Ever heard the name Juan Tamariz? Whether you’ve heard this name or not, here’s a golden opportunity to discover a very singular character— described as “The greatest and most influential card magician alive,” by David Blaine and as “The man who made Spain the magic capital of the world,” by a recent profile in The New York Times Magazine.
The Art of Magic
Among the performing arts, the Art of Magic—also know as conjuring, illusionism, prestidigitation, secular stage magic, sleight-of-hand artistry—is still a kind of liminal and mostly underground theatrical art form, often considered trivial and mostly good for children, whose real protagonists are nameless characters. Below this surface, the magic community worldwide is a very fertile and dynamic one, full of extremely smart and creative people, and some of these folks are truly magical individuals.
In the past few years there’s been a resurgence of popularity for magic, thanks to successful TV shows like Penn and Teller’s Fool Us and talent shows like America’s Got Talent (that brought to fame several Las Vegas headliners). Now and then, some live shows reach a certain level of notoriety, like Derek DelGaudio’s In and Of Itself, and the presently running (in New York City) Inner Circle by Asi Wind.
But let’s face it: if you ask the average person to name three magicians, very likely they’ll come up with Houdini (a mythical figure indeed, but who’s been dead for a century now), David Copperfield (yes, he’s still the most famous magician alive), and might struggle to name a third.
A name virtually unknown to a global mainstream audience, Juan Tamariz is a household name in his home country Spain, and a living legend among magicians. It’s difficult to overestimate the importance of Tamariz and his contribution to the art of magic. Since the ’70s, Tamariz introduced Spanish viewers to a style of magic presently called “close-up,” — that kind of magic performed with ordinary objects, in close proximity with the audience and incorporating the participation of spectators.
Tamariz’s unassuming character and funny public persona, conceals an extremely skilled performer, a mad genius, a surprisingly refined and subtle philosopher of magic. Juan Tamariz is a unique, uncanny, remarkable artist, whose whole life work has been devoted to raising magic to the level of an art form.
Finally, an independent documentary film pays homage to this living legend: Juan Tamariz: Love and Magic, an intimate portrait and a deep dive into a much misunderstood art form through the eyes of one of its most important practitioners.
Magic lovers, enthusiasts and the curious can help bring this project to life, and grant themselves (and the world) a chance to be delighted by Juan Tamariz: a true artist and an all around wonderful human being. The film is directed by R. Paul Wilson, who also directed the successful documentary Our Magic, and thanks to his unique access to the magic community, spent the last three years unravelling Tamariz’s life, career and relationship with magic. Wilson is a writer, award-winning director, magician, and television producer with long experience and a proven track record of successes. With his fellow producers, Paul has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to help finish the movie and solve all the financial and legal complexities such an ambitious project entails. If you love magic, strange artists and surprising characters, I highly recommend checking out their campaign.