For Ryan Hawley, the mystery of magic has always been intriguing.
Hawley, 34, who was born and raised in Red Deer, has focused on mastering the craft of being a close up magician over the last 10 years.
“When I was really, really young I got into the kids’ magic sets, it never really took off but I was always really interested in it. It wasn’t until 1998 or 1999 when a David Blaine special came on – he took what was considered kind of taboo at the time and he made it very cool and very accessible. From there it was really something I got into.”
Hawley began to become serious about pursuing magic in 2004 and made it into a part-time career. “I started (practicing) with my own family of course. Once I knew I could fool my family, I thought maybe I am starting to get good at this,” he said. “When you say the word magician, a lot of people want you to try and impress them – not everyone says that, but a lot of people do.
“What I love about what I do is that you can do something kind of special and they start to realize you know what you are doing and they want to see more.”
Hawley calls himself a close up magician meaning all of the tricks and illusions happen right in front of a person.
“It’s in a close, comfortable setting. It’s intimate.”
He specializes in card tricks and illusions for the most part but is also working towards getting into hypnosis.
Hawley said he has used a number of resources to hone his skills over the years.
“The Internet is great because it allows you to pool resources in a sense and you can work online with someone from say New York who has been doing this for his whole life and he can watch you do something on Skype or what have you and he can give you tips and advice. Of course there are other learning materials such as books and that kind of stuff,” he said. “It’s just a matter of finding people that are better than you in the community and learning from them – it’s sort of like mentorship.”
In this type of industry, Hawley said there are endless things to learn as the craft is constantly evolving.
“You can always be stepping up your game.”
As for the future, Hawley said he hopes to be able to develop an evening affair for Red Deerians to enjoy.
“My goals are to develop a chamber magic show where people would buy a ticket and it would be a small, intimate group of about 20. Maybe there would be a meal and then people would get to watch a show. It could be a black tie type event,” said Hawley. “Red Deer doesn’t really have anything like that.”
In addition, Hawley said he enjoys performing for an audience and seeing the reactions of wonder and excitement on their faces.
“You take them down the rabbit hole – that’s definitely when all of that practice is worth it. It’s fun to make people believe in something again – you will see them question if that was real or was it a trick.
“I love performing for people I don’t know – it’s really special because you share that bond and that moment of ‘wow’. And as someone who knows how it’s done, it’s special for me too to get those ‘wow’ reactions from people. It’s a great moment.”