10 Questions for ... Giacomo Bertini

Photo: Riccardo Faldi

The questions?

1. when and why did you become a magician?

I was 5 years old and I was a child who could not even write! But I remember seeing on Italian television Silvan, with his program “Sim Sala Bim.” A popular TV show that was in the mid-1970s in Italy, that made me discover magic. At that time, unfortunately, there were no magic stores in Italy. Three years later, while on vacation in Paris, my parents bought me a magic book from a small street vendor at a flea market called La Foire aux trucs. My first real magic book was “Tours Divers” published by Payot. Then I went to the Mayette magie moderne store, which at that time was run by Michel Hatte, and bought the “Boules Excelsior,” my first magic trick. From the beginning, I was attracted to manipulation, everything the magician did through skill and dexterity, using techniques that could be learned through years of training and study. That is why I decided to devote myself to Close-up.

2. how would you characterise yourself in a few words?

I wouldn’t know how to define myself, I don’t like self-definitions and self-praise, I generally prefer others to talk about me. But this being an interview question, I would say I could define myself as a creative artist in illusionism working through his hands.

3. how would you describe your style?

This is a difficult question, and again I would prefer the spectators to answer it. As a spectator, I am fascinated by all styles of magic. Honestly, whether it is Close-up, stage magic, mentalism, comic magic; if a style is artistically well executed it is beautiful. I really love seeing all the different aspects and genres of magic! And as a performing magician, my preference is for Close-up magic. So probably My style is more directed to Close up in general and coin manipulation, and I like to think of it as having a Musical and Descriptive rhythm and dedicated to improvisation. Often when I can improvise I do the best performances.

4. who and what inspires you for your art and who are your most important role models?

My rolemodels in the way of magical art are numerous:
The first was Michael Rubinstein. When I met him I was a child, and I didn’t know much about coin magic; it was a revelation to me! Thanks to him. I was able to learn all the basic techniques and classics on the subject, which allowed me to develop my own system and develop my own techniques, which I then had the opportunity to share with great satisfaction with the magic community.
With Rubinstein I learned a concrete, existing and technical methodology. With Roth I deeply understood the importance of a system and a method of manipulation related to individual techniques, which allowed me to develop a personal vision as a result. Other magicians who influenced me were: Dai Vernon, Tony Slydini, Al Goshman, Bertram Ross, and, of course, John Ramsay.
Apart from the world of magicians, I really like movies, and filmmakers like Charlie Chaplin, Stanley Kubrick, Brian De Palma, Sergio Leone, and many others… I especially like music and especially jazz, because it uses the same principles of improvisation that I have found to be present in the magical art of close-up in particular.
Then I like to play chess, and the chess method inspired me to build my own coin manipulation system.

5. what do you want to trigger in the audience with your art?

This is a difficult question: my purpose is not to inspire something in particular, partly because the subjective of each spectator is different, each spectator always has a different emotion from the other. However, I would be satisfied if I could inspire awe , harmony, and relaxation, like the one I had the first time when I saw a magic show. So perhaps I would like to bring out the “child” part that is often hidden in spectators.

6. what is the perfect time and place for the viewer to enjoy your art?

I don’t think there are ideal places. I think more about ideal moments where the viewer and the magician want to share an artistic experience together. My magic even though it is called Close-up magic, today it can be shown anywhere, whether in the theater (thanks to new technology with large screens and cameras), on television, or in small public or private places. The advantage of close-up magic is that it can be performed anywhere, even on a table with a few people around. I also often work at corporate events directly at tables during dinner parties.

7. how important is it for you to leave your comfort zone in art?

Honestly maybe I didn’t understand this question exactly, But if the question wanted to know whether I usually perform close-up magic, or I happen to do other things my answer is:
I usually perform close-up magic shows exclusively. I do sometimes do children’s shows though, but that’s something I used to do more in the past.

8. what role does social media play for you?

Social media at the moment does not play a particular role, because I am incapable of working assiduously with social, I am discontinuous as a character, I do not follow the strict rules of social media, which would like me to work for them every day. Lately I have been devoting more to my youtube channel, in which I like to post when I have time my best videos and Tutorials. So if there is anyone who likes my magic, I would tell them to go and check out my youtube channel (youtube.com/@giacomobertinimagic)

9. what are your short and long term goals or aspirations for your career as a magician?

My short-term goals: I am very dedicated to teaching magic to aspiring magicians, both online on the Internet and directly through conferences and workshops and at magic congresses. So next year, in collaboration with my friend Bill Cheung, we are preparing a magic congress the European Close-up Magic Symposium, in his magic theater in Vienna, late September 2023. As a long-term aspiration: after my first book written by Stephen Minch, “Giacomo Bertini’s System for Amazement,” of which the second edition will be released in the coming months, again with Penguin publishing, and I am therefore extremely happy about it, I would like to publish a second book. II have enough new and never published material to do so, and I hope to accomplish this goal soon in the next few years.

10. what advice would you give to young magicians?

The first advice to everyone is to try to be yourself. Don’t be in a hurry. Try things many many times, until you find exactly what you like best about the thing you are trying, that way you will automatically discover new things. Work on yourself, try to understand your emotions and how you usually express them normally, then commit yourself completely, in every way to make your emotion come through. Try to be as original as possible, not copying another artist’s act, but drawing inspiration from just a few important aspects. Try to build your character with what you like and according to your own style. Remember that it is not necessary to copy to do something well. If you copy something without creating something you will never be an artist, but you will be at best a good craftsman.

*This interview was conducted in Italian.


Giacomo Bertini (* 09 February 1965 in Florence/Italy) is an Italian magician and author of specialized books.

BBertini became interested in the art of magic at an early age and developed his own inimitable style of magic with coins. He works as a guest lecturer in addition to his work as a performer.

His book ‘Giacomo Bertini’s System For Amazement’, written by Stephen Minch, is a highly recommended book with detailed descriptions of his coin magic.

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