They might not be walking around the halls pulling rabbits out of hats, but most NS students have seen junior Makade Talbot and senior William Cox with a deck of cards in their hands.
Magic has been an interest for both of them since they were young, but that interest is growing as they learn street magic for themselves.
“It was sort of a gradual thing,” Talbot said. “I can’t remember a moment when I just said I want to be a magician; I want to do magic…It’s just always been there.”
It was after Talbot started doing magic that he introduced Cox to it.
“When I was little I saw magicians, and it was always really cool,” Cox said. “Then when I started hanging out with Makade, he showed me a couple of tricks and magic was more interesting.”
Both share the same reason for choosing to practice street magic as opposed to stage shows or birthday magicians.
“[Street magicians] don’t know these people. They aren’t getting paid for it,” Talbot said. “They’re just doing it purely for entertainment’s sake, to take these people out of reality for a moment and just brighten their day. It’s completely unexpected. I wanted that connection with people.”
Talbot and Cox have plenty of reasons for enjoying magic. Talbot finds it a useful way to form connections with strangers.
“I love socializing with new people, and making new friends is probably one of my favorite things in the world,” Talbot said. “Magic has been a huge tool in doing that…I can connect with these people I never would have connected with because I have a deck of cards.”
Cox’s passion lies less in the social aspect and more in the fact that it’s magic.
“I like it because there’s always something unexpected,” Cox said. “There’s always something new, something magical.”
However, despite their love for it, neither plan on pursuing magic as a career
“I love to learn magic and I’m probably going to continue to learn magic for my entire life,” Cox said. “I don’t think I’ll even make it a business or become famous out of it because I would like to do more street magic and just be fun and entertaining and not have a high-stress life.”
Although both Talbot and Cox see magic as only a hobby, they still find meaningful connections through the rising magic community, both on and offline.
“For me, I stay connected online with people through Instagram and YouTube,” Talbot said. “Hopefully one day I’ll be able to move to a bigger city and there are conventions and people that will meet up regularly in restaurants just to get together and talk.”
With a growing community building around street magic, the opportunities for rising magicians is growing. Whether it be at magic conventions, street shows, or even competitions.
A rise in the popularity of a skill like magic leads to stiff competition and sometimes unfriendly feelings between those within the organization. However, according to Cox, this isn’t the case with the magic community.
“If you’re a magician, then you’re kind of in this other, elite group,” Cox said. “If you meet a magician then there’s this instant bond you have because you both feel the same way about this one thing. Most magicians are pretty close unless they get off on the wrong foot.”
This growing community has contributed to the rise in street magic’s opportunity and Talbot doesn’t think it’s just a passing fad.
“I mean, magic is just really taking off. I feel like this is a moment in history for magic,” Talbot said.
Along with the growing community, both magicians cite different sources of the sudden popularity.
“I think that’s why it’s taking off because people can learn it so easily, especially with street magic,” Talbot said. “There are all these different types of magic and people are making it their own and they’re not sticking with the norm. They’re thinking outside the box. I think it’s fantastic.”
Cox attributes the movement to a different source.
“It’s rising because it’s a skill, almost like a sport,” Cox said. “You practice it so you can get good and impress people with it.”
The movement is growing, whatever the reason. With the addition of platforms like Youtube and Instagram, it is easier for magicians to share their talents and inspire others to do the same. Many of these well recognized social media magicians have inspired both Talbot and Cox, like Chris Ramsey from California.
“No one else in the world will know who [Chris Ramsey] is unless you’re a magician,” Talbot said. “He was definitely an inspiration for me and he has a really cool beard like Albus Dumbledore, which is probably why he caught my attention.”
Talbot also finds inspiration in the Russian Genius as well as the famous magician and stunt performer, Harry Houdini. Cox’s influences had been similar with the addition of Criss Angel.
“Although I don’t admire a lot of his work, [Angel] has been a pretty big influence on my magic,” Cox said. “He has a reputation of staging audiences and doing magic just for the show instead of the fun.”
Both rising magicians find more meaning in street magic than in stage shows, which may contribute to Cox’s wariness of career magicians like Angel.
“Street magic is spontaneous,” Cox said. “A random person on the street could look like they’re having a bad day. Boom, magic could help cheer them up. A stage would be fun but people are expecting something.”