While card magic focuses on manipulation of playing cards for purposes of illusion, cardistry is the non-magical manipulation of playing cards with intent to display creativity, performance art, and skill. If you’ve ever seen a magician fan a pack of cards, you’ve seen a very small cardistry demonstration, or “card flourish.” The world's greatest flourishers and cardistry performers choose Bicycle brand playing cards.
Harry Houdini performed arm spreads and card fans that amazed audiences.
Cardists (or “card artists”) are gradually becoming more and more advanced in their technique. Simple arm spreads have become double arm spreads with turnovers, tosses, and catches. Ordinary cuts and shuffles have become one-handed cuts and shuffle sequences.
With the emergence of Chris Kenner's Sybil Cut and other iconic flourishes in recent years, the art has grown in footprint by leaps and bounds, largely due to its strong support from many online communities of enthusiasts. Cardistry is growing into a full-blown subculture, complete with performance videos posted and shared regularly among cardists all over the world.
For additional study, check out the many DVD's with instruction by Dan and Dave Buck, De'vo vom Schattenreich, Daniel Madison, Andrei Jikh, Brian Tudor, The Virts, Bone Ho, Chris Hestnes, and more.
Widely respected as someone that inspired a new generation of cardistry, Chris Kenner published a move called Sybil in his 1992 book "Totally Out of Control." Chris serves as executive producer to the most famous illusionist of our time: David Copperfield.
Raised in the United Kingdom, Daniel Madison got his start as a card cheat, specializing in advantage gaming. Madison later turned his agility with playing cards to a new passion, cardistry, which he performed for the first time on BBC television.
Considered a prodigy in the field of card flourishing, Andrei Jikh was born in Russia. At 21, Andrei has inspired and motivated cardists around the world with his signature style, creativity, and knuckle-busting moves.