Two kinds of Card Artistry

I love cards. Playing cards, information cards (anyone remember Hypercard on the 1980's Macintoshes?), gaming cards and art cards. I also love how the Internet has connected and fostered tiny, rare and unusual hobbies and interests together, transforming them into robust, growing fields of fun. The hobbies of making, collecting and using/moving/motioning with cards is a perfect example of this.

Twenty years ago, if you loved cards, you were probably the only one in your town that did. Once, twice in your lifetime would you perhaps find yourself in a group somewhere (like a magic convention in Vegas, perhaps?) standing amongst perhaps half-a-dozen card lovers like yourself.

The Internet changed all that. Now, I can hang out with hundreds of other card lovers everyday, shop at online stores and enter online contests that are just for card lovers. And this new access to this community means more new, cool card decks than ever. Places like Kickstarter host artists raising money to print and ship custom designed decks.

There are two kinds of card art.
The first is the artwork on the cards themselves. The backs, the inks and papers, the faces and pips. Be they classic designs in new colors, themed, hand-drawn or stylized in some completely new way, it takes skill and persistence to bring a deck of cards to the presses.

And the results can be gorgeous. Each card collector has preferred styles and designs. I'm more of a classic faces with new treatments kind of guy. And a themed deck kind of guy. Here are some of my decks.

The second kind of card art is doing things with the cards. Maybe the best way to explain it is dancing with the cards, or card puppetry. It's like card ballet: showing moments and stories using skillful, visual and sometimes difficult movements. This is called Cardistry.

Check out the results of a search for "cardistry" on YouTube. Wow. Pretty impressive for an unpopular and rare hobby, eh? There's even a web site and contest group called Kardistry that is just for sharing, teaching, learning and showing off cardistry skills.

I can't do either form of card art, but I do enjoy collecting the decks and practicing magic tricks with them. A few flourishes, sure, but nothing like these kids do.

Just another interesting, cool thing you can do to the utmost geeky level, have fun and enjoy with new friends. Thanks Internet!

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