I agree with both Will and Mike.
Bonsai is different from other art forms in one essential way. As long as he masters the craft, even a person who lacks artistic talent, can create a very original and unique (call it artistic) bonsai. Not on a consistent basis such as a born artist, but nevertheless, he can do it.
Here is why. Forget about bonsai for a moment, and think about the art of "as found" objects. Such as viewing stones and driftwood. There are a lot of people who don't have the talent to creat great art, but have a good eye to recognize great art (critics belong to this category). These people couldn't paint a great painting, or create great art from any medium. They just don't have the talent. But they can tell when they see it. They are "above" those who can neither create nor see great art, but certainly below the talent level of an artist who can create art from any medium.
Back to the "as found" objects. These objects were already created by nature. We don't need the talent to create them. We just need to recognize them. And we are so lucky to have this luxury: we can take advantage of nature's unlimited resources, using our limited talent. All we need is to be a good critic: just recognize art in what lays in front of us, and use a little craft to bring that out.
Bonsai is a hybrid between "as found" objects and the rest of the fine arts. We use what nature created and alter it according to our vision. If we feel that we are not endowed with enough artistic talent, but feel confident that "we have an eye" for art, we always have the option to use collected material. When doing this, nature will do most of the work for us, we just have to refine it. Some material needs more "refining" than other. Some need a complete revamp. Some seems to be quite "impossible", and it needs a true artist to turn it around. But it is up to us to choose the material that is right for us. Less talent needs "easy" material. More talent can handle anything. It's like golf: with the handicap that is right for us, we all have a shot for being a champion.
The younger and more undeveloped the material, the more talent is required from the bonsaist. And growing bonsai from seed is the closest to creating art from scratch. In this case, we will need true artistic talent (and lots of time) to create a masterpiece.
So, here is the conclusion that no one said before:
Bonsai is the only art form, that allows a critic who masters the craft, to create a masterpiece. None of the other fine arts would let this happen.
Isn't this wonderful? Nature lets us take the credit for being a great artist, even if this may not be the case.
Last edited by Attila Soos on Tue Jul 18, 2006 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.