Since writing my underground zine called The Magic of Skateboarding, which teaches magic effects and philosophy with regular skateboards and fingerboards, I'm always on the lookout for artists combining magic and skating. Then I came across this YouTube clip by Kirby Martin where he’s creating magic with a fingerboard, and I knew I had to interview him. Enjoy!
Joe Ledoux: How long have been fingerboarding?
Kirby Martin: I have been fingerboarding on and off for 19 years. My first fingerboard came out of a McDonald's Happy Meal!
JL: Do you have an interest in magic? If so, explain your connection.
KM: I love magic! I was actually sitting at a bar about 6 years ago and a street performer approached me, asking me for a lighter. He then continued to make a cigarette appear at his fingertips out of thin air. So long story short, I ended up bumping into him on the street again a few weeks later and convinced him to teach me the illusion. I paid him 5 bucks! Haha. I have been hooked ever since!
JL: What gave you the idea to combine magic with fingerboarding?
KM: Well, when I started learning these "sleight of hand" tricks I was using mostly coins, cards, pencils, pens, et cetera. And so naturally, when I started to get interested in fingerboarding again I sorta just thought, "Hey, this thing’s tiny.”
JL: I was really intrigued by how you made the board reappear by throwing it, a kind of bold move but effective on the first view. How did you think of that?
KM: When I started filming this particular trick, I was just doing the French Drop and that was it. So in the true nature of Skateboarding and Magic, I just wanted to take it one step further and add my personal spin to it. No pun intended.
JL: Are you really trying to fool the viewers?
KM: No. I don't think people really have the mindset to be fooled anymore. Also I'm not that good, haha.
JL: Do you think fingerboarding is an art?
KM: It can be. It depends on the presentation. One of the great things about fingerboarding that most people don't realize is that it incorporates not only performance art, but also recording arts like audio, video and lighting. Just like in skateboarding.
JL: What is the most magical trick you have seen done with a fingerboard?
KM: There is a particular video on YouTube where one fingerboarder throws his board from across the room, and another fingerboarder catches the board on the lip of a ramp, in the "drop-in" position. There’s nothing particularly magical about it, other than it reminds me of something David Blaine would do if he had a Tech Deck, haha.
I would sincerely like to thank Kirby Martin for doing this interview - I was deeply moved to meet a creative individual combining these two art forms! I really enjoyed his insights into the theatrical side of fingerboarding and some of the nostalgic aspects of the magician’s path!
If you know of any connections between magic and skateboarding, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find a lot of questions and posts about these subjects on my Facebook Fan Page here: https://www.facebook.com/joeledouxmagic.