Friday, April 14, 2017

The Ambigrammatic Pit Hartling: Guest Post by Bill Mullins

Regular readers will recall that Bill Mullins contributed a fine post about Allan Lambie (featuring the best terrier to ever grace a throwout card).  Well, Mr. Mullins has struck again with this excellent entry about Pit Hartling's card, which embeds an ambigram, a mind-bending form of rotational writing featured in Dan Brown novels. Here's Bill's discussion:

At the 1994 FISM in Yokohama, and then three years later at the Dresden FISM, the German magician Pit Hartling stood out for his card work.  In the years that followed, both as a solo performer and as a member of the “Flicking Fingers” group of magicians from Germany, he made quite a name for himself for his performances, his lectures, his “Little Green Lecture Notes”, and his books Card Fictions and In Order to Amaze (a treatise on memorized deck magic).

 I’ve been fortunate to see him perform once, at the Gathering for Gardner conference in Atlanta in 2008. He did not scale any cards that night, but did some really nice card magic.  Like many current magicians, he has designed a deck with a custom, personalized back.

The deck is from USPCC, the faces are standard Bicycle faces, and the stock is standard Bicycle stock.  The back design is a nice ambigram featuring Pit’s name.  There are a lot of shoddy ambigrams out there, many from automated websites, but this one looks very well done.  I had assumed that it was done by Scott Kim, who is one of the better ambigram artists and has done them of many magicians, but when I asked Pit about it he said he had done it himself!  So in addition to being a conjuror and author, he is quite the graphic artist.

Many of the treasures featured on this blog are quite rare and difficult to obtain.   Like those of Lee Asher and Harry Anderson, Pit’s cards are currently commercially available, inexpensively, from many sources on the Internet.

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