Dark Artist Andrew Pinard

Andrew Pinard is not a real sorcerer, but he plays one so convincingly, you might feel a real shiver run up your spine as he summons ghosts, materializes objects and vetoes the everyday rules of reality. Pinard, of Absolutely Magic in Bradford, is renowned and respected among both his fans and his peers, performing stage and close-up magic that delights and astounds. His latest trick: Conjuring up Hatbox Theatre, a 99-seat space at Concord’s Steeplegate Mall where he presides and invites performing artists of all sorts to apply for a chance to showcase their own talents.

Photo by David Mendelsohn

In his own words:

  • I prefer the term “perceptual engineer” to “magician.” I use the way people perceive the world to help them experience apparently impossible occurrences.
  • I firmly believe that every human being is born with an innate capability to achieve, and that the only thing getting in the way is his or her own mind, preconceptions, self-doubt and, in some cases, fear of failure. You have to be bad at something before you can be good at it, and it is human nature to seek the easy path.
  • One particularly delightful and disturbing aspect of human existence is that the more educated we are about the world, the more easily we are deceived.
  • I try to balance doing magic that “hits ‘em in their foreheads until their ears bleed” with magic that makes them think about themselves, their relationships and the world around them.
  • Kids just want to have a great time and can be entertained by a cardboard box, colorful items and silliness. In lots of ways, they are harder to fool.
  • The first rule in magic is to not reveal how a trick is done, but it is not to protect the magicians, but rather the audience.
  • Remarkably, humans have not evolved substantially in the last 500 years. Most of the magic performed in the 1500s would fool audiences today.
  • You cannot convince another person of anything. Only he or she can convince themselves. What you can do is present an argument that appeals to his or her sensibilities. It is the act of seduction.
  • I‘m always studying, always experimenting. If you aren’t moving forward, you are likely sliding back.

Pinard says it’s for a good reason that the second word in “show business” has twice as many letters. A showperson’s career requires lots of work on the side and behind the scenes. Along with constantly updating his performances, he also writes books on magic and creates and sells magical props and devices that are available via absomagic.com.

Thanks to Nikkiana Henninger for running lights, and to Bryan Halperin for missing a lunch date and when a smoke machine set off the alarms at the Steeplegate Mall during the photo shoot. Thanks also to Rick Broussard for his over-aggressive smoke fanning.

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