Cardistry, The Art of Card Flourishing

기사승인 2020.09.30  08:14:14   조회수 126


Cardistry is a portmanteau of “card” and “artistry.” Contrary to card magic, cardistry is more focused on flow, continuity, and the visual impression created from the flourish (an arrangement of cards). Jerry Cestkowski claims in his Encyclopedia of Card Flourishes that “a card trick is a magical effect; a flourish... are visually-interesting displays of dexterity.” Since 2003, magicians Dan and Dave Buck have significantly contributed in solidifying the boundaries between card magic and cardistry, which has only recently become popular, and widening its popularity. 

Cardistry is quite popular around the world, with a video on Youtube named “Art of Cardistry” regularly gaining seven million views. In addition, since 2015, the world-famous cardistry brands Cardistry Touch and Art of Play have sponsored a global conference (Cardistry-Con) centered on cardistry. One reason for this popularity is the quality of the playing cards. Other internationally recognized cardistry brands include USPCC, Anyone Worldwide, dealersgrip, and Virtuoso.

There are five main types of cardistry moves: one-handed cut, two-handed cut, aerial, isolation, and twirl. One-handed cuts require one hand to be performed, with two-handed cuts requiring two hands. Aerials involve cards or packets being thrown or shot in the air, and isolations and twirls are one-card moves. 

[Phobos Deimos, an isolation created by Noel Heath.
Photo Credit: Heejung Lee]

I first came across cardistry last October when I watched a Youtube compilation of cardists from around the world. I was inspired and astonished by the limitless potential of card manipulation. A few days later, I bought my first deck of cards. Being a complete neophyte to cardistry, I did not know what move to learn first. In the first few weeks, I just learned the moves that I was actually able to do by searching Youtube for cardistry tutorials for beginners. The first card flourish that I learned was the Sybil Cut. I showed it to my friends, but they were not impressed by its lack of flair. I later gained more experience by learning more moves.

In my early days of getting into cardistry, I met a junior at my school, Kevin Chen, who was also a cardist. We decided last year to create a club for cardistry and magic, and now that the new school year has begun, the club has been finally created. The name of the club is “Art of Play,” inspired from the brand. I am excited, and hopefully a lot of students will be interested to join. 

One day, I realized that learning moves created by world-famous cardists is definitely fun. However, I wanted to also contribute more to the cardistry community by creating at least one move of my own, no matter how difficult. After struggling for days, watching and finding inspirations from other cardists, I finally invented an original move: the “Hachi.” Although my move is a bit simpler than ones that I have previously learned, frankly, I’m very proud of the results. 

[Spin Doctor by Nikolaj Honoré, Photo credit: Heejung Lee]

Almost one year has passed since I began cardistry, since which I have come a long way, and I am quite proud of what I have experienced. I have found something that improves my dexterity, relieves my stress while also being something that I can present to others with enough practice. I am going to continue practicing cardistry for many years in the future. It is and will always be my go-to hobby to do whenever I am bored.


Justin An
Grade 10 (Sophomore)
Mercersburg Academy

Justin An

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