Louis Here are more thoughts and reply to Jason on my personal view about the importance of talent in great bonsai.
Louis - First of all one must have been exposed to trees in nature to know what trees really look like.
Jason - Yes, this is obvious. But not all bonsai are to look like trees in nature. Look to our friends in the East.
Louis - Talent is the natural ability to see a tree within a bush.
Jason - Or a developed eye that comes from always being around good quality bonsai. When your eye develops is when you “see” the tree in the tree. This is not talent. Again, Walter and Kimura didn’t wake up one day and see the tree in the tree. It took time to develop an eye.
Louis - Talent is the natural ability to use taught skills and acquired techniques to create and maintain a bush to look like the original vision of a tree.
Jason - Hmmm…..”talent is the natural ability to use taught skills and acquired techiniques to create an maintain….” I disagree here. Using taught skills is just that. If you were taught something and put it to use then you are applying what you learned. Nothing to do with talent. Anyone can create a bonsai, very few will create masterpiece bonsai and the ones that do will not do it on talent alone. I assure you of this.
Louis - I will concede that the more you do it the easier it becomes.
Jason - Yes it does and the more you do the faster you improve.
Louis - The role that good material plays in the creation of a masterpiece is that it makes it easier for the artist to create a masterpiece bonsai. A lot of time is being saved.
Jason - Time is a part of it sure but there are other parts as well. A 1000 year old yamadori that is going to be styled by a master has a very high chance to become a masterpiece. It does because the master picked it out based on the quality of the material. Yes much time is saved and in bonsai time is huge. Good material also assures a much better chance at becoming something special vs. lesser material. A master with lesser material will still produce a lesser tree than if he started with something good. Good material will save you time…..a few hundred years worth of time!
Louis - Must time be used as a measurement of talent?
Jason - No, talent has nothing to do with it but time is the difference in material from very high quality to normal material. A seedling will take a life time or more to become something truly special, like 200 years! That is why the best trees in the world by the best artist’s are very old collected material.
Louis - Talent is also the natural ability of a grower to use skills and techniques over a period of time to maintain and improve and develop a tree into a masterpiece.
Jason - This is basically the same statement made as above. Again, learned skills is what you are talking about. You would have had to learn those skills and techniques from somewhere. You weren’t born with knowing how to wire properly. Talent is one of many tools here.
Louis - On 20 September Jason wrote “Bonsai is a living breathing thing that the artist has to dominate to make his vision a reality. And it could take 25 years for that vision to come out in a living tree”
Louis - If I had been an extremely rich man in Japan with lots of bonsai and even people with years of experience in my employ, who would I use to improve a tree to be accepted for the Kokofu ten exhibitions?
Jason - That depends on who you like the most as an artist. Maybe you have the skill set to do the work yourself?? If not then you should look into hiring it out.
Louis - I would use the most talented artist I can find. Does Mr. Kimura do that for millionaires?
Jason - Sure he does, but you don’t have to be a millionaire to have Mr. Kimura work on your trees.
Louis - Millionaires know how to use talent that is why they are millionaires.
Jason - This comment had me laughing out loud. So, inorder to have talent or prove you are talented you have to be a millionaire? Not sure what you are trying to accomplish with such a statement. I know plenty of talented folks who are not millionaires.
Louis - If I had to choose one amongst techniques, skills, training, time, material or talent to improve my bonsai, I will make a grab for talent again and again.
Jason - That is what works for you. I would personally go after material. Even with skills, training, time and talent a crappy tree will still be a crappy tree. If you have the best material then you will have the best bonsai, even if that means having Mr. Kimura style it for you. He won’t style bad material. Again, talent is a part of the puzzle for sure, I never denied such. But it also takes techniques, skills, training, time and material for masterpiece bonsai to be produced.
Louis - I do not think people who agree 70% with Will are lesser bonsai practitioners; maybe they have more natural talent than they think they have but lack the enthusiasm to use it to its fullest.
Jason - Okay, I might be one who thinks he has little talent but there are a few big names pushing me to keep at it because they see something in me. I will tell you though what I may lack in talent I more then make up for in enthusiasm for bonsai. If you saw my collection 5 years ago when I started vs. today you would understand my level of enthusiasim, it is very high.
Best wishes to you Louis. How come you don’t sign up for an account on your own?