Evan Scott is a 13-year-old Floyds Knobs magician who is pulling a lifetime talent out of his hat.
By Steve Kaufman
Photos by Tony Bennett
MANY 13-YEAR-OLDS can’t wait to grow up. They can’t wait until they’re tall enough to touch the rim, or big enough to get a job and earn some money, or old enough to learn to drive a car.
Evan Scott, an eighth grader at Holy Family Catholic School in New Albany, has a very specific “can’t wait”: He can’t wait until his hands have gotten big enough to more easily palm a playing card.
Evan’s a magician. He has even gone past “budding magician” and performed locally at kids’ birthday parties and wedding showers, and he has entertained seniors. He also did a gig at Downs After Dark not long ago. His magic is on YouTube, and he has exchanged tricks with professionals like Shin Lim and Mat Franco.
That’s not mere entertain-your-friends abracadabra. Franco was the Season Nine winner of ” America’s Got Talent.” Shin Lim was named the 2015 champion card trick magician by the Fédération Internationale des Sociétés Magiques.
In the parlance of the industry, Evan preforms “close-up” magic, the intimate art of sleight-of-hand: card tricks, dice, coins, cup-and-balls. he turns jokers into aces before your eyes. He pulls “your card” out of his mouth. he turns your ace of hearts into an ace of spades. He makes cards disappear from one place and reappear across the table.
If you Google “Evan’s Amazing Magic,” you can catch some of his tricks.
His mother, Jill Scott, thinks the magic journey began when he was 11 and his grandmother showed him a simple card trick.
It was a pretty simple mathematical trick, ” Evan recalls, “having to do with figuring out the number of cards in a pile.”
A few months later, says Jill, Evan was home sick with a fever. Restricted from going outside to play ball, he was told to “find something else to do.” He went online and discovered magic tricks.
“He fell in love with magic and he was off,” Jill says. “I can’t begin to calculate the number of hours he devoted to learning tricks.”
Nor can she recall the number of hours her son has spent performing in front of his family.
“It was constant with him,” says Jill. “If we would sit there 24 hours a day, he would perform for us 24 hours a day.” (“Us” is parents Jill and Vaughan Scott, sister Jacqueline, 15, and brother Charlie, 10.)
They’re encouraged to critique the act. Jill says Evan is beyond wanting them to say “good job.”
“He wants to know if we saw the trick, so he can fix it. But honestly, we don’t see the trick anymore.”
Jacqueline, in typical older sister mode, will often say, “Evan, I told you, ‘No, I don’t want to see any more,’ ” says Jill. “She’ll humor him at times, and at other times tell him to buzz off.”
Eventually, the Scotts took Evan to MagiFest in Columbus, Ohio, and to the Indianapolis Winter Magic Festival, where they saw Shin Lim perform.
“I suggested Evan invite Shin Lim for lunch,” Jill recalls. The Boston-based hipster who does his card tricks to music couldn’t have been nicer. “Magicians are very generous people, willing to help each other with their trade and exchange tips.”
On a trip to Las Vegas, the Scotts caught Mat Franco’s act at the LINQ Hotel. Evan approached Franco after the show, and the magician asked to see one of Evan’s tricks.
“Evan did his ‘card fly’ trick, and Mat Franco said ‘Wow!’ ” Jill says. “He gave Evan his contact information, and encouraged him to follow up if he ever had any questions.”
A Las Vegas act is, perhaps, in Evan Scott’s future. And it’s definitely a future he’s shooting for, going to conventions and watching the professionals perform – “learning and absorbing everything I can,” he says. “I like the tricks that get the best reaction from the audience, the ones with the most interaction.”
But for now, he’s still developing his craft, especially the ability all magicians need to manipulate their hands with flourish and dexterity. “I love card tricks and I think that’s where I’m strongest,” he says. “It’s pretty much endless what you can do with a deck of cards.”
“His biggest challenge is that, at 13, his hands aren’t very big and a lot of moves require you to palm a card or hold it a certain way,” says Jill. “But his father is 6-foot-3 with big hands, so Evan has hope.”
In the meantime, he’s getting increasing calls to perform locally. “He usually performs for several company Christmas parties each year,” says father Vaughan, “and he has performed during a company’s 100th anniversary celebration, at trade shows, etc.” Which is only creating more tension between Evan and his sister.
“She babysits for $8 or $10 an hour and Evan gets between $75 to $100 per hour, plus tips,” Vaughan says. “His biggest haul thus far was $700 to $800 in one evening. Not bad for a 13-year-old.”
The Magician’s Favorite Trick
Evan Scott is always adding to his magic repertoire. But his favorite trick is with a deck of cards with 52 blank faces. But as he displays and fans them, deals them out onto a table and waves his hands, the faces of the cards turn from blank to regular patterns of numbers and suits. And the backs of the cards, and ordinary black and white pattern when he begins, suddenly become all the colors of the rainbow right before your eyes.
It may be a special deck from a magic shop, but that’s beside the point. The trick, says young Evan, is in the way the magician’s hands manipulate the cards, and also manipulates what the viewer is looking at – and not looking at.
If you look at Evan’s online videos or go see a performance of his, you’re probably looking at the future of magic.
You can reach Evan Scott via email at email@example.com