Interview with Kris Calma

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Kris Calma — youngest cardist, that answers my questions for now, told me what helps him to relax during card flourish demonstration, how mirror helps in practice, how to waste piece of paper in trash and how many decks of cards he uses for last 2 years.

In spite of his age, Kris is 15 years old, he already owned very recognizable style. His flourishes full of smoothness and fluidity. Kris doesn’t amaze with speed, but charms with fluency. Here is Kris himself:

What is your name? How old are you? Where are you from?

My name is Kris Calma. I am 15 years old. I am from Philippines, but currently residing in the United States.

What do you do?

I am a high school student who enjoys studying and planning to study film and cinematography.

How long are you in cardistry?

I’ve been doing Magic for 2 1/2 years while card flourishing is about 9 months.

Who or what involved you in cardistry?

My best friend Matthew inspired me to do magic. He showed me a Svengali Deck trick which totally fooled me. He taught me the method of the trick and suggested me to read books about magic. I studied Erdnase, other legendary magicians and the Buck Twins. In June 2010, I saw the video “Card Flourishes by Dan and Dave 2007” which inspired me to do cardistry. Later on, I discovered the cardists from the video “Blackpool 2010”. Those people really inspired me to do crazy card stunts!

Why did you start practice cardistry?

I practice Cardistry because it is an art. I was born as an artist. I do music, dance, paint but I found card flourishes is more interesting. Anyway, I practice about 7-10 hours a day. I never leave without a deck of cards in my pocket, except in school. I enjoy playing with cards especially when I do the flourishes perfectly without dropping the cards; it makes me feel good.

What was your first flourish?

My first flourish was Gerry Griffin’s 3 packet false cut. When I was starting magic, that’s my only flourishy false cut that I can do. Then, I learned how to do one handed cut such as Charlier and Revolution cut. I keep practicing until I saw Kevin Ho’s Sybil 947 and One Card Twirl by Richard. I focus more on 2 handed cuts than one handed cuts.

What do you get from cardisrty?

I think Cardistry is fun and interesting. It’s amazing, isn’t it? Imagine a person could manipulate 52 pieces of paper! In my opinion, Card Artists are one of the most creative artists in the world. When presenting myself to the audience, my proof of saying that I am a magician is doing card stunts. Sometimes Card Flourishing inspires the laymen. I know a guy who keeps asking me to teach him to do magic. However, I said “no”, because he is not really interested IN magic, he just want to know how everything is done… anyway, cardistry is my favorite hobby.

How cardistry helps/interfere you in your casual life?

Doing card flourishes affects my life. It attracts many people, which introduce more friends. They are entertained with my art, that’s why I keep doing this. It also affects the way I think. I compare cardistry to physics or mechanics, because the moves (pivot, drop, clip, etc.) are somehow related to other field of knowledge. For example, the safe way to hold a cellphone is the mechanics grip. :) To hold 5 bottles in your hand is by clipping them between your fingers. The awesome way to throw a flat piece of paper to the trash bin is by doing Flicker and then Flic (you can also add Angel :D)

What was your first deck of cards? Do you still keep it?

My first deck of cards was the Bicycle Blue Rider Back. I still keep it, but I don’t use it. Instead, I made a card box or gift box out of it to place my other playing cards inside. By the way, my first deck lasted for about 1 year. I take care of my cards very carefully. Overall, I opened only 5 decks of cards in my whole experience is card magic.

What is your favorite deck?

My favorite deck is the Green Eco Edition Bicycle Playing cards and the Sentinels.

Do you collect playing cards? If yes, how many (approximately) decks in your collection?

Yes, I collect playing cards, but I’m not obsessed with it. I have about 30 decks of cards.

Who most influenced you in cardistry?

There are many people who inspired me doing cardistry. They are: Dan Buck, Dave Buck, Jordan Lapping, Adam Kerchman, Alejandro Portela, TheVirts, Richard, Andrei Jikh, Tobias Sepstrup, Jonas Haglund and JoeyFx.

Do you have any special method of training or some training schedule? May be you can tell few words about it?

Excellent question! I would love to share my practice method to other cardists. When I practice, I face my computer to the mirror and myself. So it looks like the cardist from the computer is flourishing beside me, especially if he/she is right handed. If the cardist is left hander, I keep it the normal way. When I really want to do a flourish, I watch the tutorial for about 5 times, then I practice with the video for 1 time and I do it myself without looking on the tutorial. It challenges me to have muscle memory. Afterwards, I look to the mirror if everything looks right. How about if my hands are not in the mood to do card flourishes? I wash my hands in hot running water so that I could feel my hands especially during winter. Then I clap really hard which annoys my mom… hahaha! Finally, I do some finger exercises.

You have very special, your own style in flourishes — smoothness, flows. Do you have any background in this? Such as… for example… dance lessons or clay modeling? How did you achieve this fluidity?

Yes, I do other stuff that helps me to keep my style in flourishing. I am a cartoonist and painter. Because of cartooning, I learned how to discipline my mind and hands to focus on what I’m doing. In painting, I learned how to relax my hands when using the brush. When I card flourish, I relax myself so that I do not look stiff in front of the camera. To achieve the fluidity, I watch Helder Guimaraes. Through his magic, it reminds me how to make every move connected to each other. His hands are expert-like awesome! And I exaggerate my moves. It gives an illusion to the audience that everything is smooth. It gives me time to prepare for the next sequence.

How do you think, what is most important in cardistry — talent or persistence?

Persistence. Be a persistent cardist. If you keep practicing, you will develop the next stage, talent. Everything is all about hard work. Remember when you were a small child, you heard on cartoon movies/series: “Believe in yourself!” or “Believe in your cards!” from Yu-gi-oh (Japanese manga). Hahahaha!