How Hong Kong's Star Magician Henry Harrius Creates His Illusions
January 11, 2023
Magician and illusionist Henry Harrius grew to love magic in his childhood, in a similar tale as many others in the industry.
At a young age, Henry became enthralled with the illusions and tricks of David Copperfield after first seeing his TV special shown in Hong Kong. “I was a boring kid with no interests,” Henry explains, “but magic was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in my life.”
The now-decorated magician has gained a reputation in Hong Kong and internationally as a master specialising in the secretive magical art of close-up and sleight-of-hand tricks. He won the 9th Hong Kong Close-up Magic Contest and the Asia Magic Association Close-up Magic Contest in 2014 and placed first for Hong Kong at the FISM World Championships of Magic in 2015, the equivalent of Olympics in the world of magic.
In an interview with The Beat Asia on his reputation and career as a magician, Henry recalls his auntie purchasing him a magic set and travelling to libraries to read up on magic, sustaining his newfound passion up until graduation from Hong Kong Polytechnic University with a degree in social work in 2012.
Magic was a passion that then-student was dogged in developing into a career. However, the journey to becoming a professional was a lengthy endeavour. “The first two years were tough for me. Magicians aren’t great at publicising themselves; you didn’t even know how to reach me!”
Luck struck with Henry’s involvement in a TVB series called ‘Street Sorcerers’, where the magician instantly created a local name and became recognisable in the industry, soon allowing him to turn professional. “I loved for magic for too long. Take away the magic and I have nothing left!” reflects Henry on his meteoric rise.
Henry’s niche, which has gained him a wealth of followers online and local fans, is close up magic, an intimate form of magic involving slight-of-hand tricks with coins, playing cards, cups and balls, and famously with his magic, tricks using Rubik’s cubes as popular on his Instagram.
“I invented the Rubik’s Cube tricks in 2007, but only featured it for the first time during the 2015 FISM championships, where I placed third in the Parlour Magic trophy, becoming the first person in Hong Kong to do so!”
His Rubik’s Cube magic caught the eyes of famous magicians such as Steven Brundage and Karl Hein in the 2015 competition and beyond. In 2017, Henry met fellow magician Aaron Hsing and formed a partnership to bring his Rubik’s Cube magic and other tricks to the industry.
Founding Henry Harrius Presents in 2017 with Aaron, Henry sought to capitalise on a gap in the industry locally and internationally, with a platform to sell tricks to innovate on the market of close-up magic. “Magicians are always searching for new materials to perform their magic with,” Henry said, “why not help them out?”
“Ninety percent of the time you see a magician using a Rubik’s Cube to do a magic trick, that is my invention.” Henry, alongside Aaron, had created products and guides for multiple Rubik’s Cube tricks, tricks involving vanishing bottles, magnetic tools, and other tools using technology to produce that magical sensation.
“There's a difference between revealing your secrets and teaching your secrets. If someone came to me and said, “hey Henry, I want to learn [a] trick and perform it as a magician, I am happy to teach that magic and keep that mystery kept and going.”
“If everyone didn't teach our secrets to others, one day magic will be gone. If you learn how a trick is done, you will be disappointed [laughs].”
During the pandemic, where previous local restrictions forced the magic industry to temporarily shut, preventing shows and performances from taking place, the master magician said that ‘Henry Harrius Presents’ has allowed industry leaders and budding amateurs to hone in on their art at home.
Using Instagram has allowed both Henry and his peers to use his inventions to present their magic in a safer way too, where he has achieved local viral fame through the recording of snappy tricks with the Rubik’s Cube and other everyday items. “I wanted to provide this format to people who can still see me perform magic and engage with magic in Hong Kong.”
“In Hong Kong, we have many great mentors and trade magicians, such as Harry Wong and Albert Tam, but COVID-19 has hurt magicians, and the industry is not the same as it was five years ago. This is exactly why I want to keep [filming tricks] for Instagram so thousands of people can see my work.]”
Henry will travel to Blackpool, U.K. in February for the annual Blackpool Magic Convention, joining industry friends after four years absence from the international magic gathering.
“I want to keep creating new tricks for Henry Harrius Presents. Magicians locally and internationally love the products and order worldwide. For 2023, I want to travel to different countries to do magic lectures. My intention is to make sure people know about me and my magic.”
Henry’s final quote for future magicians: “keep things rolling!”
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