The Full Deck Challenge with Lee Allen
The word used to describe the non-magical, artistic manipulation of playing cards is generally called Cardistry. The word used to describe Lee Allen’s work where he works predominantly in the medium of fine pen and creates bizarre ‘scribblings’ on cold pressed prestige paper to produce hyper realist drawings , could very well be called CardArtistry. Lee is an artist who has set up the Full Deck Challenge where he uses a technique known as Hyper Realism to do draw an entire deck of playing cards featuring original cards from around the world.
Lee graduated from Upper Bann Institute, Ireland with a Distinction in Fine and Graphic Art in 2006. In recent years has turned his attention to showcasing his art starting, now working on a full deck of 54 playing cards supported by magicians / cardists such as Dan and Dave Buck of ArtofPlay; Chris Ramsay; Benoit Perviot; Magic Singh; Laura London; Daniel Madison and many more. The FULL DECK CHALLENGE will feature fifty-four pieces of art, each one a different playing card front and back. The photos included in this article showcase a few of Lee’s drawings.
Lee’s original idea was to use one deck of cards that he had purchased from a local corner store and draw each one of those, however he soon realized that there is an vast range of deck designs available so the project ended up taking him in a different direction. As he started to research back designs he realised these deck designs were pieces of art themselves, and so he set about contacting people online to see if they were interested in having one of their own backs featured in his series of 54. His work will eventually be exhibited and Art Of Play have offered to help him with this in the USA.
The work itself is done using very fine pens and very find scribbles that from a distance show the card in a 3 Dimensional form. The term used to describe Lee’s technique is Hyper Realism which produces an almost photographic like sketch. Hyperrealism, although photographic in essence, often entails a softer, much more complex focus on the subject depicted, presenting it as a living, tangible object. These objects and scenes in Hyperrealism paintings and sculptures are meticulously detailed to create the illusion of a reality not seen in the original photo. That is not to say they’re surreal, as the illusion is a convincing depiction of (simulated) reality. Textures, surfaces, lighting effects, and shadows appear clearer and more distinct than the reference photo or even the actual subject itself.
It takes Lee almost four days to complete one card from the time he wakes up until the time he goes to sleep. His main fear is that by the time he finishes the entire deck of 54 cards he will look back and not like any of his earlier work, something that can happen to any artist. The goal is to have an entire deck of cards with each card showcasing a different front and back design. Lee is very open to having people sending him their own designs and cards so he can include them in the project. There are also plans to showcase all the drawings in a coffee-table book as well as having an exhibition. This would also make a great touring exhibition for magic conventions around the world.
If you want to follow Lee’s progress then currently the only platform is through Instagram at “leesinstagramy.” His email is firstname.lastname@example.org
From VANISH MAGIC MAGAZINE vanishmagazine.com