Made to ‘shake foundations': Justin Miller’s BOLD Project filled with his most evocative, astonishing effects

March 7th, 2014 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under Artist Interviews

Maybe it started when he was performing in Las Vegas with Lance Burton’s show at the Monte Carlo. Maybe it was when he delivered his first magic lecture at 13, or managed a magic shop at 15. Maybe it started during his first shows, held in his garage when he was 7.

Justin Miller really can’t point to a time when he hasn’t had a fearless attitude about magic.

“It did not come overnight, but it did come easily for me,” Miller said. “I have no idea why; it just did. That’s not to say that in the beginning, 13 years old or so, that I was not shaking every time I performed for anyone, because I most definitely did!”

The more he performed, the more confident he grew in what he showed. That confidence bred an attitude to try anything and everything in order to get more astonishing reactions.

JM is regarded as a pioneer in this new era of modern close-up magic on the Internet and the creator of a long list of well-reviewed effects. Despite those high marks, Miller’s biggest reputation is in performing fearlessly, courageously in a number of magician-unfriendly situations. Noisy bars. Busy streets. Dangerous districts. Miller takes ’em all on.

It’s that drive to perform that powers The BOLD Project, filled with tricks that he said shouldn’t work, but do. Volume 1 was released this week; two more are due in the future.

Miller said that the project started from a passion to show the magic community the effects he uses on a daily basis — the ones that he relies on to produce POWERFUL reactions.

“These effects weren’t created to sell,” Miller said. “They were created to shake foundations and disturb thoughts.”

And he gets those results from a wide variety of spectators, from willing participants to downright ornery and difficult borderline hecklers.

For instance: During the first night of shooting the project in New York City, Team E was barely out the door when Miller spotted a loud group of six or seven people. “Bingo,” Miller said. He performed for the group — during the performance, they talked, yelled, joked, and even snagged the cards out of his hands and shuffled, dropping some on the ground. Unfazed, Miller finished a card to shoe routine (taught on The BOLD Project) — AND BLEW THEM AWAY. If you haven’t seen it, the full performance is on YouTube.

“Those guys are EXACTLY what I deal with on a weekly basis,” Miller said. “I love those guys. They fuel me, put a fire in me that I use to burn them.”

That fire is what BOLD is about, he said. He calls The BOLD Project his defining project; the one work he hopes to be remembered by. Filled with effects engineered to get shocking reactions, incredible insights and philosophy about performing and much more, the project reveals a side of Miller that he has kept to himself — until now. It reveals the subtleties and details that has enabled him to perform some of the most bald-faced, daring, brazen moves — all in pursuit of that magic moment where reality changes for a spectator.

“This project really shows a side of me I have never let anyone see,” he said. “But I knew it was important to be super-transparent if I was going to do this project, in order for the community to believe that these effects, methods and presentations … will not just work, but will become staples in their own sets, I knew I had to show that side of JM that I keep only to myself: my drive, my power, and ultimately my life force.”

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