Editor’s note: My good friend Bizau Cristian has taken it upon himself to interview several prominent figures in the card community, and this is the first installment in what we hope will become an ongoing series. Big thanks to Biz for allowing me to publish his interview via this platform, and to the kind folks at Lotusinhand for their thoughtful responses. Enjoy!
Q. Ventus. Echo. Flux. Gradient. Duo. All different design concepts no one else has played with before when creating a deck of cards. What I appreciate most about Lotusinhand’s modus operandi is the fact that it always tries to push the boundaries of what a Cardistry deck is, inspiring Cardists to utilize it and push the artform forward. Is this what you and your team have in mind when coming up with a new deck design? Please tell us a bit about the work that goes behind the scenes before releasing a new design.
R: Our design process is really simple. We ask ourselves, “What can we put on a deck of cards to make Cardistry look better?” and the rest just naturally follows.
For example, Ventus was designed to enhance the look of spins and fans. But we felt like the main thing missing from the deck was something to enhance the look of packet cuts and packet spins in a three-dimensional plane. So, the most obvious way we could think of to resolve that would be to add something to the faces. So we took the circle that was already on Ventus, simplified it, and then placed it on both sides. And that resulted in Echo.
Duo is really just an extension of the idea behind Echo. What we realized is that the more similar the back and the faces were, the more they would complement each other in both packet cuts and displays. So instead of having just the center of the card be the same, we expanded the similarities throughout the whole surface of the card, allowing the two sides to complement each other yet remain distinguishable.
Q. I see now. I cannot then but wonder, what is next in store for Lotusinhand? How will the next deck of cards push the art forward? Is there any future projects you guys already have your eyes set upon? Maybe something to tease our readers?
R: You put me in a really tough position because I don’t want to spoil anything for the public. All I can say is that we will continue to release new decks. Some will be brand-new designs and others will be new colorways of old designs. And just like before, the new designs that we have in mind will serve to enhance the aesthetics of your Cardistry. Our next one in particular is geared specifically to rationalize Cardistry in the eyes of laymen. That’s all I can say about that for now.
Q. Sounds really exciting Daniel! I’ve always loved it when companies take laymen into account as well. Looking forward to what Lotusinhand has in store for the community.
I love how the cinematography in your videos covers a broad area of moods and feelings. From inside the studio, to live in Kaohsiung, Taiwan at the Lotus Lake, or in the lively streets of Saigon, Vietnam, Lotusinhand’s videos play with design just as much as the cards do. You’ve had Shiv, Lance, Dabi, Duy, Zomb, as well as the Lotusinhand Team featured in videos before – so, my question is, how do you decide how to paint the picture? How does the deck design influence the location, the video and the featured Cardist?
R: Usually the first thing we decide is what deck to use in a video. Then, we think about whose hands this deck would look the best in. And most of the time the answer is fairly obvious to us. For example, with Mauve Ventus we wanted someone whose style incorporated lots of fans and spins. Hence, Zomb Tien was the obvious choice. For Echoes, we thought someone who specialized in packet cuts would be ideal. Both Dabi and Lance have very particular styles of packet cuts that we think would exemplify the benefits of the deck. As for Flux, there was no better choice than the king of Integration, Shivraj.
Next, we decide the setting. Usually this depends on where the Cardist is based and whether we fly them out to us or we fly over to them. The deck design itself usually doesn’t influence the setting. We just try to choose settings that give off a different vibe or ambience each time. If we ever use the same setting (i.e. the studio), we will try to vary the style of the video through post-production or music choice.
Finally, after all that has been decided, we choose a track that both matches the tempo of the moves that the Cardist performs at, and that also matches the ambience of the setting.
Q. I could really feel the attention to detail every time I’ve watched one of your videos. It’s something that I wish to see Cardists take into consideration whenever making their videos.
I’m sidetracking here a bit, but I’ve noticed that the past few editions have been printed in the symbolic quantity of 444. Is there a deeper meaning behind why you have decided to go with this number?
R: We just like that number more than 500, that’s all. Adds more character.
Q: It sure does. And since we’re talking about numbers, your recent marketing stunt (if I may call it that) caused quite an uproar in the community. As Dimitri put it, “Bold.” perfectly describes putting out a deck in such a limited quantity without telling people that there will be another edition following it. Could you let us in on how you guys came about this idea? Both for marketing strategy and also for including the community in choosing the colors for the decks. Specifically the last one which I feel is something companies don’t do a lot (not only in Cardistry, but in general). Do you guys have any more plans on how to engage the community in the designs of your decks (a yes or no question suffices 🙂 )
R: We just wanted to find a way to generate as much discussion as possible. And we noticed that people in our community are quite obsessed with quantity. Under every post that is a deck reveal you will find comments asking how many decks were printed. So, we decided to release a deck with a ridiculously low print run.
As for the second part of having the community decide the colorway, the idea was simply to give the community a sense of ownership over this deck before we even released it. That way they can connect with it on a personal level, especially if the colors they voted for were the final colors. And even if their colors were not chosen as the final colors, they would still know that they took part in the design process for this deck. And yes, given the great response, we will most likely apply this to our other decks in the future.
Q: As a closing to the questions regarding the company, I would love it if you could introduce each member of the team and what they do, and also have a line from them (something they would wish to communicate to the readers).
R: The main team consists of Kurtis, Harry, Allan and myself. Kurtis and I do this full time and we both take on all sorts of roles ranging from filming, editing, designing, marketing, all the way to sales.
Harry and Allan occasionally jump in to help us with individual projects. For the most part, Harry is a ridiculously skilled Cardist that performs in our videos from time to time. He is in both the OG Echo and OG Gradient trailers, as well as the Kuma Films video.
Lastly, Allan is our photographer. He helps us with product photo shoots and some graphic design work. Apart from the four of us, we also frequently get help from my [Daniel’s] wife, who helps us market to Chinese Cardists.
I asked them if they wanted to comment on anything, but they think I adequately explained everything so they’ll leave it at that.
Illustrations by Herdiant Herdianto.