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!
Q: In your interview with Kardify you talked a bit about the “Origin” card deck and how you guys worked for 2 years on crafting a “Cardistry” touch. Can you please tell me more about what this touch is, how does it set itself apart from a “normal” touch, and what does it bring to the table for a Cardist if adopted?
R: The feeling of a deck is a matter of personal preference, really. When we look back at it now, some, like us, really enjoyed the new quality that we created, and some still preferred the standard USPCC feeling.
I think that the most important thing about our project was the conceptual aspect: creating a new object from scratch for Cardistry. Before that, we used an object that was made for playing poker; and that’s cool, that works. But it just feels like a step ahead for me to use, not a deck of playing cards, but a deck that was specifically created for Cardistry. In the end it’s more of a philosophical question.
Of course, the “feeling” of the deck is important, and we really worked hard to make something that we believe is better than any deck we’ve ever tried in terms of quality, but again, it’s a matter of personal preference.
What was really new and interesting about our project with Origin was that for the first time, this new deck wasn’t just a new design, we started with a clean slate and we questioned everything about our object: the weight, the way it glides, the number of cards, the box… and there’s so many things that we questioned that we ended up not changing, like the size of the cards, the radius of the corners and a lot more. It was all part of the process.
To me Origin was a statement: we have our own art form, separated from gambling and magic, so we need our own prop. An object crafted from scratch for Cardistry.
So what does it bring to the table? Well, I think it inspired people to question the object that we use and it showed that there can be more to it than simply changing a back design when it comes to creating new decks.
We also brought a new player in the game: Cartamundi. I think having strong competitors has to be a good thing as it will force all card manufacturers to step up their game. (Even though USPCC is part of Cartamundi now, this still applies as both factories can learn from each other).
We’ve also seen a huge rise in popularity of “Cardistry decks”, meaning no traditional faces. A lot of other companies have adopted this, and I think it’s pretty safe to say that we have something to do with it. I mean… Bicycle even have their own Cardistry deck now!
Q: The reason why I am asking this is because Cardistry Touch has really put itself out there as an innovative company with projects such as MyShuffles, Origin, ARt, Cardistry Graphic Notation, and the most recent Offset, pushing the boundaries and exploring untapped territory, all these projects smelling of a Cardist’s touch, whereas other companies go for a business touch or a brand touch. How can others tap into their own Cardist touch and in combination with their uniqueness, set themselves apart and evolve the artform?
R: To be honest, when it comes to creating new products, we don’t ask ourselves too many questions. We do what we think is fun/cool/interesting. We create products that we want to see or have, and we don’t really take into consideration what others might think. If it works, great! If it doesn’t, well it’s ok, we have a product that we love to use ourselves: it’s easy for us to believe in our project because it’s something that we do for us, and it’s also easy to work on a project extremely hard if you’re the one you need to impress.
With that said, “Cardistry Touch” is our full time job, so we do need to sell cards to make a living, and if people start to hate our products, of course we will try to understand why and adapt, but for now, it’s working with our original vision, and we hope it’ll stay that way.
With “Touch”, we really try to explore what a “Cardistry brand” means. We produce cards, but like you said, we’re doing a lot of other stuff. Cardistry isn’t just cards, it’s an art, it’s a lifestyle, that’s why we try to create not just a deck, but a whole experience with our products. With our Augmented Reality posters, we asked ourselves what Cardistry art could be, and we couldn’t really see Cardistry without motion, so we adapted and used technology to our advantage. Also, A.R. is simply super cool :p
So how can others tap into their “Cardist’s touch”? Just do what you love, being yourself is the easiest way to be unique.
Q: A second question that sort of ties itself to the previous one: Magicians talk about a certain feeling of wonder and magic that the spectator feels when in the presence of a good performer. I feel that you guys have discovered that “wonder” another Cardist feels when watching either a video released by CardistryTouch or a product.
What were the steps and discipline that led you guys to discover and polish this ability to be able to bring this out of your viewers? And, as magicians and spectators alike feel and know that at a certain point during someone’s performance they realize that they are in the presence of a great artist, when does one realise this while in the presence of a great Cardist?
R: Videos are the main way that we communicate as artists for Cardistry, so we take this super seriously. Not in the way that we’re “serious” when doing it, but we really put a lot of effort into everything we release.
There’s 3 things to think about when we do a video, and when they’re combined I think it does create that sense of wonder you’re talking about: the content, the cards, and how all is tied together.
The content is the most important of course, we can’t do a great video without it. It’s basically the artist and his moves. It’s what he creates, the way he performs, his uniqueness, his personality. When we look for Cardists we want to work with, we don’t only look for a guy that has “good moves”, we look for someone that’s different.
The second thing is… the cards. It seems weird but it is something that really excites the viewers. At the moment the community is very much focused on this actually. All “big” events are card releases. So seeing new cards in action for the first time, in the hands of someone they admire, creates a strong emotion. It’s definitely something to take into consideration for having a big impact with a Cardistry video.
The last thing is “how we put all that together”. Now that’s where the magic happens. You really have to ask yourself what would be the best way to show off the moves, the personality of the Cardist, and the design of the cards all together. That’s where we can tap into someone’s emotion and create a complete piece of art as a video. Yes, it’s about experience and working with great people (shout-out to François our amazing cameraman), but it’s also about intention and passion: putting the work, thinking about every detail, listening to the artist, finding the perfect spot, having a clear goal/concept before filming… In short, don’t be lazy, do exactly what you really want to do, even if it means working a lot more than what you thought.
As for the second part of your question: when does someone know you’re in the presence of a great Cardist? Honestly you just know, especially when meeting the person in real life. I remember meeting Salvador in Barcelona at a jam and seeing him perform: Lad and I looked at each other and we immediately knew we had to make a video with him to show off his talent to the world. 2 days later we were filming his solo video.
Q: What can we expect from the Cardistry Touch team in the future?
R: We’re going to keep doing what we love, which is creating cool designs and make great videos with them. Seeing our products in the hands of talented Cardists is really the highlight of our job.
Another thing that we want to do, is to expand our range of products. We kind of started that already when we introduced our “concept cards” with our deck “Offset Orange”, which are not exactly “Cardistry cards” for us.
I feel like right now we’ve established our main line of product: the Cardistry deck with a Swivel Box, and it’ll continue to be our go-to deck, but we’ll also start playing around with different deck ideas… Can’t say much more about this at the moment, but it’s going to be fun 🙂
If we’re really honest, we also feel like we’ve been a bit out of touch with the Cardistry community lately, and that’s something we miss! So, you can expect us to be more active and involved, and interact more with the people who, like us, love this art form.
Q: If you would like to send a message to the community, use this space to do so.
R: Well, we’ve had a really weird 2020, and for a lot of people, Cardistry has been a way to escape and to avoid getting completely crazy! That’s the great thing about our art form, it’s a whole world of fun and creativity that fits right in your pocket. So, keep shuffling your cards in the weirdest possible way, make great videos, try stuff, make some mistakes, and keep having fun!
If you’ve missed out our last interview, make sure to take a look as we’ve talked with the one and only Allan Hagen!
Artwork by the talented Deleonij. Check him out!