Illusionist extraordinaire Ilan Smith discusses his craft and reveals his most insane gig ever! Find out what The Black Eyed Peas had to do with it...
Do you believe in magic?
No, I don’t “believe” in magic but I know that it exists…(laughs). I'm not referring to what you think by the word magic. What I'm referring to is the wonderment created while watching magic - the childlike feeling that anything is possible - that’s real magic.
If you are referring to “black magic”, that does exist, but not anything we would have seen. Anything seen on TV or live performances now days is illusion and entertainment.
Who introduced you to the art of illusion?
As a kid I loved watching David Copperfield but when I was 14 years old I was fortunate to go to my first teacher, George Moss. He was a 80-year-old man with a phenomenal mind for magic and great sleight of hand. Sitting with him felt like I was sitting with a master.
What’s been the hardest trick to master to date?
I perform an act called Expert at the Card Table, which is a close up act specifically designed for card players. It is a 25 minute act and took many months to perfect. I think that full routine is technically the toughest thing I do.
How do you go about creating a trick?
Firstly, the method is not the main thing, it's the effectiveness of the effect and what feeling you can create in your spectators through telling this ‘story’ through this effect. The ideas generally come one of two ways: The first is where I look at a situation and think what would I love to see happen, what would be truly impossible. Secondly, it's just a spark of a thought that I get, and if I don’t work with it straight away it will be gone within minutes. Either way I will toy with the idea for a while and then create a method of how to accomplish that.
Is there a group of illusionists/magicians in SA who get together and bounce around ideas for tricks?
It is a rather small community but some of JHB’s top workers and minds in magic do get together every second Sunday.
How do you make sure your act remains current?
I research and tweak things all the time.
What zalebs have you worked with and who was your favourite?
I have been fortunate to work with and for quite a large number of zalebs over the last few years. From sporting stars, radio and TV stars and even a few Royals. The maddest was a private gig I did for the Black Eyed Peas and some friends - it was just a mad gig!
Does illusion impress the ladies?
Sure it does, how do you think I got my wife to say yes!
What do you have to say to people who don’t believe in magic?
Magic is not about the puzzle, it’s about the dream that anything is possible. You are right, magic does not exist… but allow yourself to wonder… it’s a wonderful thing.
Ilan Smith will perform at the official ZAlebs launch that's taking place tonight (14.03.13). Watch a preview clip of what guests can expect to see this evening...Click here!