10 Questions for ... Rafael Benatar

Photo: Cres Ramos

The questions?

1. when and why did you become a magician?

I had some magic around me as a kid. My father was an amateur magician and, Gran Henry a Spanish magician who emigrated to Venezuela became his friend. But I began to think more seriously about it much later when my father took me and my brothers on a trip to the US and we spent an evening in the Magic Castle. Shortly after, while studying music in London, I picked up a few books from my father’s library and figured out that one could learn from books. Then I started to buy some good books, mostly on card magic, I learned by myself, through books and practice. Then I moved to Basle, Switzerland, and joined a magic club for the first time.

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

A mix between fun and serious. I am joyful and lighthearted, and take things seriously.

3. how would you describe your style?

Took a while to discover it. I was trouble in school-not a bad kid but the class clown. I enjoyed entertaining my classmates. Got kicked out of school. When I discovered music I became a little serious on the surface. Then I got into magic without the typical magic set. I had seen Martín Nash at The Magic Castle, and started studying magic seriously. Years later, when I began performing professionally, I remember what I had learned in school.

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

I have admired and learned from many magicians and being inspired by Dai Vernon and his books and philosophy. Later by Ascanio and Tamariz. But never really asked Roland models, probably because I started as an adult. I am inspired by exploring the weaknesses of human perception and finding the way around it

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

It’s all about communication. I want to mystify and entertain them I’m a try to make them have the time of their lives.

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

A place with a good atmosphere that allows an intelligent audience to relax and follow what I’m doing. But the perfect time place just arise when you least expect it. You can happen anywhere, when all the elements are in your favor.

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

I don’t systematically try to get out of my comfort zone. Sometimes I do, but it’s not all that important to me.

8. what role does social media play for you?

Same as for most people. Nice to expand our horizons and keep in touch with the world, but I try not to be consumed by it.

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

My main goals are always related to learning. The little goals of learning or improving something. Adding it all together I come to my long-term goal. Nothing fixed in time or space— continuous personal development.

10. what advice would you give to young magicians?

Learn the fundamentals and distinguish them from the latest cool thing. Don’t think you know something just because you are aware of the secret. There is no replacement for work and dedication.

*This interview was conducted in English.


Rafael Benatar (* 29 January 1956 in Caracas, Venezuela). Benatar currently lives in Madrid, Spain. He is a professional magician and author. In addition to his profession as a magician, he is a renowned performer on the lute and guitar. He graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1981. In Spain he joined the Spanish Society of Illusionism (SEI) and the Escuela Magica de Madrid. He is one of the few magicians to perform regularly in all three halls of the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

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