For the sake of debate alone, someone (not I - 'enough already!) could ask at this point whether unavoidable variability of results from a deliberately chosen imprecise process is anywhere within the realm of art-making. Any Pollock fans in the house?
I could never make a good argument for whether that man's work - among many other examples in modern art - are either stupidly easy to knock-off, or infinitely difficult. Perhaps this was his point. To any extent, the fact that the fairly craft-less squiggles and drips have achieved meaning once and were labeled 'Art' under one signature, makes it silly to all others to claim any merit for wasting paint in that particular way. Of course, imitating the process of bonsai can't possibly be judged foolish by similar reasoning - there is just too much lebenskunst involved [here I am saying - you certainly make a point!].
Now, if bonsai making is a craft that by its requirements forces all - or most - of its results to reach a level of individuality (the tree's, and the authors with their qualified relationship and all) in practice that cannot be reasonably called anything but 'art'... that is quite allot to say about it, I suppose. In this view, even rules are no longer 'guidelines for imitation' either, are they.
Something is telling me that not many would agree with the second paragraph above - it is quite an exageration... meant to make an opposite to the deliberate exaggeration that was Pollock's implicit manifesto. Since I could not find a single reasonably similar form in western art - and not for lack of trying, perhaps for lack of insight, at least an opposite! Drawing a 'line' between the two might as well make the question of 'where's the art in bonsai' an art matter.
Just a thought...
Surely, it isn't I that might be worth convincing. However, if the impressions of Bonsai alongside the other arts are anything worth looking into
, there might be some crowd left to convince that DIY bonsai and DIY painting have quite a bit in common.
[ PS: Do numbers count for anything? Some are easy enough to pull from under such labels as 'rare flora' HERE between (very) fancy topiary and a conservation benefit stunt, or the fringes of 'Japanese art' elsewhere