Luckily, its not an either or situation. Many in our field do both. Sometimes one , sometimes the other and you can do both in the same show. Some even throw a little pickpocketing into the mix.
At times, as a magician, you may be asked, “How did you do that?” If I’m asked that question I usually smile and say “I thought I did it very well.” Of course it’s not the answer they want, but just because someone asks a question, does not mean you have to answer it. At the same time, you don’t want to be rude or dismiss anyone. It’s better to get a laugh out of them. You all know the lines, “I’d tell you but then I’d have to kill you.” or “Can you keep a secret? Yes? So can I.” and I’m sure there are other lines like that.
The thing I don’t say is that I have special powers, even though I do. The power I have that they don’t have is knowledge on that subject. I know how the trick is done and I learnt how to do it. I learnt what lines to say to distract them so they don’t have time to think and figure it out. That’s the special power I have. I don’t tell them that of course. But they too could have that power, if they took the trouble to buy the trick and learn all the ins and outs, especially the outs, if you get my meaning! Some do. Some don’t. We perform for those who don’t or won’t learn. If we’re great at it, those who have learned will appreciate us, perhaps even more that those who have not.
Just something to think about!