Aaron Isted often disappears off the Island for a while, but that is not one of his many tricks! Aaron has built a reputation as an excellent magician and illusionist, and as such has been invited to display his talents not just nationwide, but as far away as the United States.

The 23 year-old from Ventnor captivates audiences wherever he goes, and has graduated from just working his magic at small functions and gatherings to performing high profile stunts that have left onlookers gasping in disbelief.

Aaron has recently returned from his second visit to the US, and Island Life caught up with him to see just what prompted him to take up his unusual profession, and what plans he has for the future.

He revealed that it all began when he was just five years old, and like so many youngsters of that age he was given a magic set for Christmas. But instead of opening the box, having a look at it, and then discarding it in favour of another present, he persevered.

“I had a Paul Daniels set because he was big at the time, and I enjoyed doing the tricks. I’ve got a brother and two sisters, and I am sure they had magic sets as well, but never really bothered with them. I started buying books about magic and remember going to the magic shop in Shanklin to buy my first proper trick.

“I had a lot of encouragement from my family, who would sit and watch my tricks, even if they weren’t enjoying it. Seriously they were very supportive, and if I got a trick wrong, I would keep practising until I got it right. I used to do a little show at Christmas, and my grandfather, who is a carpenter, built me a small table with the word ‘Magic’ written on the front.”

Aaron attended St. Boniface Primary, Ventnor Middle and Medina High Schools and then studied graphic design photography at the IW College. He has used that to good advantage since, using his skills not only to design his website but to also plan some of his tricks and illusions.

“I was doing magic while I was at College, but I thought graphic design would help teach me to do it that bit better. I also did magic at school, and when I was old enough I started going into a few restaurants and hotels on the Island to perform. At one time I used a ‘trick pack’ of cards for a certain trick, but now I use standard playing cards for all my tricks.”

One trick that always captivates his audience is when someone signs a card, returns it to the pack, and Aaron produces it from inside his wallet that has been tucked away in an inside pocket!

He decided he wanted to become a professional magician and illusionist while he was at High School, and even though he won the school’s Entertainer of the Year award, one teacher wrote on his end-of-term report ‘put those cards away!’ He smiled: “I did get told off a few times!”

As his career blossomed he was inspired by the likes of renowned stars David Blaine and David Copperfield, and although he still does his ‘close up’ magic, he has moved on to perform some amazing big-stage illusions, which have mesmerised his audiences on the Island.

At Cowes Yacht Haven he hung upside down in a straight jacket, 40ft in the air while the rope that was supporting him was gradually burning through. He escaped safely to reveal: “That was a really good one, and went down well. It was my first big stunt and there were about 4,000 people there to watch.”

On another occasion he climbed into a box and was hoisted into the air by a crane. Suddenly the box crashed to the ground and smashed into pieces – and incredibly Aaron revealed himself as the crane driver.

An audience at Sandown Carnival will recall how, on the beach, he was put in a box that was soaked in petrol and put on the top of a bonfire, which was lit. There were gasps all round as the flames engulfed the box – before Aaron reappeared as a fireman to put out the blaze!

“I design the tricks and the way they are going to be done, and I try to do things that have not been seen on the Island before. I am already working on a big stunt for next year, but I am not giving away any of the secrets just yet,” he said. “But one stunt can take up to a year to plan and perfect, because you only get one shot at it.

“A lot of people used to ask me what I was going to do for a real job, but I was determined, and hopefully what I do will inspire other people who want to do jobs that are not one of the basics. My mum and dad have always been supportive, and even took me to Blackpool for a magic convention for my 16th birthday. When you get to see those types of people performing live and get to talk to them it is very inspirational.”

Aaron went to Las Vegas in 2008 where he had the pleasure of being on stage with his idol David Copperfield, and more recently he worked on the East Coast of the US, where his audience included the Senator of Pennsylvania, and the Pittsburgh Steelers American football team.

As a member of the famous Magic Circle and the prestigious International Brotherhood of Magicians, his reputation continues to grow. And since his performances in the US, he has now been accepted into the Society of American Magicians. He said: “Magic is big in the States, especially in Las Vegas where there are about 15 different shows on every day. There are a lot of big-name performers and I have met some of them which has provided invaluable experience.”

Aaron will be on the Island for the next couple of months, but there is little time for rest. He wants to produce his own magic set in the future, continue stage shows and perform more major illusions. He smiled: “I would love to do my own show in Las Vegas for a couple of years. But it’s always good to come back and perform on the Island.”