Matthew started magic when he was 16 years old. When asked how he got into it, he said, “You don’t really get into magic; it gets into you.”
Growing up, he was inspired by the simplicity of the art, and at the same time amazed on how strong it impacted people in different ways. “Regardless of your age, race, religion, political background, rich or poor, there’s common denominator that all people have, and it’s that they all react,” says Matthew. “That’s what’s powerful about the art. It crosses all boundaries. It affects people positively and makes people question.”
As an artist coming straight out of high school, Matthew got into the industry and tested all his materials on the streets, bus stations, and all over his school before performing professionally for corporations at the age of 18 years old.
“I started off self-taught; no books, no DVS, just pure inspiration and the support of a loving family and peers. As time progressed I learned the sleights of the art and applied it to everyday objects using the principles of magic, allowing me to build a stronger repertoire and be more diverse. It’s a never-ending journey with magic; you truly never master a trick. You just keep going.”
Matthew was discovered on the bus by an agent who owned an entertainment company. “He was blown away by the effects he saw me producing, simply because of the fact I was only doing it for two years.”
During his post-secondary years, Matthew performed and studied at the same time, eventually completing a Business program, majoring in Marketing – Management. “To establish myself in the industry, I had to perform for a solid 2-3 years before being a full-time student in school. This needed to be done to establish myself in the market,” says Matthew.
Being a business student while pursuing his passion allowed him to market himself much stronger, appealing to more corporations rather than kids’ birthday parties. One successful program he implemented in 2010- 2013 was with the Calgary Airport Authority, where the objective of the program was to perform for delayed passengers.
“After receiving the statistics of the program, the project was a complete success for the corporation and myself. Not only did it help my brand, but it also kept me busy throughout my journey of being a student and an illusionist. I’d have to say the biggest benefit I got out of magic, other than paying for school, it helped me express myself as a person, getting me more out of my shell. And that’s something I’ll always value as I grow as an individual.”
Today, Matthew continues to perform for many repeat and new clients. He has performed for corporations such as The Bay, West Jet, First truck/Freightliner, Spruce Meadows and the University of Calgary.
“I’ve also had the pleasure to perform for various celebrities, athletes and Olympians around the world sharing my brand of magic,” says Matthew. “I’ve also been fortunate enough to get media coverage for various TV appearances across the country, newspaper articles, and even a TV appearance in Asia, the Philippines- Showtime.
“Magic is not about fooling you, but more about building that relationship,” says Matthew. “At the end of the day, obviously, most of the effects are all illusions. But it’s not about that. It’s about focusing on the outcome; seeing people smile, even something as simple as making someone’s day, or making someone believe that the impossible is possible.”
Matthew has a stage name – Acetrife, which means “Ace” to perfect, and “strife” means to struggle. “If you’re able to overcome your fears or struggles, you can achieve anything you want. In life there will always be problems for everyone out there, but it’s about growing past them that defines you.”
Matthew can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.