I get asked every once in awhile, “Why did you decide to become Mark Paskell, Magician?” That’s actually a pretty good question! What the heck made me devote my life to learning this ancient art, and working at it enough where I could share it with the world?
When I was seven years old and first discovered magic, it was all about the “toys” and all the fun things I could do with them. Things could appear, disappear, change color – it was great! One of my earliest conjuring acquisitions was a magic kit I sent away for from an offer on the back of a cereal box.
One of my first magic tricks: “The Mind-Reading Beads”. (I still have it!)
My customization skills started out of necessity. My family didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up, so I would make a lot of my tricks out of objects around the house like empty milk cartons and rolls of paper. Even my outfit was borrowed—check out this early get-up (courtesy of my Mom’s old nursing cape!):
As I got a little older, I started to learn how to put together a show and work with an audience. When it went well, I was as amazed as they were – I just made a bunch of people not believe their own eyes! My family and my neighbors were my first audiences… anytime there was a picnic or group event I would see if I could put on a show.
I guess a big turning point was when I turned professional at 15 and started performing for money. Things took on a little more seriousness; now I HAD to make sure the show was good! This was a huge growth time for me, for I learned a lot about the “business” part of show business.
My early business cards
But, through all this history, I can see an emerging truth: in one way or another, I was always trying to create wonder and amazement for a group of people. Whether it was friends or strangers, I strove to make the impossible happen right before their eyes, make them gasp, and maybe have some laughter, too. This is probably the factor that has stayed constant through all these years. This is the truest answer to that original question, “Why did you become a magician?” I truly enjoy making people feel amazed and puzzled; it is a source of pleasure for most people to feel that way.
When we’re little kids, we experience wonder and fun all the time: the first snowflake, waking up on Christmas morning, your first pet and countless other happy memories. But as we get older, the weight of adult responsibilities often diminishes our capacity for wonder; we’re “too busy” to take the time to fully experience these things. That’s why it’s extra special when I perform for adults and I see them having a “wonder flashback” – it’s very gratifying and fulfilling.
Today, a lot of my magic has other purposes: underlining a company product, getting across a slogan or corporate message, or getting people to engage with sales representatives. But, whether it’s a trade entertainment or a straight-on stage magic show, I’ll always try my best to make sure that the creation of wonder and amazement is part of the “Mark Paskell, Magician” experience.