The Deal with Mr. Fulton Part 2: Art of Play, New Fulton's, Industry Trends and Keanu Reeves!

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The Deal with Mr. Fulton Part 2: Art of Play, New Fulton's, Industry Trends and Keanu Reeves!

For this exclusive interview, we are honored to have a guest post from Austin Perez (Instagram: @austin100s). In the second part of this guest post, Brad Fulton (Instagram: @fultonsplayingcards) talks about Art of Play, new Fulton's, industry trends and Keanu Reeves. Enjoy!

If you missed the first part, check it out here!

In your opinion, what playing card companies have been on your radar for some of the best?
D&D Playing Card Company. Dan & Dave are the savants of Playing Cards and have produced some of the best. I like Blaine’s Cards. Jackson Robinson is very talented. We’re going to work together in the future for sure. Whispering Imps were a beautiful deck.

What is one trend you do not like that is happening in the card community right now?
I’m not a fan of repetition. It seems like many people are hitting the xerox machine too often. For me to like something, I have to feel the passion and the originality—not just ripping off somebody’s concept and changing some colors. I want to see somebody create something totally new and personal to them. Their story. I want somebody to create a universe of their own design and we can visit it in a deck of cards.

What is a trend that you do like that is happening in the card community right now?
I like the quality increase in printing. Clove St is doing great boxes and ideas Dan & Dave and I only dreamed of. We used to sit on a bench in front of a Chinese Market and dream up ideas for business cards. Dave and I always wanted insanely expensive stuff and had ideas like business cards that cost $20 each and were folded into a collapsible cube etc. Back then these ideas were hard to execute but now they’re a possibility.

When you’re not busy on a project what do you like to do that gives you a sort of detox from the stress?
I’m not a big TV guy and most modern movies aren’t my thing. I like the antihero more than the hero and it seems like now we only have the superhero. My hobbies would be shoe design and New Balance as a company. My good friend Samuel Pearce is a talented young shoe designer and I like seeing what he comes up with next. His shoe the X-90 is interesting for me to pick apart. Hahaha. So, my hobbies are design-based. That and eating so let’s be glad I like to design more or else I couldn’t fit in my car.

Recently Cartamundi bought out USPCC. What are your thoughts on arguably the two biggest card companies now being owned together?
It’s probably positive. I’ll take Cartamundi buying it because they actually care about cards. That beats an investment firm that just wants to pad their portfolio. I defer to the Card Gods on that sale, and both Dan & Dave are excited so that’s how I feel.

What would you like to see out of this sale that Cartamundi made?
I just want USPCC to stay in the USA. I’m a huge proponent of American Made and quite frankly nobody can make cards as good as the USPCC. Maybe the ability to print very small runs of cards so I can reissue a new color of old stock, or try out something that may be a little too marginal or bizarre to sell 5,000 of.

Since you’ve been in the custom made playing card industry for what seems like the beginning of it what has been the biggest surprise trend in the past two years of it?
When I got into these custom cards were really not a thing. We had David Blaine and that’s about it. After Smoke & Mirrors I didn’t envision anything. That deck didn’t make The Bucks rich. It sat in their apartment and I’d go with them to the Costa Mesa Post Office to ship them piecemeal. I never imagined for a moment you could do this for a career. So, my surprise over the past few years is my surprise regarding the whole thing. I’m shocked at the number of cards that are made per year. And it’s a great thing the industry has grown. Instagram is a huge reason.

When starting out with the Fulton’s Clip Joint did you expect them to be as memorable as they are? I see that they were inspired by your grandfather. Care to elaborate on how much of an influence he was in your artistic vision with them?
My grandfather Sam Fulton was a real noir character. The toughest man I’ve ever met. He would scare doped out panhandlers when he was approaching 80 hahaha. He always had a white shirt and black pants, and his stark, thick white hair was recognizable from a block away. He built planes during WW2 for Boeing, doing all sheet metal. His spirit influenced the deck, not the location exactly because he hated alcohol and called people who drank “lushes” (haha). His house was grey with black trim. The most devastating moment for me as a young man was losing him. He was my male role model and I infused the deck with his no-nonsensee but stylish personality. It was a place he’d be holding court—the whole place mesmerized by his stories and bizarre sense of humor.

I didn’t think anybody would be talking about the deck almost ten years later! My philosophy is as an enemy of trends. Everything I like is classic. So, in the back of my mind, I may have dreamed it became like a Tally-Ho and people could use it in the future without it being dated. I get so many nice messages all the time calling it “the greatest deck ever designed” and for that it never gets old. The point of designing is to inspire others and make them happy.

Recently, people have been discovering that when you flip the Fulton’s October tuck box you are greeted with a beautiful reverse image. How did you come up with that idea and did you expect anyone to actually reverse the tuck? 
Hidden objects are what I love. All my decks have things hidden in them that I’m surprised nobody has found. So, for me, it was a mystery. I love mysteries. I just imagined some kid opening a deck and peeking inside and wondered how many would tear the box open to see the whole thing. Noble and I had a blast envisioning this vintage Halloween scenario with all the fun old pranks you could pull on your neighborhood. A while back some guy messaged me with a little clip of his perfectly flipped October Box. I was impressed. After that, it spread like wildfire. My next deck with Noble you can count on more fun stuff.

As someone who has known Dan and Dave for years now, what was it like seeing their companies such as Art of Play start from such humble beginnings? How does it feel now that your cards are so popular on their site, that they almost always sell out within hours or days of release? 
I’m constantly amazed by D&D. You know sometimes you have friends and they change. They just do over time. The Bucks have not changed who they are, they just tightened up their belt in running a business and learned how to do it better. People often ask why my cards weren’t made for a few years and the answer to that is...D&D put everything on hold to restructure and grow the real way. In the beginning, you have to understand The Bucks came from a small mining town in Nor Cal to Costa Mesa to attend community college and dream big. They didn’t have a trust fund. Their entire empire was done piecemeal. They were slinging DVDs at conventions and worked their way up. I truly paid the cost to be the boss. I’m just a few years older but I feel like a dad, or older brother watching the youngsters make it. I’ll tell you an aside to illustrate who The Bucks are. In 2010 when I had my accident, falling down the stairs and being pronounced “dead” for three minutes they were in South America. They were booked for a lecture series. When they heard what happened, they called my hospital room to tell me they’re coming back early and wanted to be with me and help in any way. I never forgot that. It’s an honor to be associated with them.

So the year has just started, and you have already dropped one of the most popular decks, the Pink Ace Fulton’s Casino, to a lot of praise. What else can we expect from you this year? There have been murmurs of a new Fulton’s Octobers and a possible Clip Joint. 
Yes, the sequel to Clip Joint is getting all the pre-press stuff done right now. It’s epic. It’s completely new yet familiar. And I do have two Halloween Decks in the works. One will hopefully make it here for this Halloween while the other I’m guessing is delayed because it’s not ready. A big surprise will come from me this year and it’s something never done in cards before. Dan Buck and I have really worked hard on this and it’s a true celebration of my work thus far. I do think people will take a step back and wonder “what the hell is this?”

Finally, looking through your site, viewers are greeted with some great portrait photography of some amazing shots! One that stuck out to me is the one of Keanu Reeves! How did you manage to get that into your portfolio? 
Thank You. I’ve done many portraits of Hollywood Actors in my career. I love portraits. Keanu’s agent wanted me to make some portraits of him when he was in between films and doing some promotional stuff. There’s a reason he went from starring as Ted in one of my favorite films to a legitimate superstar. His work ethic is inspiring, and he treats everyone with great respect.

After reading these answers and talking to Mr. Brad Samuel Fulton the sense of passion for his craft is rarely matched. Very few creators can have such an impact in their field as much as Mr. Fulton has done. With the amount of history combined with the overall genuine personality he embodies, it’s very difficult to not see why he is a master at his craft. If you want a chance to own a piece of art go out and buy a Pink Ace Fulton’s Casino deck while supplies last on Art of Play. As for now, I am excited for future projects to come!

This segment is written by Austin Perez (Instagram: @austin100s). No part of this article can be reproduced without written permission from the author and


The Deal with Mr. Fulton Part 2: Art of Play, New Fulton's, Industry Trends and Keanu Reeves! Reviewed by Ivan on 7/20/2019 Rating: 5

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