Guest Blogger: Jin Lee
My name is Jin and I am honoured to share these words with you today.
My passion lies in Artistry with a deck of cards, compared to many who had started young, I came into all of this at the age of sixteen (to me a very late time). Without knowing anything about the Culture, the History, the Legends and the Legacy of that which is this Art.
It all started when I saw David Blaine’s first TV special “Street Magic and Magic Man”, I remember so clearly the astonishment and all the other emotions I felt (and never felt before) as I watched him for the first time. I would ask myself “Why is this man doing all of this out here in the world? Who is this man?” I would never understand! Until I learnt the purpose behind his work, behind going to all these different people from all walks of life and offering astonishment to them, until I learn that he called himself “The Uban Street Shaman”.
Being struck so profoundly on that same year of sweet sixteen, I picked up my first deck of cards, performed to my first total stranger and found my life purpose with my life instrument. Over the years I continuously honed myself and my techniques, taking any opportunity to perform wherever and whenever I could.
As far as I can remember I’ve always been on a hunt for self discovery, this Art becoming a great catalyst for me. During this hunt I made some lifelong Comrades that stimulated me and this passion through the stages of ripening, all the way to the beginning of my call to adventure – meeting Michael Vincent.
I’d heard of his name all across the internet, as a consequence I was able to see his work, be astonished by his technical mastery and also learn that this man had studied under all the greats. I remember watching a video on Youtube where he talks about Fred Kaps, his character, his delivery and his technical mastery – it was very provocative. Coincidentally, during that stage of my life, I had a desire to transcend beyond what I was doing, I really wanted to acquire the essence of this Art. When I saw Michael’s performance on Penn and Teller’s “Fool Us”, it struck a deep chord in my heart, “I wish I could learn from him!” I thought. A few months later he announced the coming of his first “Mastering Magic” Seminar and I knew I had to attend.
I was able to transcend leaps and bounds because of that Seminar, and the one after it, because it provoked me to think about the Art and it’s place in my life. Yet most importantly, it urged me to take action, to make a commitment. During those times I had befriended many who were just like me, from all over the world. Sharing thoughts with those very talented people was humbling and it gave me enough conviction to believe in myself. So returning home, I dreamt and crafted my very first show entitled “Shuffling Philosophies”.
Currently, I am simply working on myself – as a consequence to all of this, I have found my life philosophy, entitled “Mesman Tales”, which I am honing in front of live audiences. The first Chapter of “Mesman Tales” is called “Shuffling Philosophies”.
Oil and water: This routine is my constant companion and I am very fond of it. Even though it can be done with a few cards, a lot of cards or an entire deck, it doesn’t matter to me as it is just as beautiful. This routine has rhythm, suspense, disbelief, artistry and character, all of the things that once made me fall in love with this Art rolled into one! The dance and play of the colours is one of the most memorable things my audience’s see, and one of the most enjoyable things that I do.
Triumph: In every craft there is something that stands out as it’s undisputed representation, something that people will instantly recognize as “so-and-so art form”. “Triumph” is a one of a kind and to me embodies the essence of Card Artistry. Inherently it’s a beautiful piece of card work to begin with, yet in the hands of a true master this piece excels above all. Whenever it is presented, the Art reveals itself unhindered.
A Card at Any Number: This piece is very eerie and very dramatic, no matter what situation it is presented. Don’t be fooled by it’s seeming simplicity! I feel that this piece reflects the cultivation of the student’s progress (his technical mastery, awareness, creativity, his understanding of his audience and their psychology) in his journey within this Art, with the ability to establish one as a legend if done right, or destroy another as an imitator/trickster if done wrong.
Question 2: What is your intention and goal with every performance you give?
I remember attending a lecture by Dani Daortiz at the International Magic Convention, The lecture began with him saying:“I come from the school of Juan Tamariz and in that school we learn that we are the mirror to the audience’s hearts.”
Such a profound statement! Dani then explains that when we are on stage (or during performance), the way we are is infectious to our audiences. If we are happy the audiences will be happy; if we are relaxed they will be relaxed; if we are tense they won’t feel comfortable in our presence; if we invoke a deep emotion it will resonate as true and profound with them without a doubt.
My goal is simple. I want to strike at the heart and soul of my audiences. But how? I know of only one way: by striking at the heart and soul of myself. To speak about my philosophy, my way of life, shedding light to the many facets of myself (that of a human being) for them to explore, play, judge and question within my performances. In this way of being true to myself, my audience will be true to themselves too.
If I am able to achieve this one day, I will truly be content.
Question 3: What are currently doing to leave the craft of magic a little better than you found it?
“Temper the iron, sharpen the blade, and rest assured that the world will use you by and by. Good workmen eager for a part in the building of civilization will not worry much about where they are to be sent, they will desire only to be sent where they can be used most effectively.”
– Stuart Sherman
After making the commitment to fully embrace this craft into my life, it has become an intimate part of me. A certain symbiosis existing between us. I understand now that whatever I do affects the perception of the craft in my audience’s mind; their perception will colour other people’s perception and it goes on. So I must do good, do pristine, do elegance.
I’ve also come to understand that I have what I already need, Myself, for this Art to be further adorned. When my audience’s see me, they know what I represent, yet at the same time I am very much different; by being me I am already adorning the craft and they can feel this. Evolving-preserving an undisputed delivery through this craft, this I feel they deserve this very much. At the same time, I am never blinded by it all, allowing myself to be satisfied with just being me, because it will soon become an excuse and a way to be blind. An integral question has been planted in my mind by Michael: “How can I use my skill, my ability to communicate, to impact the quality of life for another human being?“
I think about these things from time to time.
I have just read through Jin Lee’s contribution and I am left extremely impressed by this young man’s point of view. I have always felt that the study, practice and performance of magic is the perfect program for personal, self-development. I am fascinated by the fact that Jin Lee has embraced this possibility for himself and his life.
As you have discovered, I first met him when he attended my very first Mastering Magic Seminar, Jin Lee made some invaluable contributions to the first seminar and during the second Seminar that featured my special guest Darwin Ortiz, he gave a performance where all the delegates could experience his style and approach to magic and card artistry.
Last year, I featured Michael Vincent Showtime. This was a very special show presented live at The Magic Circle where all of my past students appeared and acquitted themselves with honor and distinction. Jin Lee’s performance was singled for special praise from a few of The Magic Circle members.
I am thrilled and delighted to know that my Seminar has inspired him to create his One Man Show, “Shuffling Philosophies”. It is currently running at The Blue Orange Theater in Birmingham. This Friday I will be attending Jin’s performance with my partner. I will write a review of the show to follow-up on his contribution as my Guest Blogger.
My final word of thanks to Jin is heartfelt and I am confident that his approach, attitude and quest for mastery will be a wonderful barometer for all of us to learn from.
To Learn more about Jin and his work visit: