Abracadabra! Shazam! Alkazam!
Followed by smoke and flashes and the magic unfolds right before your eyes and you gasp and marvel at the clever trick that you just witnessed. That is a very crude way of describing how magic is performed at children’s party.
Playing cards are more often than not to be associated with sleight of hand tricks. This association shouldn’t be foreign for most card collectors and even faithful readers like yourselves. If you are still unfamiliar with the world of playing cards and card tricks, OI suggest that you start researching Cardistry. Magic is one of the inspiration for Zack Mirza, a relatively well known magician in Canada with his solo tv series released in 2015 showing him performing street magic tricks across the world. Aside from magic, he is also a visual artist and when you merged magic with visual artistry, you get magical pictures. No, of course not. At least not for the intention of this article. The next best thing is Jinni Playing Cards.
The reason why he chose Jinni is due to the influence he had when he was a a little boy fascinated by magicians of old such as Harry Kellar and Howard Thurston. Some promotional posters about them featured imps as their familiars.
Since the typical imagery of imps are widely used by magicians of old, he wanted to use something less common, something less seen but is at the back of everyone’s head. He created his own Jinni and included them in this playing cards project. In Zack’s world, they’re not good or evil, instead they have a serious case of ADHD.
“They could grant wishes,” Zack laughs, “but you would have to keep their attention long enough. That’s the tough part. Even if you manage to fire a wish off, you’re likely to get the fastest, easiest version of the wish. It’s like Disney’s Aladdin got mixed with Gremlins. They’re totally wild and it’s given me a lot to chew on creatively.”
There are plenty of Disney’s Aladdin influence in the royal court cards portraits and you can take a look here.
The illustrations are very well done and I have to commend on the intricate drawing of lines on the armour/clothing of some portraits. You can certainly see the level of dedication for yourself.
The design on the Ace of Spades is very intriguing and amusing. A whole bunch of Jinni cramped into the share of Ace of Spades. It vaguely reminds me of a genie being squeezed into a lamp waiting for somebody to rub on the lamp to release the genie from its captivity and grant the lamp bearer three wishes.
Speaking of magical lamps, you will spot two magical lamps being included into the design for the card back. This is a nod to Aladdin and the Magic Lamp.
Zack has also created back stories for the characters in his cards and you can read them below if you have the time for it.
Lastly, I would like to point out that United States Playing Cards Company (USPCC) will be producing this lovely project using air cushioned finishing. The quality of the cards will assuredly be of certain level.