job you wish them to. 

Magic and illusion fabrication is an art. And like art, its value is more than that of something that has no soul.  No real purpose. A shell. A copy. We see this all the time with "builders" (especially overseas - but here in the states as well.) There will ALWAYS be folks who WANT to be an artist who never will be. Those who WANT to be engineers who never will be. Folks that think shortcuts and penny savers will get them to the place where REAL artists have worked their lives for.

 

 

Well there are no shortcuts in this business there are no black and whites. Either you have it or you don't. Those who do, and there are only a handful, know it from the sheer volume of business they incur. Johnny Gauhan is an artist, a connoisseur of history and of all things mechanical. He's worked his life to learn history to apply to his art, and take it beyond with modern and historical illusions.

The artist and engineer. The illusioneer. 

You are paying for a life of artistic direction, and design, knowledge and study. While also paying for precision engineering and fabrication. Its expensive. Yes.  But would you not like to invest in a work of art, that YOU can use to accentuate your art on stage? Or would you rather have a soulless, poorly manufactured facsimile. The art of illusion is an art. Either you've got it or you don't. 

If you are an artist, this should not be hard to understand. If your not, I truly wish you are happy with your soulless fabrications. Where you cut costs, relied on incompetent and art thirsty individuals. It will show.  And bleed through and permeate your performance, and your show and art will suffer. 

Why be mediocre when you can blaze your own trail, using the best minds and hands in the industry. If your not ready financially. YOU ARE NOT READY YET. 

This is just my two cents, I truly hope this makes some sense and helps you on your journey. Good luck.

 

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Author of this article: Ryan C. Reed

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Comments  

 
0 #3 Ryan 2010-06-07 08:37
To get the context of this subject you can read from the original post posted here.

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=334740&forum=7

For those who read this here first: I realize that if taken out of context can appear negative, it was originally being written in response to an individual whom was not getting the picture on the Magic Cafe. Was written for someone whom was not in the know, and was unfamiliar with large stage illusion or working with headline builders. This was written to be clear on why individuals should work with a professional builder as opposed to one claiming to be or someone who is doing knock off effects .. Hope this clears up intent. It was written to help and inspire not to be negative or hinder.

Cheers.


Ryan C. Reed
 
 
0 #2 Ryan 2010-06-07 08:33
For those who read this: I realize that if taken out of context can appear negative, it was originally being written in response to an individual whom was not getting the picture on the Magic Cafe. Was written for someone whom was not in the know, and was unfamiliar with large stage illusion or working with headline builders. This was written to be clear on why individuals should work with a professional builder as opposed to one claiming to be or someone who is doing knock off effects .. Hope this clears up intent.

Cheers.


Ryan C. Reed
 
 
0 #1 Eric Appel 2010-02-04 00:49
while some of your points are valid, the way in which they are expressed is in a totally negitive way.

I agree that presenting Grand Illusions is an ART. MAGIC is an ART. it should always be presented in the best possible way.

With that said, I have seen presentations made with illusions made of cardboard and duct tape that were better presentations than some that cost thousands of dollars.

Like you said, " Either you've got it or you don't" That applys to all Magic. The MAGIC happens not with the prop, and not even on the stage. MAGIC happens in the audience's mind.

To see all of the cookie cutter illusionists with all of their dancing girls is NOT ART.

Now take those same illusions, redesign them and wrap them up in a story, like John Bundy and Margan have done with their "Spooktacular" show, and YOU HAVE ART & THEATER!

Just my opinion.
 
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