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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 4:26 am 
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All of my trees in my collection were purchased at bonsai nurseries through out the years, since I don't have any place to do any collecting. .....
..... No matter how long I have this tree and how ever many years I pluck needles from it and feed it, and the hours I will spend on it rewiring it, I will never be able to take credit for being the artist. For that I do feel somewhat bad because this will probably be my favorite tree in my collection, and none of it being my own work or creation as you would say. The price you pay for having a beautiful work of art I guess.

This is the way many Japanese enthusiasts gets their bonsai. Often they also place them in a nursery, making them taking care of the tree at a daily basis. Also getting help when they are working on these.
Others, do it all from scratch. Collecting and styling and all the work of daily care.
We are just different people. Some are more collectors, others will only have a bonsai they have styled form raw material i.e.
This does not make any difference to the bonsai or the beauty of it. It only makes a difference to the owner.
As Colin states. The only thing to be judged, is the bonsai.
Regards
Morten


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 8:48 am 
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Morten Albek wrote:
This does not make any difference to the bonsai or the beauty of it. It only makes a difference to the owner

Beautifully said.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 2:20 pm 
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Pre bonsai is possibly growed by men, bonsai is styled by men, but not made by men, yamadori is for sure not men's work alone. We prune and bend, but the tree has to response and work even harder.
Art is totally men?s work.
Bonsai is therefore not an art form in the pure definition of art.
It is still discutable to have bonsai competitions with winners and prices.
Paintings exhibitions are not competitions any way, so why do we need a bonsai competition, decide about the artist(s) works, and point his/their credits ? Bonsai exhibitions will be better suitable .... as it is to prevent such never ending discussions...
Exhibitions means looking at and enjoying. That's all we need, as audiance.
Give the trees their credits, too!
I'm tired about the ridiculous prices!
The owner must enjoy it to show his/her bonsai, not more and not less.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:11 pm 
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Ron Sudiono wrote:
Pre bonsai is possibly growed by men, bonsai is styled by men, but not made by men, yamadori is for sure not men's work alone. We prune and bend, but the tree has to response and work even harder.
Art is totally men?s work.
Bonsai is therefore not an art form in the pure definition of art.

Using this logic, you could claim that since man did not make the stone, scupture is not art either....as with all arts, it matters not where the material came from, but what was created with it and the person who did the creating should get the credit for it.

Will


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 2:06 am 
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Will Heath wrote:
Using this logic, you could claim that since man did not make the stone, scupture is not art either....as with all arts, it matters not where the material came from, but what was created with it and the person who did the creating should get the credit for it.

Will

In most statements there are borderlines. The test is simple: ask 100 people about it. I believe that the result will be that most of the people agree that stones are something totally different than yamadori's and sculputes differ from bonsai. It is about the degree or amount of work "nature" delivers, compared to the work of men. The simplest criterium will be life: stones doesn't grow, live or change at one man's life, or even in one year, plants do.
So, for me: bonsai is a creation by men & nature, at equally basis.
Departing from this logic, men should not discussing the bonsai as their art work; and in fact argueing about glory, pride, and money.
I stand for the credits of the tree in this discussion. The tree who doesn't speak and argue, but show his beauty in silent, time after time, again and again after being shaped and tortured... and cared for, too.


Last edited by Ron Sudiono on Sat Oct 13, 2007 9:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:29 am 
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This reminds me of an incident at the Versailles, France convention. I did an extensive tree critique about my exhibited trees for a small audience. They were not bonsai people, but arts folks who happened to come by to visit the exhibit. One turned out to be an art professor of some kind. At some point in my tree critique he said something like 'Well, this sounds kind of arrogant to me. It sounds like you believe that YOU have created this tree'. 'Oh really?', I said, 'and who do think has created this tree?'. 'Well, everybody can see this. Nature has created it and did a very good job'. 'Thank you very much, this is a great compliment. I have worked on this tree for decades. Every single millimeter was carefully designed by me. I let nature do it's job according to my will as an artist. My intention was to do this to such a degree that an unassuming viewer would think that it is clearly a product of nature, and nature alone. So it seems that I have succeeded.'
Walter


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 9:59 am 
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Walter Pall wrote:
Every single millimeter was carefully designed by me. I let nature do it's job according to my will as an artist. My intention was to do this to such a degree that an unassuming viewer would think that it is clearly a product of nature, and nature alone. So it seems that I have succeeded.'
Walter

No doubt, such comment is the best quality test of your bonsai ... or is it your ability to make this bonsai, or is it somewhere between ?
"I let nature do it's job" sounds like showing a kind of superiority (of men above trees) without showing a great respect to nature. Think about it the way around: without a tree, you will be no bonsaiist at all. The tree and the bonsai are your best friends, not your art product or resource to polish your ego.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 10:49 am 
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Ron Sudiono wrote:
Think about it the way around: without a tree, you will be no bonsaiist at all. The tree and the bonsai are your best friends, not your art product or resource to polish your ego.

This open ended statement really makes little sense in the realm of art. Used in other venues it makes as little sense.
Without your paint you would be no painter at all.
Without your stone you would be no sculpture at all.
Without your piano you would be no musician at all.
To all, I would say, of course not. The paint, the stone, the piano are the mediums the artist uses to create their art. Without the artist, they are nothing but raw material and could never achieve art on their own.
The tree, like the paint and stone are indeed the product of the artist.

Will


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 1:23 pm 
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Will
I don?t speak to plants, I don?t communicate with it, and the plant is definitely not intelligent at all .... but I always intend to be humble to it, to approach it as a valueable living thing, because without it, I have an empty hand... and I will be bored without a beautifull bonsai, right ? After all, why do people do bonsai ?
To develop their sense of beauty (to enjoy)
To develop their esthetical sense (to distinguish one from others)
To develop the Self (to be able to be proud of)
To me, men and tree are the artists... together. It is slightly different than the notion that I'm the maker and the bonsai is my product. Can you grasp this vision ? Is it really so different than yours ? Tell me.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 4:01 pm 
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Ron Sudiono wrote:
Will
To me, men and tree are the artists... together. It is slightly different than the notion that I'm the maker and the bonsai is my product. Can you grasp this vision ? Is it really so different than yours ? Tell me.

Ron, I like your thinking. It works for me.
Mike


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 4:14 pm 
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I like to think that the trees that do what I want or even better, love me because I love them.
Walter


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:30 pm 
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Ron Sudiono wrote:
Walter Pall wrote:
[i]Every single millimeter was carefully designed by me. I let nature do it's job according to my will as an artist. My intention was to do this to such a degree that an unassuming viewer would think that it is clearly a product of nature, and nature alone. So it seems that I have succeeded.'[/i]
Walter

[i]"I let nature do it's job" sounds like showing a kind of superiority (of men above trees) without showing a great respect to nature.[/i] quote]

If you feel that strong about respect for nature, you will have a problem practising Bonsai.....trees don't grow natural in small pots you know?
Regards,
Hans van Meer.


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 Post subject: me myself and I
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 8:40 pm 
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First time poster.
All of the best pottery that came out of China over 400 years ago was made by nameless potters.
All of the best pots that the Japanese then copied around 150 years ago were made by nameless potters.
The beautiful works of cermaic art that illiterate nameless Korean peasants made hundreds of years ago were far superior in the eyes of great aesthetes of the time.
Only when they started putting their seals and signs on the pots did they become more about the name than the product.
anybody see a pattern here?
I am a bonsai professional and have no problem with other people taking credit for my work, if somebody pays me to work on their trees then I create something that will stay alive, sell, please them or satisfy whatever they required my skills for. The only thing I need credit for is to buy my girlfriend a new handbag.
Making my own trees is a different story. Then I make something which pleases me, myself and I..."style is surely our own thing, not the false disguise of showbiz"


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 6:25 pm 
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After reading this entire discussion, I have changed my mind on the subject at least twice. Very compelling arguments for all the finer points of this debate. I especially loved Al's insights into maintaining an important collection. Although I love Will's parallels into the art world and all the similarities that would pertain here (such as: assistants to masters not receiving any credit, patrons buying a tree just for the "signature" and prestige associated with owning a tree by so-and-so, etc.) IMO the art of bonsai is not always related to oil paintings in museums. I too was surprised by the diminutive size of the Mona Lisa, but I would be willing to guess that it was precisely the same painting I saw that Will saw, regardless of how many years passed in between. The resins that hold the pigment to the canvas have long forgotten the oil that moved it around. A bonsai would not survive long if locked behind bullet proof glass in an air tight chamber. When I do finally make it to see "Goshin" in person, it will likely not be the same as the day John Naka created it. It will be different, but with the same spirit.

Here is my point of view based on a different analogy. If a canine enthusiast is traveling abroad and discovers an exceptionally fine Standard Poodle, with an excellent pedigree, that has been well cared for and nurtured since infancy, he might negotiate a fair price and bring the dog home. He would then set about to hire an excellent professional handler who would resume the responsibilty of training and careing for the promising dog. An employee at the handler's facility would likely begin grooming and conditioning the coat. On the day of the show, that employee would put the dog in his very best "show trim" (this takes many hours of detailed work and concentration) and the handler would then take the dog around the ring. If the dog wins Best In Show that night the credit (and the prize money, if there is any) would go to the owner, everyone in the hobby/sport would more likely credit the handler and the employee goes home with a pay check. Dogs, like trees, are not static works of art and are therfore judged "on the day". The same dog may not even make the cut at a different show because of condition, or poor presentation. You can see my point here.

If the owner saw something in that tree compelling enough to desire to buy it, brokered a fair price for it, is maintaining it or slightly restyling it, has hired someone or taken it to a workshop, is ultimately responsible for the decisions, well, it's his tree.....for that moment. I think that the history of the trees is part of what makes them so interesting and whenever possible an account of who has done what is great and only can enhance the enjoyment. Perhaps the credit could be listed as follows: Joe Smith's tree, initial design by Master So-and-so, collected ____, imported from____,purchased in_____,etc. Whatever events or influences most contributed to what the tree is today. When a tree is in a competition, it is a competitive sport and most of the players know the stats of their competitors. Usually the folks who thought they should have done better will find "evidence" of collusion or unfairness; the winners hardly ever do. I understand the pride of being the sole creator and owner of a tree (I hope a few that I am working on turn out all right) but if you are a purist bonsai artist who will only have in your collection trees that you have created from scratch and you can't stand the thought of any one else ever changing or taking credit for your handiwork, then I recommend the following plan: Never accept a tree offered as a gift; Never buy a tree you find beautiful or compelling, especially from an artist of any note; Never sell a tree- no matter how much money you are offered for it, and finally: Never give away or donate any of your trees- no matter how charitable or important the collection. Clearly this approach would limit what I think of as the best part of experiencing bonsai within the community and takes some of the joy out of it. Best of luck in competition though.

Forgery wouldn't pay off in the long term and I like the remark earlier that a true artist would never enter someone else's work as their own.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 7:58 pm 
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One more thought:

To support Will with his art analogy and since Andy Warhol's name was already mentioned it seems to me...

Andy didn't design the Campbell's soup can, he just presented it in a different way to the general public, how is that any different than the following scenario?:

Bonsai Artist A works on a tree for many, many years, then he decides that he's taken the design as far as it can go, or he's bored with it, or whatever and decides to sell it to Bonsai Artist B who then cleans it up, rewires the fine branches, plants it in an impressive and appropriate pot, plants lovely fresh green moss, enters it in a competition shortly thereafter and low and behold wins a prize. Bonsai Artist A feels he should have received credit for his many, many years of styling work. Well, He could have done the same thing with the tree and entered it under his own name, but didn't. The executives at Campbell's didn't put their soup can logo in a frame and hang it on the wall either. But might have if they had only known...


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