The Vanishing Inc. Aesthetic
By Joshua Jay - Monday, February 25, 2019
A strange and remarkable thing happened, and we almost didn’t notice. Slowly, slowly, we’re not a brand new company anymore. And at some point, we developed an overall aesthetic.
I noticed it first backstage at my show, Six Impossible Things. Jason Silberman, a team member and knowledgeable magician just out of college, said in passing, “Oh, I met him when I was a kid at the Magi-Fest Youth Program.” This adult—who works for me and has stubble, is reminiscing about another magician he met at our youth program “as a kid.” And then it all clicks. Many of his favorite magicians he saw at Magi-Fest, and most of those performers are Vanishing Inc. Artists.
I wish we could take more credit for a holistic, strategic agenda, but most aspects of our business came about for the simple reason that Andi and I thought it would be interesting to do. We took over the Magi-Fest because I didn’t want to see my childhood convention fold (the previous organizers announced it would be ending, and so Andi and Tim Moore and I took over organizational duties, which Andi and I continue some nine years later). We publish books because we love to read books, and we work with the magicians whose work we respect most.
But when you throw it all into the same pot and bring it to a nine-year boil, the result is a distinctive stew. We’ve introduced the magic world to artists who weren’t previously well-known: Caleb Wiles, Chris Mayhew, Mark Shortland, Jason Ladanye, Harapan Ong, and a dozen others.
In other cases, we’ve published books that will be studied for decades to come: The Definitive Sankey, the Jamy Ian Swiss Trilogy, and our titles with Roberto Giobbi. Even my free theory compilation, Magic in Mind, is taught at the university level by several institutions, and is standard curriculum for magic programs worldwide. We’ve debuted countless acts at our two conventions, Magi-Fest and The Session, who have gone on to win FISM or make substantial television magic.
And it all flows from our customer base. Most of our attendees are our customers, and many young magicians who start off with scholarships from our charity grow into attendees and fervent brand devotees, absorbing all of our books and DVDs and downloads the moment they’re released. We’re grateful for all of it, and it’s still surprising to track the growth of this community that has sprung up from our little website experiment nine years ago.
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