For you card playing aficionados, we have a treat for you. Meet Art of Play, a collection of the finest playing cards in the world, featuring hand-painted works of art, award-winning design and illustration, and luxury packaging. Truly, these are playing cards you’ve likely not seen before. So whether you’re using cards as a magician, cardistry, for poker or just collecting, they’re top shelf all the way.

Story By: Christian B
Images By: Art of Play

Ferrvor got to know the masterminds behind the Art of Play, Dan and Dave Buck, and talk a little shop.

Gents, welcome and thanks for taking the time to talk with Ferrvor! I guess the obvious first question would be, how long have you been into playing cards?

We’ve each been interested in playing cards for almost two decades. Since we’re twins, when we both became interested in magic, we pushed each other to constantly improve and learn. Even though we did big stage tricks for a while, we eventually became laser focused on card magic. As we learned more, we started competing against one another to see who could come up with better sleight of hand techniques or take a more visual approach to magic. We also fostered a love for design and filmmaking from an early age, so we’ve always had visual interests. It made perfect sense for us to develop our own playing card designs once we’d become established within the magic community as innovators.

Art of Play Aice in Wonderland

Tell us a bit about how Art of Play started, and the inspiration behind it?

We were producing and selling our own playing cards on for many years, but as the custom playing card scene broadened and expanded, we felt that there ought to be a shop dedicated to these beautiful playing cards from artists all over the world. We wanted to showcase the art of playing cards and other gaming items, and we’ve been lucky, through Art of Play’s success, to foster some of the better Kickstarter playing card projects. We were inspired by highly curated shops like the trendy boutiques popping up all over America. We only sell the best, and that’s something our customers have come to expect and count on.

How do you think the card playing culture has changed through the years? Has social media and online game play, played a factor?

Of course card playing culture has been influenced by the internet and social media. But all social activities have become more accessible in this way. There are apps for every card game and board game imaginable, so we think people are more knowledgable about the games that take they’re interest. And perhaps the immediacy of online gaming has impacted playing style, but we think people still crave getting together, slowing down, and holding real playing cards or tossing real dice. We don’t ever see that social aspect changing.

Art of Play Ultimate Deck

Do you play a lot of card games yourself?

It’s a little funny. We each have a deck of cards in our hand, probably 80% of our day, but we’re usually practicing Cardistry, like contact juggling with playing cards, or sleight of hand techniques. While we’re familiar with many card games, we honestly don’t play that many. And honestly, most of our friends shouldn’t be trusted at a card table.

Ha, nice. Speaking of, in your opinion, what makes for a perfect card game night?

The perfect cocktail, of course. In everything we do, we try to create a particular atmosphere. So if we’re hosting a game night, we’ll try to match the cocktail to the game. Playing Gin – Moscow Mule. Texas Hold’Em – Old Fashioned. Pinochle – Aviation. The cocktail either fits the playing style of the game or the era from which it hails, which for us, makes it all the more fun.

What is your favorite card design to date?

Do you mean which of our children is our favorite? Of course we’re joking, neither of us has kids, but it is definitely a tough choice. Since it’s release, we’ve both been enamored by The ULTIMATE deck, which was designed by the inimitable agency Stranger & Stranger out of NY and London. It’s a one-of-a-kind, luxury deck of playing cards showcasing stunning works of art on every card, and every time we look at the deck, we find a new little secret.

Art of Play Aviator

One of our favorite designs is the AVIATOR. What was the importance of commemorating that special collection?

The AVIATOR deck started as a pet project. The brand was introduced in 1927 to commemorate Charles Lindbergh’s Trans-Atlantic flight, but at the time, a stock back design was used. Nearly a century later, and it was still a stock back design. So we began work on a complete overhaul of the AVIATOR brand that actually celebrated aviation, in particular, the pioneering industrialist Howard Hughes. We’ve always been big fans of the brilliant polymath, and we felt that his innovations in aviation should be honored.

With online card games being a big industry, has that affected you in a good way?

We certainly believe so. As people become more interested in gaming, it’s only natural that they would want to take their hobby out of the digital world and into reality. We’re happy to provide playing cards, and more in the future, to whomever wants the highest quality gaming paraphernalia.

Art of Play Draconian

What do you envision for Art of Play moving forward?

From the beginning we’ve envisioned Art of Play as more than playing cards, a one stop shop for the highest quality gaming goods, and very soon, we’ll expand our shop to include other gaming and entertainment products. Farther down the road we hope to be producing luxury versions of classic board games and collaborating with artists and game designers on fun and interesting projects.