Today’s dose of magical voyeurism is the latest installment of the Card Gear column from Kardify. The feature profiles some playing card professional from around the world and asks them what tools and gadgets comprise their daily work kit.
The feature’s subject for the month of April is Sherman Tsao. He’s the founder of Carat Case Creations, a company specializing in storing and displaying card collections. He currently lives in Shanghai, China and is still an avid playing card obsessive.
On the mobile side, Tsao is packing an iPad Pro 9.7 inch and an iPhone 5S. But not all of his creative work happens digitally; he’s also got a notepad of graph paper and a few swank-looking writing utensils in his daily kit.
Right now, he’s also carrying two decks: the Gold Monarch Planks by Ben Kolozsi and the Draconian Spitfire deck. “The Draconian backs are so mesmerizing and has been one of my favorites ever since I started collecting,” he told Kardify. The Alstad Goods wallet from Dan & Dave that’s holding the other deck looks pretty mesmerizing in its own leather-bound way.
Finally, for a touch of the piratical, Tsao has Chris Odvijenko’s Davey Jones’ Locker Hobo Coin. “This has replaced Chris’ Morgan Dollar Hobo Coin as my favorite fiddle coin,” he said.
Read the whole column here.
The February installment of Kardify’s Card Gear column is out, and this time the subject is Jackson Robinson. He’s the founder of the Kings Wild Project as well as the brains behind some popular deck designs such as Federal 52, Tally-Ho, and Silver Arrows. Here, he shares the gear that he uses every day in his work.
It’s a far cry from some of the other pros profiled in this column. Robinson has included just one deck — a Vladislav Erko design — and only one product from his own company — a Kings Wild Zippo with the quote “That which never was, was now the first.” The rest is simple and spiritual: a pipe, a knife, a journal and pencil, and a 1880 New Testament Bible.
Kickstarter is responsible for a good number of slick-looking decks of playing cards. Nejc Sušec of Slovenia recently hit his funding goal the Shodou deck, a cardistry set inspired by Japanese calligraphy. He spoke with Kardify about the concept, community, and how cardistry has changed his life.
Originally, he had designed Shodou just for himself as a custom deck. But after getting some interest and support from social channels, he decided to go bigger. “It is truly humbling when someone expresses interest in an idea you made out of passion, so when people showed interest in my cards, I felt I needed to repay that support,” he said. “So I decided to put in the work and time to make the deck available to all of those people.”
The cards are entirely in Japanese, and the different suits are represented by the characters for earth (spades), water (hearts), wind (clubs), and fire (diamonds). The artistic choice opens up options for cool effects from both sides of the cards. And considering Sušec is partial to fan tricks, it’s no surprise that the Shodou deck looks pretty sweet when used for those moves.
“I am not a very sociable person (not the best characteristic for social media, I know) and cardistry has changed that drastically,” he said. “Talking about it and sharing ideas enabled me to make new friends and I’m truly grateful I found my passion in such a cool thing as cardistry!”
Kardify is a great resource for anyone keeping tabs on playing cards, from the latest Kickstarter projects to interviews with burgeoning designers. One of my favorite features on the site is the monthly Card Gear column, which looks at all the tech, tools, and toys that a person from the industry uses for their daily work.
The January installment highlights Adam Borderline, a UK photographer whose smashing shots of playing cards are already an Instagram hit. (Seriously, go dig on the #fluidcards images.) His gear collection should be of particular interest to those of you working to film and capture your own work. Borderline keeps things steady with a Joby Tripod, and carries a bunch of lens options. He uses a Variable ND filter for long exposures, a Canon 85mm 1.2L USM Lens for portraiture, and a Canon 35mm 2.8 Macro Lens for the card photography. Finally, he’s got two decks on hand at all times: Black edition Cherries by Pure Imagination and Gold Monarchs from Theory 11.
Last month, the article’s subject was Vivek Singhi of Magic Encarta.
Kardify usually has the inside scoop on what’s what in the playing card world. Last week, site founder Ivan Choe took stock of all the deck releases of the past year and assembled his picks for the top 12 decks of 2017. If you feel the need to treat yourself to a little new year’s present, look no further than these eye-catching creations.
My personal favorite is the Golden Oath deck by Lotrek. It is a lush, foil-laden beauty that took away the Deck of the Year prize from the 52 Cards Plus Joker convention in October. But if you aren’t as dazzled by the shiny things, the painstaking illustrations of the Winterberry deck or the intricate Drifters deck might be more your style. And for the cardistry fans, Cardistry Touch Origin is Kardify’s top choice. The deck also picked up deck of the year honors at Cardistry-Con 2017 in Los Angeles (and it features prominently in this gorgeous video of the event by Kuma Films).
Magic and math have some shared lineage, so it makes sense that a new desk design honors that connection. Fibs from the Las Vegas Cardistry Co. has already surpassed its Kickstarter goal for a limited edition print of a deck inspired by the Fibonacci Sequence. Kardify caught up with company head Ryan Cossey for a brief interview.
In addition to sharing how his fascination with the patterns and rules of mathematics provided inspiration for the Fibs design, Cossey shared his insights about the importance of social media in the cardistry community:
Social media has definitely been the bloodline of Cardistry. The ability to instantly share, collaborate, and interact with the community is a necessity for a growing art form, especially one like Cardistry. Not many Cardists are local enough to each other for meet-ups, and Cardistry is best presented in short clips, so naturally, Instagram takes the foreground.
Nothing delights our inner voyeurs quite so much as learning about other people’s possessions. Maybe it’s taking a look inside musicians’ studios, or celebrities’ fridges, or tech geniuses’ offices. Whatever variant you prefer, there’s something endlessly intriguing in getting that peek into a skilled professional’s bag of tricks.
Every month, Kardify literally does look into someone’s bag of tricks. The site’s monthly Card Gear feature asks some magic or card pro to reveal the tools they turn to every day. This month’s edition focuses on Vivek Singhi of Mumbai. Singhi is a cardistry and magic pro who created the popular Magic Encarta Instagram account. His go-tos include a journal with a nod to the classic Erdnase text, as well as some sleek-looking decks. Take a look.