Pipo Villanueva joins Jonah for episode 143 to discuss adding impact to your magic. Pipo is a magician from Spain who has performed at the Magic Castle and is known for performing impactful effects.
Pipo started fairly late in magic. In his mid-twenties, he became frustrated with music and changed course to pursue magic. He had always worked with his hands and needed a creative outlet that would allow him to explore the world. Magic became the art form he chose to pursue.
His interest in magic was the intellectual, puzzle solving side and coming up with ideas.
Living in Madrid, he had the opportunity to meet, arguably, some of the most skilled and knowledgeable close-up magicians who helped him grow.
From day one, magic was a career for him. Over time he would eventually grow more serious about magic as his connection to the community became deeper. It became a basic part of his life that helped him understand himself better.
Frustrations and Failures
Pipo explains how frustration and failure is a necessary part of the process. You have to accept that magic will highlight your worst qualities, and you will need to confront them if you want to improve. Simply ignoring the issues will result in you either stagnating or quitting magic altogether.
When Pipo was starting out, he would have conversations with magicians and see people perform, only to think to himself that he wasn’t going anywhere with what he was currently doing. It was in these moments, the ones where he failed or became frustrated with the art he was putting out, that he learned the most. These moments helped him find the way that was right for him.
An authentic connection with the audience is built when the artist does something that is meaningful to the performer and the audience, Pipo explains. People are interested in people; they want to see you, and you want them to leave with a sense of who you are after the show is over. You shouldn’t be trying to put together an act that is deliberately trying to touch the audience’s heartstrings as it will not be authentic. It may work at some level, but you won’t be establishing a real connection with the audience. Pipo goes on to say that, while you shouldn’t pander to your audience, you shouldn’t ignore them either.
Magic is not about having superpowers. It’s about celebrating the intelligence of the audience. You need to provide meaningful connections within your act so that the audience can create the effect. It is up to the performer to craft the psychological state of the spectator so they can fully experience your magic. The audience should be allowed to watch a four phase routine without knowing that the routine is going to have four phases; they should be able to experience the suspense while piecing together the puzzle.
Every effect you perform should be connected to a deeper idea that will resonate with the audience. However, this idea is implicit, not explicit, and is meant to bring meaning to what you’re performing. When crafting his material, Pipo believes the less information the better. If you throw out too much information, it becomes meaningless to the audience as you are pulling away from the point you are trying to communicate.
What do you love about 2018 magic? What do you hate about 2018 magic?
Pipo loves that Derek DelGaudio’s show, In & Of Itself, was able to happen.
Pipo dislikes the lack of good magic exposure. Most of the magic in media is built on manufacturing conditions and reactions. However, he believes in counter-attacking this with good material.
What was your favourite part of the episode?
Jonah liked the idea of being authentic in your magic and being conscious of the connection between the expression of the artist with the audience’s understanding of said expression.
Pipo highlights the idea that you’re doing something wrong if the audience doesn’t have a sense of who you are after your performance.
Word of Wisdom
Put the best of yourself in the magic you do. It’s relevant and makes a difference to put yourself in your magic.