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brb

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.

For one, if I watched a video that was sub-par, it just lowered my opinion of the current state of Cardistry, which was depressing. But on the other hand, if I saw a video with killer moves and incredible production, it made me feel jealous and incompetent for not matching up to that standard, which was equally depressing. And on the forum end of things, with custom decks starting to come out everywhere, I found that online discussions in the community began to focus more on decks than actual Cardistry, and so I stopped reading and contributing to them like I used to.

It wasn’t until I saw Andrew Avila’s segments of the 2013-2014 WKC compilation that my passion for Cardistry was re-ignited and I was inspired to enter back into the game.

When I look back at my half-decade hiatus between 2009-2014, I realize that the time I took off from Cardistry was spent on other pursuits that enriched me as an artist. I got to read what would become some of my favorite novels, which heavily influenced my writing and way of thinking. I was able to scour for new music, much of which would go on to comprise the soundtracks of future Virtuoso videos. And I also got into Origami, which expanded my worldview of what was possible with paper, something that has undoubtedly left its mark on my approach to Cardistry.

I get a lot of people asking me about ‘burnout’ sometimes, and what they should do about it. My response to them is that they should just take a break from Cardistry: put down their deck, step away from YouTube and Instagram, and just explore the world with fresh eyes. I tell them not to worry about when the Cardistry bug will bite them again. If it’s really meant to be, then they’ll just naturally come back to it eventually. Over the years, I’ve seen several of my close friends in Cardistry go through the same process: losing interest, taking time off, and then inevitably coming back to the art several months or weeks later with a new flame ignited in their soul.

The upside, you see, is that even when you’re not developing your own Cardistry, you still have the rest of the community – thousands upon thousands of hobbyists – working their very hardest every day at coming up with new moves and pushing the boundaries in this open-source art form we all share.

So if you’re feeling that Cardistry just isn’t inspiring you any more, that’s totally okay. It happens to the best of us. Take some time off, look for inspiration elsewhere, and I promise that somewhere down the line, you’ll be reminded of why you took this up in the first place.

5 replies on “brb”

Wholeheartedly agree with this message and pass it along when I can. I’ve gone through the same “falling out” a few times since starting cardistry/magic in ’07/’08.
The first time was around 2010. This was my junior year of high school, which required heightened effort on my part, I also started developing real life friendships and got more socially engaged. This was also when my cardistry world/the two big forums (Handlordz and Decknique) shut down. I didn’t expect the artform to survive much longer and I faded away. Somehow, I got drawn back into cardistry at the very end of 2012 and saw that the community did survive! I came back to the best Aviv, Spencer, Dimitri, and D4i videos, which reignited my interest. I started developing material with a fresher slate and placed 2nd in the WKC in 2014.
The second time was in 2016. This was the year of the Berlin Cardistry Con. I stayed more plugged in to the goings on of the art and even had the opportunity to do a few collaborative projects, but my focus and drive to create started to wane. During this time however, I made numerous friendships in the community, including, but not limited to, Sean, Chase, Kevin, Kyle, Lars, and Trevor— the latter of who really resparked my interest. I compiled various items I’d stockpiled through my cardistry career and got to the semi-finals of The Fontaine Trials.
Currently I feel like I’m taking another small step back. Since starting cardistry, I’ve learned to allow myself to shift focus away. I realized that forcing myself to engage and create has never worked out, but taking time off (be it for a few days, weeks, or years) has always produced the fruit of a new mindset and appreciation for the cards.

Having formerly been part of a collective known for its ‘time off’ for extended periods, I’d say that sometimes these long breaks are crucial in allowing for more nuanced, detailed, and lateral content to be produced. Just like how there’s a significant difference between the time it takes to produce a short film versus a feature, in the Cardistry community I believe that taking some time away from cards to ‘recharge’ one’s creative juices can be vital when it comes to percolating more quality content in the long run. Virtuoso’s recent return and the hype surrounding it was one of the inspirations for writing this post, and in reading their emails and your comment, it’s interesting that you both share the same sentiment that forcing creativity for the sake of it just doesn’t work.

That being said, I always love seeing what your brain and hands come up with, so whenever you make the next drop – however long it takes – you can count me as one of the first viewers and sharers 🙂

Much love Kev for this post. Never knew you took a 5 year break. I took a break myself from 2014-2020, even if it didn’t look like it.

Most people would tell me that I’ve been active and IN the community, but it was never true for me. These past few years my soul was not in cardistry or magic. It got cold of both and as such my implication in projects was always superficial. Is why it also took 5 years to develop the Cardistry Game. If your soul is not present in what you do everything just takes longer, is more tiring and it’s not as fun.

My advice for lack of motivation? Listen to the idiot inside you. Make a stupid silly video. Put together a ridiculous and cringe video. Something as far as possible from serious (in a sense of “what people expect to see from you”).

My advice for burnout? Just what you said is perfect. A break def ignites a fresh fire after the coals have cooled off.

My advice for cardists? Challenge each other in a fun way.

Fkn love your posts man. Really needed to hear your voice again in this community.

First off, thanks for the kind words Biz. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I may not be someone who can constantly put out moves like many other cardists these days, but having been involved with Cardistry for so long, I do have many experiences and opinions I can share, so this blog is a channel for that kind of output.

Also, I never knew that you took such a long hiatus from cards! It always seemed that you were at least tangentially associated with the community, but perhaps that’s what you mean by a ‘superficial’ involvement.

The work you’re doing for the community with the game and the interviews is great, and I wholeheartedly support you in each endeavor. Godspeed dude, godspeed.

Fantastic post.

I took a break from the community from 2014 to 2017, although I still did cardistry during that time. That was an interesting time; I had a lot of fun with cardistry, but I didn’t progress very much.

Fast forward to 2020, and I’m taking a break from Instagram now. I’m seeing the value of frequent social media cleanses, not only for cardistry but also life in general. I’ve realized that IG is inherently a poor platform for any art, but it also connects people in a way few other platforms can. Still, it’s really bad to binge-scroll through IG and live your whole life on there.

I guess my point here is to not be afraid to take breaks from Instagram specifically. You can do cardistry without posting it. Sometimes, that provides a similar benefit to taking a complete break; you get to focus on just your tools for a while, and you sometimes rediscover your love for the art that way.

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