When people think if a “magician,” the first image that comes to mind is a guy in a top hat pulling rabbits out of his hat. But for real magicians like Erik Casey, that common misconception is what keeps his focus laser sharp to change the public perception in regard to his craft.

Casey has been practicing magic since he was 8 years old when he started out doing coin tricks for close family and friends. Now nearly 21, he finds himself among an elite group in Florida and is considered “the next big thing” in the world of magic.

Being born and raised in Jacksonville, Casey has won contests throughout Florida and traveled all over the country learning from the best. But he does most of his work at home after his full-time job at a local law firm.

“Schools don’t have magic IP1A7504programs, so I learn by practicing and coming up with new tricks on my own time,” said Casey, whose specialty is close-up table magic while working mostly with borrowed decks of cards to maintain the legitimacy of his talents.

“I can work an hour show with just one single deck of cards,” said Casey who, unlike other magicians, has started to monetize his creative efforts by selling tricks he comes up with to buyers in Las Vegas, California and soon, Germany and Japan. These buyers resell the trick to magicians from all over.

“Besides corporate events, I don’t perform for money,” he said. “There’s a really large market for people who create their own magic and turn around and sell it, which is what I try to concentrate on. I  take old ideas from the ‘70s and ‘80s and twist their methods into new tricks.”

Casey, who creates, films and edits his own instructional DVDs, says he tries to stay away from YouTube and other video platforms when it comes to promoting his magic.

“I will only put demo videos on YouTube to sell my product, but the actual trick is packaged solely in a DVD format,” he said. “I keep my performances private because if you were to record my performance, you could probably watch it over and over again and decipher how I did the trick.”

Though the market for selling tricks is rather new, Casey believes the changes in magic over the past few years have changed the industry. When FOX aired “Masked Magician” in the mid-’90s and revealed the insider secrets about stage magic, it was considered a cardinal sin among magicians. Casey believes the show improved the industry.

“Guys like David Copperfield and David Blaine, true magicians, decided to get back to creating new magic tricks. Instead of complaining about it, Masked Magician actually forced them to create new, never before seen tricks, which keeps the industry moving forward.”

Casey caters to both the performance and sales side of magic.

“For the DVDs I create, I have to be careful in regard to which topic I choose. Any DVDs of tricks that require practice and showmanship get passed right over in lieu of the DVDs that are gimmicky. It’s the best way to get your name out there.”

Casey is working on new tricks and within the next year, he hopes to be a full-time magician. When asked if he considers his craft as art, his reply is surprisingly mature.

“Magic is made for visual stimulus in order to get reaction. What sells the magic is acting. If I did all my card tricks without speaking, without body language, just as the trick was, it wouldn’t captivate people. When people ask me if magic is art, I usually reply with a quote from Robert Houdin, the father of the modern style of conjuring: ‘A magician is only an actor playing a magician on stage.’”