1900

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100 year-old wooden crate

100 year-old wooden crate

Actually it’s a brand new wooden crate it’s a prop I made for my magic performances. It’s made from brand new wooden crates, the kind you find at craft stores. I took them apart and reconstructed them so there were no spaces between the slats.

The logo was created in Photoshop. I wanted it to have a turn of the century, carnival genre look to it. I hand painted it on the crate.

The aging process of the wood was done in two stages, distressing the surface to make it look worn and scarred through years of use and then further enhancing the illusion of age through discoloring and staining. The natural aging process has a definite quality that’s subtle but distinct, surfaces that are handled more wear and color differently it was a fascinating study. I visited antique and junk stores observing the distinct qualities of the aging process.

The metal trim is actually aluminum angle stock (aluminum for lighter weight) this was aged to look like weathered copper or rusted steel. Two products were used, one that coated the aluminum with super fine steel particles and then another product that caused rapid oxidation of the surface creating rust. I gave this a light brushing of steel wool and then some subtle hints of patina.

I’m more conditioned to take something very old and make it look brand new again. This was an interesting challenge because here the goal was to take something brand new and make it look very, very old.


The Great Houdini

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The Great Houdini
(March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926)

Graphite on board 16” X 20” – Steven Paul Carlson – Gicleé prints available

The center portrait was created from Houdini’s favorite publicity photo.

On the left Houdini is performing his “challenge handcuff” act; it was in escapes, not magic, that Houdini would find his great success.

On the right is Houdini’s most famous escape, the Chinese Water Torture Cell.  Houdini affectionately referred to it as The Up Side Down.  Contrary to common belief Houdini did not die performing this act.

In the center are the Famous Mirror handcuffs, a custom set of cuffs made as a special challenge for Houdini by the London Daily Mirror in 1904. It was reported that 4000 people and more than 100 journalists turned out for the much-hyped event at London’s Hippodrome theater. The escape attempt dragged on for over three hours.  When Houdini finally emerged free he broke down and wept when he was paraded on the shoulders of the cheering crowd. Houdini later said it was the most difficult escape of his career.


Harry Houdini

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Harry Houdini
(March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926)

Graphite on board 16” X 20” – Steven Paul Carlson – Gicleé prints available

Caught here in a rare moment of repose Houdini was a Hungarian-American magician and escapologist, stunt performer, actor and film producer. He was also a skeptic who set out to expose frauds purporting to be supernatural phenomena. For the majority of his career, Houdini performed his act as a headliner in vaudeville. For many years, he was the highest-paid performer in American vaudeville.

Born Erik Ivan Weisz (he would later spell his birth name as Ehrich Weiss) in Budapest, Hungary, on March 24, 1874, Houdini later claimed in interviews to have been born in Appleton, Wisconsin, on April 6, 1874.
His parents were Rabbi Mayer Samuel Weisz (1829 – 1892)
and his wife Cecilia Steiner (1841 – 1913).   Houdini was one of seven children.


Professor Steven Paul Carlson’s Traveling Magic & Mystery Show

Steven Carlson

Professor Steven Paul Carlson’s traveling magic and mystery show.  Magic that mystifies the mind, enriches the soul, and delights the heart!  Acclaimed by the Crowned Heads of Europe!

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Buffalo Bill

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Buffalo Bill

William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody
(February 26, 1846 – January 10, 1917)

American soldier, bison hunter and showman Buffalo Bill was born in the Iowa Territory (now the American state of Iowa), near LeClaire. He was one of the most colorful figures of the American Old West, and mostly famous for the shows he organized with cowboy themes.  Buffalo Bill received the Medal of Honor in 1872.

Graphite on board 16 x 20 by Steven Paul Carlson, Gicleé prints available.