Why does the Merchant of Magic Logo look like it does, and what does it mean?
The Merchant of Magic started in the 1990’s as an off shoot of a coin magic blog called The Coin Purse. The blog was quite successful and was publishing articles on the performance of coin magic tricks from magicians around the world. The blog didn’t expose any magic tricks secrets. The blog discussed ways to persuade more magicians to add a little coin magic into their practice routines. In an attempt to cover the hosting costs for the blog, Magician Dominic Reyes set up a small section on the site selling some of the more popular coin magic tricks and utilities.
As the shop section grew and news spread, Dominic became concerned that the commercial side of the site was dominating the magic blog and detracting from its goals. Dominic decided to split the magic shop into a sister company and give it an independent website. He created The Merchant of Magic as a holding company for all the different magic sites he was planning. The ides being that each would have their own name and branding, but each was to retain the Merchant of Magic logo.
What the Merchant of Magic logo means.
A performer in an ‘applause cue’ stance – The idea was to suggest that magic isn’t really about the props and magic tricks magicians use. It’s about the magician that uses them. Good magic comes from entertaining people and giving them a few moments of diversion. The magician aims to create a personal relationship with the audience, if only for a short time.
The goal of good magic is to entertain and create wonder, make the audience think, challenge their knowledge and beliefs about the world, and perhaps even make people believe in magic again. How do we judge our success? Through the reactions of our audience. The applause cue represents successful performance of magic.
The cups and balls – Three cups with a little red ball on the top. The cups and balls magic trick is a classic of magic. Magic tricks using the cups and balls are regarded as a fundamental device that teaches everything a performer needs to know to become a magician. Suggesting a set of cups and balls was an attempt to communicate that magicians need to focus on developing full knowledge of technique. We see the cups and balls as a symbol of every spectrum of magic art as apposed to a niche inside a niche.
THE MAGIC SHOP NAME.
Dominic Reyes was drawn to the MERCHANT OF VENICE by Williams Shakespeare. The play is a great insight into the society, culture, mind set, and hopes of the Elizabethan era. Let’s look at some of the core themes in the play:
Money – The core issue in the entire play is money. Antonio, the merchant is worried about his business and the fact that all his finances have been invested in his trade, and some of his investments have not yet borne fruit. As magicians, we need to invest a great deal of time to perfect our skills. Over many years, we work on our act, develop our knowledge and test out our magic tricks. We start as a hobby, and can’t expect to sustain ourselves through our magic right from the start. Some people attempt to buy their way into becoming a magician, but without the effort and commitment, they end up more like collectors of magic tricks that professional performers. To be truly successful, magicians need to put aside thoughts of their financial investment. The core motivation for success needs to be driven by the urge to learn and perfect their skills. Business can develop out of that, and many magicians can earn a substantial income from being an entertainer, but that shouldn’t be your main objective at the beginning.
Bassanio, Antonio’s best friend has spent all his own money and borrows from Antonio to keep his lifestyle. Bassanio intends to marry a rich heiress to escape his debts. As magicians, it’s quite possible to create a commercial show just from other magicians material. We take previously constructed magic tricks and string them together to create a show. In a way, this is like using a rich heiress to escape our own limitations. It’s doomed to fail because nothing extra has been added. Magicians should use the knowledge of others. They should learn what has worked and what hasn’t from the past, and build an act with professional tested magic tricks. However, they must add their own authentic work to the process. A magician that simply clones others will only ever be second best. The key is to stand on the shoulders of other magicians, and then reach into new areas, creating something new and different about everything performed. By adding value, they then become the shoulders for other magicians to climb further.
Religion – During the 17th Century, there was a great deal of religious belief. Shakespeare used the treatment of the Jews as symbolism for the sectarian issues at that time between Protestants and Catholics. In magic, we have our own sectarianism. Self working magic tricks Vs Sleight of hand. There is much discussion amongst magicians about which is better. Just like in religion, both are two sides of the same coin, but the devil is in the detail and it’s very easy to focus on the argument, rather than the goal. Magicians can get side tracked into focusing on the mechanics of their art, at the cost of developing the most important part: The entertainment their magic tricks produce.
Prejudice – Antonio and Shylock meet in a market. Antonio refers to Shylock as a ‘cut throat dog’. Antonio even spits on Shylock. However, Antonio still signs a bond against a loan for him.
Magicians are often the last part of an event to be planned. Magicians get bolted on as a last minute extra. However, as all performing magicians know, they can be the most memorable part of the evenings entertainment for the guests. In our marketing, we need to communicate this to our clients. We need to destroy the old pre-conceptions of magic. Close up magicians perform to many new micro audiences several times per show. Each time they need to establish their worth, and win over the spectators as quickly as possible. Each performance should challenge the old stereotype of magic and create a new definition of what magic can give people. Despite this challenge, people are still drawn to magic because it fills a primal urge to experience the wonder. Our spectators WANT their previous beliefs to be challenged and defeated. Fighting peoples misconceptions of modern magic happens one magic trick at a time.
A pound of flesh – Order all the magic tricks in the shop, every magic book and DVD, we will happily sell it to you. It won’t make you a famous or talented magician. If it did, every magic shop employee would be a star of magic. The props, training guides, courses and magic tricks are not the whole story. You need a pound of flesh, you need a part of yourself. The equipment is not the magician, you are. It’s you reflected to the audience, through magic tricks that create the magic and the entertainment. Magic shops can’t post commitment, hard work and effort to you in the mail.
You are a Merchant of Magic.
Professional magicians perform magic for money. They make a living by showing people magic tricks. Their product is the performance of skilled magic to entertain. As such, every one of the magicians that use The Merchant of Magic is also a merchant. Hobbyist magicians are also merchants of magic. The magician who performs for free is still selling something. They are trading their time, effort and skills for the attention of others. Their product is the same as the professional magicians, but the fee is applause. By selling the performance of magic tricks to the public, we overturn common misconceptions and make our audiences remember a time, often when they were children, when the world was still full of mysteries, and it was OK to believe.
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