Art Assassins
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Author:  Will Heath [ Fri Jun 24, 2005 3:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re:

Michael Thomas wrote:
I'm basically just here to soak up what I can about the innominate, often hard to explain aspects of bonsai that never come up on a normal forum and if they do, the topic quickly degrades into pointless chaos or just gets ignored.
I shudder to think of the day that this forum devolves into a place where instead of only 80% of the members posting, 80% of the posts aren't worth reading.
The potential for AOB to become an archive of poignant thought and logical discussions on bonsai and art in general are great as long as it continues to grow in the same way that it has been.

Wow, from the mind of a self proclaimed beginner comes the core truth, the reason the forum was started in the first place. Michael, you humble me and enlighten me at the same time. Excellent post, thank you.

Will Heath

Author:  Attila Soos [ Fri Jun 24, 2005 3:24 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thank you Michael for the encouraging words.
Running a website like this is often a thankless job that runs basically on enthusiasm and pizza.
It's a real energizer to get a feedback like yours once in a while.

Author:  Lisa Kanis [ Fri Jun 24, 2005 6:27 pm ]
Post subject: 

Well, this thread has had 223 viewings, so there are still interested people around who check up on the AoB. I was beginning to doubt whether there were any left, at one stage.
I find myself agreeing with you as to what the forum lacks, namely the ability to uplaod pics and articles from the members.

Thanks, Will, and yes, I received your e-mail. Thank you for that too.
I thought that one of the advantages of having a gallery might be that it is often easier to illustrate one's thoughts rather than to express them in words. Having this opportunity might appeal to those who have been silent, or nearly so, in the past.
Another advantage might be that we would get more "I see (...) and therefore... etc.", rather than "I feel". Feelings are very much interwoven with one's response to bonsai, but expressing them, and building upon them, tends to accentuate the difficulty that exists in being objective.

I have a big question, though. How can a gallery on this forum avoid becoming just a duplicate of the excellent IBC and Bonsai Talk ones?

If it can't, then there is no need for it.

Differentiation from other forums lies in the focus on the art of bonsai. OK, but how is the art to be detached from the means to achieve it? In other words, what, exactly, is the art of bonsai by itself?

It seems to me that it is important for a new gallery that this be worked out.
I hereby apologize if anything I said was construed as being personally vindictive.

Not at all, John.
I hope you won't give up on this forum and post as much as your time permits.

Thank you for your kind message, Attila.
We really want this to be as eclectic as possible.

That would be great. Bonsai is going to grow in the West regardless of Western "bonsai patriotism" (which sometimes smacks of bonsai chauvinism - sorry!). This does not mean that I dislike typically Western characteristics, far from it! I remember with enjoyment the exhibition with Udo Claassen's paintings in Germany, and Rob Kempinski's description of a show display he organised in Florida.
The potential for AoB to become an archive of poignant thought (...)

"Poignant thought?" Most people would see this as "profoundly moving".
Too much of a good thing for me! And, I suspect, for many of the silent majority also. -- Well, it takes all kinds to make a world.

Good luck, Will, Carl and Attila.

Author:  James L. Doggett [ Sat Jun 25, 2005 12:40 pm ]
Post subject: 

Attila Soos wrote:
I hope that the "down with the Eastern traditions" is just a fleeting impression, it would be sad if it were a permanent agenda on this forum.

Attila, I doubt you have much to worry about. That being said we must all be open-minded enough to allow, if not celebrate diversity. As the world continues to shrink, non-indigenous arts become more widely known. This knowledge attracts new practitioners to the art, which has two distinct effects. First it changes the artists, their way of viewing the world, making them learn new media, techniques, vocabulary and for some new marketing skills. The second effect is to affect the art itself. Bonsai is affected by new species of trees being used exacerbated by climates that either allow or disallow certain cultivars. Couple this with differing tastes in differing cultures and you have an evolution of an art.

Author:  Lisa Kanis [ Sun Jun 26, 2005 9:08 pm ]
Post subject: 

Great post, James, thanks! You outlined a few things in an interesting way that hadn't occurred to me.

Author:  Attila Soos [ Mon Jun 27, 2005 12:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re:

Lisa Kanis wrote:
I have a big question, though. How can a gallery on this forum avoid becoming just a duplicate of the excellent IBC and Bonsai Talk ones?

If it can't, then there is no need for it.

Differentiation from other forums lies in the focus on the art of bonsai. OK, but how is the art to be detached from the means to achieve it? In other words, what, exactly, is the art of bonsai by itself?

It seems to me that it is important for a new gallery that this be worked out.

Yes, you are right Lisa, this is an essential issue. One important distinction between this forum and the other two you've mentioned is that on this forum the members are supposed to be happy and at ease when talking about art. On the other forums a lot of people cringe when the word art is mentioned. There are people who, although they recognize the importance of art in this endeavour, but nevertheless their stance is a defensive and confrontational one. They just can't relax and have fun when discussing it, and these discussions always degrade into irrelevance. The reason is that it is human nature to dislike and reject the unfamiliar. They are not educated/interested enough in this area to handle the above subject. They call it the "a" word. When I encounter this very prevalent attitude, it's my turn to cringe.

The other problem I have with these forums/galleries is that I have to sort through 90% of the subjects that are totally useless to me, in order to find that 10% which interest me. This applies to the pictures posted as well. There are great pictures posted by Lo, Walter, Robert S., Wolfgang, and a few more, and the rest is...whatever it is. Most of the comments are congratulatory, there are a lot of outrageous suggestions besides a very few good ones.

You are right that it is hard to detach art from the means to achieve it, and it is a lot of fun to discuss the creative process, but most of the pictures in those galleries have nothing to do with art. Nothing wrong with that, but I am just not interested in beginners asking others what to do.

We would like to weed out all that filling, and deal with quality works in the final stages of development. Works in progress should be shown only when demonstrating a point.

The discussions could include critiques, where members would express their honest and unabridged opinion about the work in question, or the artis's vision about what he/she is trying to accomplish.

All the above can be found in bits and pieces on other forums, but you have to look hard for it.

Here, this would be main subject.

(Added later: The above forums try to cater to the whole bonsai community. They try to be everything. The masterpice and the stick in the pot, everything goes and everything has an equal voice. When doing that, one always ends up at the level of the lowest common denominator. Here, we would like to cater exclusively to those who regard bonsai as fine art. That makes the nature of discussions and pictures considerably different from the forums acting as "generalists".)

Author:  Attila Soos [ Mon Jun 27, 2005 12:44 am ]
Post subject: 

I am happy to see that you post again, a while ago I was wondering about what made you disappear for so long. I hope you are doing well.

Author:  Hector Johnson [ Fri Dec 23, 2005 12:48 am ]
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Whether or not members here feel comfortable talking about art, rather than decrying the "a" word, is entirely up to the members. Any sensible lurker will probably figure out they are going to be out of their depth, if they were to simply plough into one of the discussions here, unless they have some insight or experience of the subject. If they are too dim to realise their shortcomings then that's their lookout, I guess.

Personally, I feel this forum holds far more interest than one where 2 posts out of 3 are questions from clueless newbies, asking whether their juniper will recover from "Having the green let out of it."

I don't think there's any particular problem with how slow the forum is, either. When you develop a forum where the discussion is often the territory of a few specialists it is only reasonable that most of the participation will be passive users, watching. No-one really wants to be made look like a clueless dork if they get into an argument with someone who really does know what they're on about, do they? ;^)

Author:  Will Heath [ Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:44 am ]
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My, how far we have come in the last year and a half. The art assassins are still active in bonsai forum land, but the art lives on and grows every day.


Author:  Rowan Godfrey [ Sun Mar 25, 2007 2:06 pm ]
Post subject: 

Just thought i would say how much i do enjoy this forum. I visit 4-5 forums on a regular basis, mainly reading and learning, college work doesn't allow me to devote much time to contributing (Plus the fact that all my trees are about 300 miles away most of the time doesn't help) I dont visit this forum everyday, nay everyother day, but when i visit i probably spend more time reading the content presented than i do for the other 3 forums altogether over a week. For instance, at KoB, but i spent about an hour this evening after work just reading one or two of the blogs presented and a similar time reading new articles/posts here.

I feel that the level of content provided here is phenomenal, the debate that goes on is respectful and interesting, when combined with reading KoB i find the two brilliant.

Yes the forum is quiet, there aren't hundreds of posts everyday, but the posts created are considered and full of intellect, something lacking elsewhere. Would i like it if this forum was so busy i needed to check in everyday? No, this would relegate it to the other groups where they get maybe 10-15 minutes a day, nothing learned, where here, 1 hour or so a week teaches me so much.

Just wanted to give my appreciation for those who continue to develop the Art of Bonsai and enlighten those of us who can't/don't have time.


Author:  Will Heath [ Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:43 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thank you very much for the encouraging words, they are very much appreciated by the entire team both here and at KoB.

Most compliments and words of encouragement come to us by email, it is a pleasant surprise to see words such as yours posted publicly, thank you. It's nice to know that what we work so hard to accomplish is appreciated.


Author:  Vance Wood [ Sun Mar 25, 2007 10:24 pm ]
Post subject: 

Outside of the high standards for content on this forum and KoB, and the fact that articles are screened before they are posted, the one major element that makes these two media what they are is the spirit of integrity. No one is allowed to use a pseudonym. That means anything you post here carries your name, and with it, your reputation. You cannot bad mouth and foul tongue another participant like you might flip someone off on the highway at 70 miles per hour while hiding behind some made up name like Gluteus Maxi-mus, or Dopeonarope. It kind of goes back to the old adage, say it like you know your mother is listening. This tends to screen out the trolls and pyrotechs and keeps things polite and thoughtful.

It is not possible or even allowed to make one's self seem bigger by tearing down someone else through personal attacks, a more or less common event on some of the more open forums where the volume of one's venom is often perceived as an abundance of one's talent.

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