I think that everybody who is serious about creating or collecting bonsai, needs to re-visit the same question year after year: What made you to become involved with bonsai, and what is it in bonsai that you like so much?
By answering this question, you will also know what kind of bonsai you want to create in the future, and whether you should look for inspiration in Japanese bonsai, or your own environment. By honestly answering this question, you will admit to yourself whether you regard bonsai as a Japanese art form, or an international one.
If you like bonsai because it evokes vision of Far East, exotic places, and brings you the scent of Chinatown, then you most likely see bonsai as an expression of the Oriental taste.
When I look at bonsai today, and try to answer the above question, all I can come up with is that I like bonsai because it evokes the magnificence and power of nature, in a miniature scale
. This means, that although I enjoy looking at Oriental art, I don't feel the need to mimic it or be inspired by it. I see bonsai as a great opportunity to express my own personal views with it.
I think that 90% of the bonsai I?ve seen and love are ?virtual trees? which I?ve never seen in the wild. My conclusion is that bonsai has, for me at least, not so much to do with real trees in my environment. Please argue about this.
My conclusion is that bonsai to me does have to do with real trees.
Not in the sense that I need to copy them, but it evokes the same feelings as a real tree would.
This is, by the way, what art does: it takes you into an imaginary world and it makes you feel as if that world was real. In other words, I look at a bonsai that may not look exactly like a real tree, but it makes me feel as if I was looking at a powerful real tree.