When Jackson Martin was 6 years old, his grandfather showed him a disappearing scarf magic trick that left him “confused and amazed.”
Martin quickly took to learning how his grandfather did the trick, followed by buying his own magic kit. He soon became fascinated with the craft and became self-taught by reading books and watching videos of how to do magic tricks; his close friends and family became his typical audience, he said.
To really study a trick, Martin said he’ll find magician’s videos and slow it down to examine how it is being done. He’ll practice in the mirror or ask someone to take a video of him doing a magic trick in order to fine-tune the process.
“I like whenever something impossible becomes possible, and making people believe,” Martin said. “When I change a card in front of their face or it happens in their hands, it’s really cool to experience that. The reason I spend so much time practicing is for those few seconds of real magic that happens with them.”
Now at 15 years old, Martin has created his own small business as Jack of Hearts Magic — conducting shows for the public around the High Country. His mom, Heather Martin, said her son can often be seen by the King Street Creamery conducting magic on the street for passersby.
“He was out there for four hours just doing magic for locals or visitors walking up and down King Street. Just seeing his personality shine and the way he can connect with a 5-year-old or this older couple that wanted their picture taken with him. It’s neat to see how it’s become his passion. It’s not just a hobby.”
Heather Martin is an exceptional children’s teacher at Cove Creek School. Martin is also the son of Stephen Martin, the assistant superintendent and human resources director of Watauga County Schools.
Martin’s mom added that magic became a professional move for him after he competed in Mr. WHS — an all-male pageant used as a fundraiser. Each participant was asked to raise $200, and Martin was able to collect $500 by performing table magic for tips at local restaurants.
To help share this passion, Martin hosted his own magic camp for children on Aug. 1, when he taught 19 kids different magic tricks they could perform. At the end of the camp, the children — ages 5 to 12 — were able to each show the crowd of parents what they had learned. The campers also took home bags of goodies to help them perform tricks at home, as well as their own magic wand.
Teaching the campers reminded Martin of when he first started out performing magic tricks, he said. He liked being able to share his talents with a younger generation, similar to what he has experienced when visiting magic shows and talking with magicians.
Martin said he tries to visit magic shops when he travels to various places, and conducts research about the shop before visiting. He has been to magic shops in Las Vegas, Detroit, Chicago, Ohio and South Carolina. The Martin family also likes to watch magic shows in these places as well. Heather Martin said they try to stay after the shows to talk with the magicians and get behind-the-scenes tours.
“I have been so impressed with the community of magicians and their openness and eagerness to take Jackson under their wing and encourage him in learning more magic and performing,” Heather Martin said.
Martin was recently invited to join and accepted into the International Brotherhood of Magicians — the world’s largest organization of magicians with members in 88 countries, according to the organization. The local IBM ring meets in Blowing Rock, where Martin was invited to perform for some of its members.
A magician that Martin looks up to is David Copperfield. He said he appreciates the illusions that Copperfield provides. Now being into magic himself, Martin said he enjoys it when others can fool him with a magic trick — which is often followed by the question, “How did you do that?”
“If someone asks me that I ask, ‘Can you keep a secret,’” Martin said. “They’re like ‘yes.’ I say ‘So can magicians.’”
Martin plans to perform during the fall festival at Blowing Rock School on Sept. 6 and the annual Buddy Walk of the High Country event on Sept. 14 at Ashe County High School. Early next year, Martin plans to attend Magi-Fest in Ohio — the nation’s oldest annual magic convention. He said he hopes to be performing bigger shows and “be more of a household name in the community” in the next few years.
“I would definitely like to make a career out of it,” Martin said. “It’s something I love doing.”
For those starting out in magic, Martin suggested reading books on magic tricks and talking with other magicians. He added that people shouldn’t be afraid to create their own tricks or variations of an illusion.
To find out more about Jack of Hearts Magic or to book a show, visit jackofheartsmagic.com. Martin can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jackofheartsmagic and Instagram by searching for Jack of Hearts Magic.