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  • I S S U E 0 1D o c c H i l f o r d P r o d u c t s . c om

    PRODUCT I ON

    PRESENTAT I ON

    PERFORMANCE

    PEARLS

    D o c c H i l f o r d P r o d u c t s . c om

    DoccHilford

  • All mentalists, that I know, love design duplications. For some reason unknown even to us, we think a picture is more difficult to pluck from the mind of a spectator than, say a random word. This probably isnt true. If we could read minds a picture would likely be easier to receive than a word or number.

    I think the attraction to mentalists is the visual beauty of a drawing. Ive been a cartoonist and illustrator for decades. (See logo) I had my own underground comic book in the 1970s. Years ago I conceived a program entitled The Art of Mind Reading, with certain respect to friend Bob Cassidy. The idea was to use Chagall like pictures as revelations to various mind reading tricks where previously a performer wouldnt have thought to use an illustration. For example, in Annemanns Mentalist vs. Mindreader, a thought of playing card is apparently placed in a position so it can be spelled out of a red deck and later found in the same position in a blue deck, indicating a prediction. The final revelation is a message in a sealed envelope. It reads, YOU WILL THINK OF THE SIX OF HEARTS or whatever the menta l l y chosen card was. A f te r read ing Marc Chaga l s autobiography, I wanted some art in my program.

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    DESIGN FOR ARTART FOR DES IGN

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    Put a little art in your mentalism

  • Heres is a reproduction, done with my finger on the mouse pad, of what I sort of did for the infamous, and neglected card trick.

    Simple, yet affective.

    If you look at Chagalls simple pen art, youll see a style any mentalist can blatantly plagiarize. Were not in the art business, so this form of flattery is less harmful than copying another performers opening speech or jokes or tricks!

    Chagall is not the only artist one can use as inspiration. I used many Dali ideas for billet routines. My version of Annemanns, A Day in the Life used a mustachioed figure, his stomach filled with breakfast, his mid day thought in his hand and his evening idea drawn in his brain. I used words in the three places, but I included them as graphics in the poster. The frame was a long sentence running around the drawing that explained the entire routine to viewers who would look at the poster later. The scene was completed by a huge clock face on the horizon with the chosen time on it! Very Dali, yet all Annemann.

    Of course, I didnt attempt to melt the clock. I didnt want the audience to think I was trying to duplicate a Dali or Chagall. I merely wanted the simplistic form to be subconsciously recognizable. To add some visual beauty to a rather blank performance art.

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  • I found two of these rare album covers by Dali in thrift stores!

    I a l s o h ave s t o r i e s about Salvador, Alice C o o p e r a n d m e , however never all all of us together at the same time.

    The point is trying to add visual art where there isnt any. Say to a card trick, or a book test. Imagine using some of the ancient chalk talk devices to reveal a chosen number. Im speaking of using numerals to make a picture. Often a portrait of someone made with their telephone number was a chalk talk artist trick. A curly 6 may be an eye. A 7 the nose, and so on making a face with nothing more than the selected numerals. But we could certainly use the simple idea to our advantage, especially if the number was forced. Then, wed not have to learn the entire skill, but we could reproduce it.

    Add-a-No Meets ArtI have a great Add-a-No routine, based on a couple of other

    peoples ideas. No gimmick, just raw nerve and some ploy. But the revelation of a total is cold. Most Americans, as well as many other

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  • cultures, hate mathematical effects. When a mentalist says, Just add those numbers together... many an audience member has turned off their attention. They never actually see, let alone care about the total as a prediction. But what happens if you have a cartoon portrait of a bald man with glasses created from several different integers. Look for a man who has similar features and make him you addition guy. Four people write a large number on the pad. The bald man with glasses uses his phone calculator to add the numbers. The prediction is opened, unfolded and displayed on a giant sheet of paper. The audience enjoys it. Now, you take the numbers, one at a time and draw them on another giant paper, creating a portrait of the man! Or in reverse. Draw the man as he adds the numbers. Then re-draw the numbers so the audience can see the picture is actually the sum.

    A Connect The Dots RevelationLets go somewhere else. Since a number revelation is so boring,

    or at least thats what were lead to believe by all the self appointed experts of mentalism, how about this? To a woman force a line from a book, say, ...the London Bridge.... Use Add-a-No to force another large number. On a huge board thats been on display throughout the demonstration is about 100 dots with corresponding numbers randomly across the board. There are also some odd lines and shapes. The woman reads the chosen words. The man declares the number. A third spectator goes to the board with a black markers and connects the single digits until a simple picture is made; a picture of London Bridge!

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  • Pretty simple. Just draw a connect the dots picture, put the force number digits at the dots in the correct order and add a bunch of false dots you wont use. After the third person makes the prediction apparent, use chalk to add color and turn it into a flash painting! Much more effective than revealing a word, place or number.

    I learned how to paint smoke pictures on glass back in the 1990s. Ive wowed and wooed with the pictures. Al Koran had a strange effect that revealed words drawn in black soot. It was accomplished with a flap on a plate. I found a book of poems that I could use to force a scene that I can paint with smoke, and prepared a plate with that scene. The smoke painting on the plate was covered with a flap. I forced the scene, covered the plate in paper, ditched the flap, burned the paper off with a candle and revealed the smoke painting! This was a gift to the hostess. It sounds magical, but presented as mentalism it was quite enchanting.

    ...To Be Continued...

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    Hey, I smell candy!

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