What Is Close-Up Magic?

Close-up magic is, as the name suggests, magic that you perform close to your spectators. This could be at a table, or walking around groups of people at an event. Close up magic is usually performed with small objects such as coins, playing cards, rings, and rope. Here are some of our favorite close-up magic tricks

When did close-up magic start?

No one can be sure exactly when it started. There is a famous painting in the tomb of Beni Hassan in Egypt, that seems to depict a magician performing the classic Cups and Balls routine.

Oldest trick in the world

There’s a painting called The Conjurer by Hieronymus Bosch showing a street performer demonstrating close-up magic.

The Conjurer

However, it was the 19th and 20th centuries where close up magic really became popular. Ground-breaking magicians like Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin and Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser laid the groundwork for modern close-up magic with both their methods and performances. Over time, close-up magic evolved, mainly influenced by legendary magicians such as Dai Vernon, Slydini, and Fred Kaps, who refined the art and elevated it to new heights of sophistication.

Techniques used in close-up magic

Close-up magicians tend to rely on a repertoire of sleight of hand techniques, misdirection, and psychological principles to perform their small scale illusions. Common techniques employed in close-up magic include:

  • Palming: Hiding objects in your hand, allowing you to produce them when needed. Your grandpa pulled a coin from your ear when you were a kid? Spoiler: he was palming it.
  • Forcing: Making a spectator chose the item that you want - usually done with playing cards.
  • Vanishing: Making objects disappear - usually coins or playing cards.

What sets close-up magic apart from other genres of magic is its intimate and interactive nature. It's why even celebrities are performing magic today! Unlike stage performances where there's a physical and emotional distance between the performer and the audience, close-up magic delivers a sense of immediacy and connection. Spectators become active participants in the magic, experiencing the magic “up close” as they witness miracles happen inches in front of their eyes.

New York Hipster Magician Wows

Everyone, everywhere in the world can enjoy close-up magic. Vanishing or producing an item transcends cultural and language barriers.

But really, in terms of entertainment for corporate events, private parties, weddings, other similar occasions, there really is nothing quite like close-up magic.

To sum up

Close-up magic is not just about fooling your audience; it's about creating moments of wonder and astonishment that stay with your audiences long after your performance has finished. . As a celebration of skill, artistry, and imagination, close-up magic continues to entertain audiences worldwide, proving the attraction of magic, even in this modern world. It's never too late to get started in close-up magic, you just need to set some time aside to practice and pick some brilliant close-up magic tricks to learn.