Jarek 1:20 is a leading Youtube star for magic and cardistry related videos. With over 100,000 subscribers on his Youtube channel, How to Disturb Reality, Jarek is seen as a great resource for learning and introducing magic all across the world. In his videos, Jarek is seen using many different playing card decks that range from custom decks to standard Bicycle Rider Backs.
TuckCase.com got in touch with Jarek to ask him a few questions about playing cards in order to help designers as well as budding magicians in understanding an experienced and popular magician's point of view on what makes a great card deck for performance and design.
Tuck Case: Do you have a particular playing card stock and finish preference?
Jarek 1:20: The standard air-cushion finish from the Bicycle Decks is what I prefer. I've seen some rare decks that have "Performance Coating" on the side of the box. Those ones feel great, but for me to just be performing magic, I'd rather just use a deck that most people are comfortable seeing, so they believe there's nothing special or weird about it.
Editors note: Performance Coating is actually the finish Ellusionist uses on some of their card decks. Performance coating is embossed, which is unlike a smooth finish or the other type of finish offered by USPCC. For those curious, Air-Cushion finish is actually embossed as well. Although a few year old, here is the story of Performance coating and Ellusionist's work with USPCC.
Tuck Case: Do you prefer bordered or borderless back designs? Is one more conducive for card tricks?
Jarek 1:20: Borderless back designs can be cool, but for performing magic, the borders help a lot visually and as convincers, such as moves like a double lift.. When you fan half a deck of cards with one hand, for example, the large spread is often much more appealing to the eyes with the border versus borderless, because they're designed to look cool in a fan. Again, it's a stylistic preference.
Tuck Case: Are two-way back designs essential when doing card tricks?
Jarek 1:20: "Double-backers" as they call them, can be a beautiful little tool in card magic. I can only think of a small handful of effects that can utilize the two-way back design, but it essentially allows you to do magic tricks where you can "end clean." I wouldn't say they're essential or necessary, but they will definitely convince your audience that you're doing everything in the fairest manor possible.
Tuck Case: Do you have a favorite playing card deck?
Jarek 1:20: My favorite deck would have to be the Artifice Tundra Deck. What won me over was the face (court) cards. They're borderless face cards. Lee McKenzie really put work into this design. The pips are thin but bold. It just looks like a deck that would gravitate towards anyone. The only reason I collect decks of cards is so I can give them out to my fans, because I know they like them more than I do. So when the Artifice Tundra Deck was voted for, and got sent to my house, I opened it up and now it's become a deck I'll actually take out with me and perform with. The Sultan Republic Deck is beautiful too. Each individual face of all 52 cards is unique.
Tuck Case: Some playing card decks are released today with big elaborate designs, when does the design just become too much? Has there ever been a time when the design got in the way of a trick?
Jarek 1:20: I think the Arcane design is way too busy. The face designs are cool with the crippled smokey kind of look, but again, it's like, "What should I be looking at here, there are probably a lot of little Easter eggs on this design." You can get lost in some back designs. Some decks also give off a kaleidoscope kind of look, such as the Arch Angels deck, which I'm not a fan of. The design has never got in the way of an effect, but if I felt it was going to, I would just use a different deck.
Editor's Note: Interestingly enough, Arcane is also a Lee Mckenzie and Ellusionist creation, which is the same team that created Jarek's favorite deck.
Tuck Case: Do you have a favorite type of trick deck?
Jarek 1:20: The Invisible Deck is the best trick deck in the world, regardless of the actual design. If you were to own ONE magic trick, The Invisible Deck is the one you want. I swear by it.
Click here for a video of Jarek explaining The Invisible Deck.
Tuck Case: Just like Youtube has been big for your career, a lot of deck designers have been using Kickstarter as a platform to launch their own deck projects and designs. Do you have any advice for playing card designers trying to build their own online crowds?
Jarek 1:20: I'd say it's a lot harder for playing card designers, because you need to be an expert in this field, a master artist. Human interaction is just like this too––when you take a look at someone, how long does it take for your brain to say it's attractive or unattractive? About 1.5 seconds, same goes with art. So I would say, make sure you have a kickass and beautiful design and hopefully the power of word of mouth will do your work for you. Also remember, YouTube and Kickstarter are big websites––but the internet as a whole is much bigger. Start using third party websites to try to help promote what you're doing.
Follow Jarek 1:20 on his youtube channel, How To Disturb Reality!