For episode 128, we are excited to have Ed Kwon on the show—a close-up magician who draws inspiration from the classics. He has performed at the Magic Castle, and at Obie’s FFFF convention multiple times.
At the age of seven, Ed was inspired to learn the art of magic after seeing David Copperfield perform. Due to the lack of magic books in Korea, Ed taught himself English in order to read magic books.
Due to Korea’s small magic scene, it was difficult to find a platform to perform. When Ed became serious about magic after discovering a book by Ed Marlo, he became frustrated that he was learning faster than he could perform for people. Ed took to the streets with a table to perform for passersby. He recounts a time where he spent eight hours performing card magic without repeating a trick.
His time spent busking allowed him to make sleights others deemed impractical work by learning how to manage them for an audience. Ed believes that he never went towards commercial magic because he learned how to make theoretical techniques work in the real world. He also learned how to not only perform sleights but how to capture an audience’s attention.
Influenced by classic magicians, Ed draws on the likes of Dai Vernon, Jean Hugard, Roberto Giobbi’s Card College, Alex Elmsley and Tommy Wonder. He appreciates their attention to detail, and how they didn’t publish for recognition but to innovate the field of magic.
Ed finds the history behind a trick fascinating because he can feel the passion and excitement the creator had when making the effect. While modern books may be able to teach a trick better, he feels that sitting down with the original source material can allow you to understand why the author created the effect the way they did.
Quoting Slydini, Ed emphasizes that you cannot expect your audience to believe what you do if you yourself do not believe. You have to be sincere with your audience in a theatrical sense to build an air of realism. To make your magic more subtle, you have to take away things that aren’t necessary and leave the essence of the trick. He goes on to say how magicians can neglect the power magic has to move and affect an audience.
What do you want to tell our audience?
Love your art. Magic is an art and a craft. It has the ability to send out meaningful messages. For it to be an art, it has to say something about you.
What do you want to ask the audience?
What is something that I, Ed Kwon, can bring to the table? What can I do for you? What can I do for the community? I’d be interested in learning how I can provide the same help and care my mentors gave me.
What do you like about magic right now? What do you hate?
Going back to the second volume of Tarbell, he talks about magic giving the student whatever they need if they’re a passionate and sincere student. Magic has given me everything I need.
I want to see more originality in magic; I want people to see you when you perform. We don’t need a new method or plot or joke. If someone saw you or heard you, you want them to recognize the performance as you.
What was your favourite part of the episode?
Jonah liked the story of Elmsley and Marlo as it captured his feelings about magic.
Tyler liked Ed’s story about performing magic at a table for eight hours straight.
Ed liked the idea of listening to your inner muses as a way to discover your own taste and style.
If you want to discover more about the books and authors referenced in the episode, check out Denis Behr’s Conjuring Archive.
If you’re a fan of classic performers like Marlo or Vernon, or you just want to reach out, Ed Kwon would love to hear from you!