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Cardistry: 3 Questions with Mike Aghabekian of Kameleon Playing Cards



Inspired by the Ambilobe Chameleon from Madagascar and the beauty and chaos of nature, Kameleon Playing Cards is an intriguing deck from Cardistry Collective. Mike Aghabekian (@cardistrycollective) from Long Island, NY, founded Cardistry Collective two years ago when he came across an amazing video of The Virts and he was hooked. Also, there is the community aspect of the art- according to Mike, it is honestly the best group of people; everyone is so close and he has made so many true friends that helped him with what he is trying to do and achieve. Hence the word 'Collective' in Cardistry Collective -it’s all about the community.

Earlier this week, we sat down with Mike and had a quick chat about the inspiration behind Kameleon Playing Cards, Cardistry-con, the cardistry community on social media and his favorite flourish and decks.


What is your inspiration behind the Kameleon Playing Cards? How did you guys come up with the idea?
Cardistry Collective is the community, but the Kameleon Playing Cards design was created by John Morell and I. John is a good friend of mine; he is a graphic designer, music producer, and an overall artistic person, so when I knew I wanted to design a deck of playing cards I naturally went to him for help. I’ve always been a big animal lover (reptiles especially) and I’ve owned a couple of chameleons in the past. When John and I first sat down to talk about the design we were inspired by nature to create something beautiful and chaotic, but also in the realm of geometric design so that people in the community could relate. Over the course of a few months, Kameleon Playing Cards was created.


We first noticed Kameleon Playing Cards on Instagram during Cardistry-Con. What do you think of the cardistry community in terms of the feedback and support that you’ve been getting so far on the social media platform?
First off, Cardistry-Con is amazing! If it wasn't for Dan and Dave Buck, and Art of Play this community wouldn’t exist, and for that we are grateful. We’ve had a lot of support from local and international cardist because of Cardistry-Con, and the strong friendships we made there and through social media. The community on instagram is so active and very approachable. Once we knew we were going to release a deck we decided to print 48 prototypes to give out at the Con and we got some great feedback and footage of all these amazing people for our promotion video.


When we launched the Kickstarter and started receiving all the pictures, videos, and repost we were so excited to see people using our deck -this community is truly fascinating. Cardist from around the world have volunteered to make tutorials that we will be giving out through our Kickstarter. We truly appreciate all the support and feedback the community has given us; we wouldn't be able to do this without you guys!

Finally, what are your favorite flourish and playing card decks?
There are many flourishes that we truly love, but some of the most inspirational flourishes come from Jaspas, The New Deck Order and The School of Cardistry. The School of Cardistry has been the best place for beginners to learn the art of cardistry and that's where we learned our first flourish. We naturally love every deck design that comes from them but our favorite has to be the Jaspas Deck Primeval edition -the colors are so vibrant they work perfectly with each other, and the stock and finish feel so satisfying -it's truly a Cardistry deck.


A designer I've always loved is Toomas Pintson of Gemini Decks. My favorite design is the new 3rd edition featuring the royal blue and neon pink colorway. Some of our other favorite playing cards come from The Hanson Chien Production Co. Hanson has been doing some really great things for the Cardistry community with premium quality decks like Odyssey, Frostbite, Pearl, and Chicken Nugget playing cards. That’s the main reason why we decided to print our deck with Hanson Chien and he's been a big help along the way.

Thanks, Mike! At the time of writing, the project is 82% funded with 10 days to go. If you like what you've read here and want to support Kameleon Playing Cards, you can find it on Kickstarter Here! 


Pledge starts from $12, the deck will be printed by Hanson Chien Production Co.

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