By: Chaewon Lee
Photos by: Kyle Zhu
With a mere snap of his fingers, senior Jack Kwan manages to make the queen of spades reappear at the top of the card deck after putting it into the middle of the deck. “This trick’s called ‘Ambitious Card’,” Kwan said, as he reshuffled the deck for the next magic trick.
Kwan’s affinity for magic tricks began in the eighth grade when he decided to learn magic after seeing various videos of magicians on YouTube and TV. “It just looked really cool when [the magicians] did their tricks,” Kwan said. “I was bored, so I thought I’d try it out.”
For Kwan, performing magic tricks is a cool way to entertain others and himself. “It’s fun performing tricks in front of others, seeing as people almost never figure my tricks out,” Kwan said. “Sometimes I even blow my own mind.” However, if he could change one thing about magic tricks, it would be their very nature. “I hate that it’s not actually real magic,” he said.
According to Kwan’s friend senior Dylan Pak, magic tricks have become a natural part of who Kwan is. “He’ll do magic tricks everywhere, sometimes just randomly,” Pak said. “He’ll even go up to random strangers and show them a trick.”
Senior Max Li, a friend of Kwan’s, can see a noticeable difference in Kwan when he is performing in front of crowds. “He gets way more excited than usual,” Li said. Kwan’s enthusiasm for magic tricks has helped him become a skilled magician who is respected by many students throughout the school.
Although Kwan managed to pull off his first magic trick, “How To Guess Someone’s Card,” in just five minutes, he soon learned that not all tricks were as easy to pull off. “I thought magic would be pretty easy to learn, but it turned out not to be,” Kwan said. “It requires a lot of practice.”
Now, Kwan works with much more complicated magic tricks almost everyday. According to Kwan, learning a fairly complex trick can take up to a couple of days. He gets all of his tricks and inspiration from YouTube artists, such as the famous endurance magician David Blaine and books such as “Expert at the Card Table.” Kwan has expanded his repertoire to include various card and coin tricks. “I waste a lot of time on learning and practicing new tricks, especially now that I have an F prep,” Kwan said.
Kwan believes that practicing diligently is essential for a good magician. “For stuff like math tests, sometimes you can just wing them, but with magic tricks, it’s different,” he said. “You can’t screw up any step or the trick won’t work.”
When learning a new trick, Kwan does so with a positive attitude of perseverance. “Even though some tricks are pretty tough to get right, there’s never any frustration when I can’t do them,” he said.
Kwan’s friends and family have supported his unique talent since he started. “They’ve never said anything negative to me about my tricks,” he said. “Some of them even try to learn them from me.”