Ari Slomka’s magical journey

Magician Ari Slomka performing a magic trick with cards (Matthew Sidewater / The RamPage).

Magician Ari Slomka performing a magic trick with cards (Matthew Sidewater / The RamPage).

Matthew Sidewater

Eleven years ago Ari Slomka’s father, also a magician, first introduced him to the world of magic via the “color changing handkerchief,” (a trick Slomka still uses to this day) and by making coins appear out of peoples’ ears at Thanksgiving, as well as other tricks. Ever since then, Slomka has lived and breathed magic, performing for his family, friends and classmates. In 2014, Slomka received his first magic-related job, performing magic at a local pizza-restaurant. Slomka specializes in close-up magic, which he enjoys because of its intimacy, stating “I love magic that happens in their hands and something that really involves other people.”

Matthew Sidewater / The RamPage

Currently, Slomka performs at birthday parties, as well as in school. His favorite environment to perform magic in, however, is one where everyone is willing to be entertained and have fun, not when “there is someone who just wants to figure out how the trick works.” It is most fun for Slomka when the audience is ready to have a good time.

Slomka is also an active member of the local chapter of The International Brotherhood of Magicians, a group of magicians who assemble once a month to perform for one another, talk about what charities they should perform for, and get feedback on their magic. According to Slomka, “The reason people come is to really talk magic and explore new ideas with some of the people in the club. There’s all skill levels from beginners to really experienced professionals.” The veterans of the club are are kind, and are willing to give their feedback and advice to less-experienced magicians. Other ways Slomka has learned tricks are by watching DVDs, Youtube, and downloading videos online.

In the summer of the 2017, Slomka stepped up his game by attending his first magic competition hosted by FISM. In this tournament, Slomka was judged by three groups of judges, who Slomka said were made up of “world-class magicians, magic inventors, and highly respected people within the field [of magic].” Each group judged Slomka on different criteria. Slomka was also inexperienced compared to the other contestants, and did not think that he would actually win. In the end, Slomka was awarded second place in North America (for close-up magic) because of his charisma, wit, and stage presence.

As a result of his performance, Slomka was picked by the FISM panel, along with three other contestants, to compete in Busan, South Korea in the World Championships of Magic, a magic competition drawing thousands of professional magicians from many regions, and is practically the magic equivalent of The Olympic Games. This will also be Ari’s largest tournament yet, as he will be performing close-up magic, the type of magic in which he is most proficient, in front of a few thousand audience members. Slomka thinks that his most valuable asset in this tournament is his personality, explaining, “My magic is different because of me. [That is] what the judges told me at the competition this summer.” Slomka’s tricks may not be as grandiose as the tricks of other magicians, but his tricks and his winning personality are able to entertain the audience, and entertaining the audience is one of Ari’s main goals.

Slomka has explained that he “will be competing against the best of the best of the best, and so while I made it this far, I don’t anticipate placing in the competition.” However, Slomka believes that this competition will benefit his career, as it will thrust him further into the limelight. Slomka has already been asked to write articles for magic magazines, people have attempted to recruit him for various jobs, and he has even had an article written about him in The Atlanta Jewish Times.

When asked if he could perform on stage in Las Vegas, Slomka said that he feels that he can. Last March, when Slomka watched Matt Franco, the 9th winner of America’s Got Talent, perform in Las Vegas, Slomka realized that he has the same skills and talents as Franco, and only lacked the experience and budget Franco possessed. This is what inspired him to perform in the FISM competition. As a result of Franco’s performance, Slomka realized he had the skills to compete, and was not out of his league.

However, Slomka does not know if he wants to be a magician as an adult. When asked by others, Slomka has responded with “I already am a magician.” As exhilarating as being a magician would be, Slomka feels that there is more for him to accomplish in the coming years, but he will always do magic regardless of his career, and will be known for doing magic. He’ll never quit. He also feels that he has more time to continue growing as a person, as he is only 15 years old. When asked if he would reveal his secrets during the interview, Ari gave an insightful answer: “No.”