A little known magician, David Blaine, was getting ready to undergo a stunt conceived of, but never performed by, Harry Houdini titled, BURIED ALIVE. I was asked by the agency handling the promotion for this event, to create a nostalgic poster that would echo the original stunt Houdini had planned to perform. I immediately latched onto the magical persona that Blaine projected through his performance art. He was creepy, mysterious, and to many, just evil. He possessed all the traits of an earlier time when magic was performed for a more naive generation. Blaine's flawless slight of hand left spectators in awe or running for their lives. This dynamic reaction catapulted Blaine to stardom after his television debut in STREET MAGIC.
With the world's eyes now on Blaine's crazy antics, his next stunt would push his endurance to the limit. FROZEN IN TIME, placed Blaine in a block of ice over several days. The assembled ice block tomb eventually melted into a solid piece. Exposure to cold would pay it's toll on Blaine's physical and mental well-being. Passersby encouraged him to hang on until the dramatic conclusion that required a chain saw to release him from the icy prison. As Blaine emerged in pain, fatigued, and fragile, he would require immediate medical attention and a hospital stay to recover.
By the time Blaine conceived of VERTIGO, he and I were working directly and have ever since. This direct relationship allowed more free-flowing ideas, banter, and reworks to get things right. The posters became more personal, incorporating friends and co-workers into the artwork that were by his side through preparation of the stunts. Many of the posters contain symbolism, illusions or secrets to entertain other magicians and collectors.
Subsequent posters would follow for ABOVE THE BELOW, a 44 day stay in a glass box hanging over the Tower Bridge in London, England. DROWNED ALIVE engulfed Blaine in a spherical water world for a week at Lincoln Center in New York City.
DIVE OF DEATH and ELECTRIFIED were his last two public stunts in this poster series. A proposed stunt with a working title ATLANTIC BOTTLE CROSSING is still in waiting. The plan includes crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a free-floating bottle using natural currents to land him on the European coast after departing from New York City.
Be sure to check out the other David Blaine artwork that include custom playing card designs on the Pen+Ink+Brush page.