Santa Clara native and professional magician James Tedrow has been fascinated with magic from a very early age. When he visited relatives in Idaho, he recalls making two apples stick together and being amazed by the impossibility of sticking them together.
“[But] it was not until I was a teenager and saw a magician at the fair in San Jose that I discovered my passion for the performance of magic,” said Tedrow.
Over the years, he continued to learn and hone his magical abilities, though it was not until he decided to devote his professional life to magic that he “discovered [his] love for balloon art.” He learned the art of balloon twisting from a friend. Today, he is able to provide impressive balloon creations as an additional service to his clients.
The quality that draws people to Tedrow’s magic performances lies in his philosophy that the magic should be performed on a level that people can understand and relate to.
“For example, when I am performing for kids, I am more energetic, fun and silly,” Tedrow explained. “I am more of a big kid just like them and sharing their amazement.”
For adolescents, he focuses more on the sleight of hand and “the skill of performing magic.” For adults, “it is more about the stories and connections we can make together.”
Children are not the only ones drawn to his balloon shows.
“People of all ages love balloons,” said Tedrow. “It is more than just the amazing designs I can create; I also entertain and engage with stories and anecdotes in the process.”
What are some of his customers’ favorite balloon creations?
“When it comes to balloons, the most popular one is the one I make first,” Tedrow said. “I do not use a menu and prefer for each guest to get creative with their requests.”
Current trends in the cartoon and television world also dictate what the most popular creations will be.
The thing Tedrow loves most about his career is “the smiles and laughter that I can create at each event.” He finds his work especially rewarding whenever volunteering at hospitals, “helping people forget about the issues they are currently going through.” He takes great joy in learning more about the people he meets and forming new friendships.
A career in magic and balloon art inevitably carries stereotypes.
“Some of the popular misconceptions about entertainers is that we are all the same [and that] most of us are clowns or only do kids’ shows,” said Tedrow. “Each of us has our own personality and style of performing.”
The job of keeping a guest entertained requires a lot of hard work beforehand.
“We spend lots of time perfecting our art with mentors, directors, coaches and other professionals along with our equipment,” said Tedrow.
To any prospective magician or balloon artist, the first words of encouragement Tedrow would give is: “Seek out a mentor or a local club. There are a lot of DVDs and information online but nothing is better than working with someone in person. It is also a lot of fun and a great way to meet new people.”
Tedrow grew up in Santa Clara and is happy to have his three children grow up in the City as well.