Carter MacDiarmid: Cardistry and Self-Expression

This week we sit down with Carter MacDiarmid and talk about Cardistry, The Fontaine Trials, dance, music and self-expression. Beautifully illustrated by Mike.

Q: Every Carter move makes me feel enchanted; my eyes are trapped and moved together with each packet and motion. This style of yours is very unique and has definitely been developing and evolving with every video since 2013. What drew you to perform the way you do? What was the work ethic that went behind the scenes and brought you closer and closer to a more refined style that defines you?

I think the largest contributing factor to the way I interpret movement was thanks to my involvement with the dance community. Long before my interest in cards, if not at least adjacent to the time my interest began, I was in a studio learning 8-counts, going to conventions and competing, until I quit around age 13. While I dipped my toes into many different styles of dance in that timeline, my favorites were and always will be jazz and hip-hop.

This not only sparked my interest in the music of those genres, but also my journey of learning how to interpret the feelings music gave me into the visual arts as a whole. As I was falling more out of dance and more into Cardistry, I would still constantly find songs that I loved and make my own choreography for them. That was what I would’ve considered my rawest form of self-expression at the time, so I knew that I was always actively seeking a way to do that with Cardistry next.


How to Be a More Consistent Cardist

Editor’s note: My good friend Yang from Vietnam is known for his prowess in making uncut Cardistry videos and doing live Cardistry performances, and today he shares several tips that will help you improve your skills in both real life and in front of the camera. If you haven’t seen him in action yet, do check this video out, as it’s my favorite one-shot routine of his.

Why consistency?

Being able to perform a move consistently benefits you in many ways:

  • You save time filming videos.
  • You can share the move with other Cardists more conveniently (imagine a friend still waiting for you to nail the move after the 67th attempt!)
  • You can also confidently share it with laypeople, which helps spread Cardistry and the joy to others.


I don’t have a standard job, by any means. These days I eke out a living by conceiving of playing cards, printing them, and then creating videos with those cards that serve as commercials that’ll entice people to buy them.

As such, the structure of my days are pretty much up in the air. Those of you who know me or have followed this blog will know that I’m a big reader, and that usually comprises a good chunk of how I choose to spend my hours. But as reading is quite a passive pastime, what is it that I do proactively to make the most of my time?


Touching Base with Cardistry Touch

Artwork by Deleonij

This week we sit down with Cardistry Touch’s Dimitri and Ladislas to get some insight into the way they think and operate Cardistry Touch. Their projects have shifted the very essence of the Cardistry World and have influenced a new wave of playing cards designed purely for Cardistry.

So, grab your deck, play some lo-fi in the background and let’s get this poppin!


Look No Further

“It’s one of my theories that when people give you advice, they’re really just talking to themselves in the past.”

Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist

A year and a half ago, I found myself giving a presentation in Mexico on the subject of creativity within Cardistry. There was an accompanying slideshow of course (Cardistry is a visual art form, after all), and one of the slides read:

“You already have everything that you need.”

A year and a half later, I now find myself at the receiving end of that very same advice.


What Dan & Dave Taught Me

Today marks the 36th year since the world gifted us with the legendary Buck Twins, two outstanding twin brothers whose legacy would both form and change the world of playing card flourishes forever.

Found this hanging up in the bathroom at Art of Play

5 Books Every Cardist Should Read

This quarantine has given me ample time to indulge in one of my favorite pastimes: reading.

There’s something about staring at numerous, carefully arranged ink blots on sliced trees and morphing them into ideas in your head that’s still magical to me. Even better when they’re ideas that you can use and apply directly to your own discipline, i.e. Cardistry.

As an avid reader, I often get asked for book recommendations. Usually I first ask the person what kind of material they’re looking for, and examples of what they’ve enjoyed in the past, so that I can make a suggestion that’s tailored for that specific individual. But since I can’t poll every single one of you on your particular tastes, I figured I’d write a catch-all article listing 5 books that have influenced me the most as a Cardist.

I hope they can do the same for you.


The Gift of a Feeling

“An entertainer wants to give you exactly what you want… And an artist wants to give you what you don’t know you want.”

– David Cronenberg

This week, I’d like to tell you about my favorite commercial of all time.


Behind the Scenes with Cardistry Jam Video Pioneer Allan Hagen

Allan Hagen, cardistry jam-video pioneer

Today we sit down with Allan Hagen, Cardistry jam-video pioneer to discuss the ins and outs of filming Cardistry. He is the man behind videos such as Spring Jam 2010, We Shuffle Like That and many more!



It was sometime around Anaconda: The World’s Longest Dribble that I began to lose interest in Cardistry.

I didn’t fully quit; after all, I was still with The Virts at the time, and rigorous practice was still part of my daily regimen to ensure that I’d always have my chops ready whenever we were set to record our next videos.

But whereas I used to look forward to checking out new videos and staying up-to-date on what went on in the forums that were available, I found myself tuning out from those resources for a couple of reasons.