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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 6:39 pm 
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Lisa Kanis wrote:
But I hated being told what I should do. I knew, and still know quite strongly, that bonsai will evolve, regardless of who tries to hold it back, or what "progressive" artists preach. Therefore I find all this propaganda for change perfectly useless. And I won't be lectured on how I should think, or how I should approach the styling of my trees, unless I ask for advice.

I agree with you on this, propaganda should be left for the Chinese Communist Party and not the artist community. I like to be let into the world and vision of any particular artist, but at the end I make my decision regardless of what others think or what the trend is.
And no, I don't think at all that you have fundamentalist tendencies, at least your style of writing suggests quite the opposite. You hate to be told what to do, and fundamentalists love to tell others what to do. You wouldn't do to others what you don't want to be done to yourself. would you?


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 7:08 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA
Lisa Kanis wrote:
For my part, I hated it. Not the bonsai creation, nor the point of view. But I hated being told what I should do. I knew, and still know quite strongly, that bonsai will evolve, regardless of who tries to hold it back, or what "progressive" artists preach. Therefore I find all this propaganda for change perfectly useless. And I won't be lectured on how I should think, or how I should approach the styling of my trees, unless I ask for advice.


This confuses me. The man that I met last May at his homestead in Western Massachusetts was certainly not the type to preach or lecture or tell me what it is that I should do. I very much got the sense that he does what he does because it pleases him, and he couldn't care less whether the rest of the world follows his lead - in fact, he probably wouldn't want them to. Of the cutting-edge artists that I know, he's far and away the least likely to advocate for his own approach.

Maybe I'm wrong, and of course Nick is really the person who should speak to this. But I do wonder whether he said "you should do bonsai my way" or whether you somehow assumed that he was passing normative judgement on the way that others practice bonsai.
Best regards,
Carl


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 Post subject: All images now "clickable!"
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 3:20 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:06 am
Posts: 580
Location: Seattle, WA
Hello everyone,
I've had a number of requests to make the images in Nick's gallery "clickable", so that you click on each image on the main page to see a full-sized image in a new window.
So, by popular request, I have done this. Enjoy!
Best regards,
Carl


Last edited by Carl Bergstrom on Mon Jul 11, 2005 8:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 8:12 am 
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Posts: 36
Quote:
I agree with you on this, propaganda should be left for the Chinese Communist Party and not the artist community. I like to be let into the world and vision of any particular artist, but at the end I make my decision regardless of what others think or what the trend is.

Thanks, Attila, you put it better than I did.

Quote:
This confuses me. The man that I met last May at his homestead in Western Massachusetts was certainly not the type to preach or lecture or tell me what it is that I should do. I very much got the sense that he does what he does because it pleases him, and he couldn't care less whether the rest of the world follows his lead - in fact, he probably wouldn't want them to.


Carl,
Yes, that is the impression I get too. But with such an unconventional demo as the one he did in Sydney, there had to be a message - a theme, maybe. And that was definitely an impulse towards greater freedom from bonsai conventions. He never said anything against traditional bonsai, but said that people started turning around in circles, when they did not take the initiative of looking beyond their limited area of knowledge and experience. The bowling ball became a sort of symbol of "anything goes if you want it to". (I wish I could remember more, but after 5 years that is hard.) Note that Nick chose the subject of his demo himself. The organisers had a bit of a problem, getting hold of a bowling ball at short notice. ;-))

The message was good, and legitimate, and to an outsider it must have seemed especially appropriate, in this country so far removed from the main bonsai centres. The point is that it sounded too much like criticism - everyone felt targeted. Nick can have quite an impact, if he puts his mind to it!

Quote:
Then the notorious bonsai fundamentalists on the German forum find that this is the end of civilization. The rants are aggressive and bitter. One response to these disgustive rants was 'now why are you now starting to GOEBEL AROUND here?' I think this was a particularly brilliant reponse.


This is the kind of thing I find truly objectionable.
----------------------------------------------------------
Thanks very much for the clickable images! Most welcome!
Can you put a link on the Interactive Galleries? I didn't, not knowing if you'd approve.
Lisa


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 2:04 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2005 7:18 pm
Posts: 56
Location: Upstate New York
Scared? Confused? Looking for a safe harbour or something to cling to? Trying to make sense of it? Damn! We obviously need Nick Lenz to shake your worlds up a little. It not just the traditionalist either. If you are so busy making Bonsai to suit someone else or to fit in the proper category where is the ART?! Do you have nothing in your own heart and soul? Hey, I like some of his trees and some I hate. Good, so what? He is not making these trees for me. He has the COURAGE to do what he feels with his trees. Boo! Run home before the Bonsai Boogieman gets you too.
Mark


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 1:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 10:16 pm
Posts: 29
Location: San Diego, CA
Personally, I find some of Mr. Lenz's trees very wonderful, and some are a disappointment. Mainly because I am looking for the "trick", the catch....a tree with a name or title tell us to be looking for deeper meanings, rather than approach with an open mind and let the tree tell the story.

His technical expertise is amazing. But, like the current trends in ceramics, by making social statements or trying to surprise the viewer something can be lost. It shifts the focus from the innate qualities of the tree, to the role that the tree plays in the larger context. Not everyone likes this kind of art.

People who do, really do, and write textbooks about it. Others walk away.
No one forces us to like or dislike, to view or ignore anything. We take what we want from it, and sometimes come back later to find something entirely different than what we saw before.
Joanie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2005 6:58 pm 
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Quote:
... by making social statements or trying to surprise the viewer something can be lost. It shifts the focus from the innate qualities of the tree, to the role that the tree plays in the larger context.

I agree wholeheartedly.
However, the artists who produce a controversial tree will probably say that whereas something is lost, something else is gained. What that is, is often mainly clear to the artist and not to the viewer.
Quote:
Not everyone likes this kind of art. People who do, really do, and write textbooks about it. Others walk away.

Regrettably, many sophisticated (?) art lovers see this as the chaff being separated from the corn. Those who walk away being the chaff, of course.
Well, judging by the continued output of more controversial art, I guess there is always enough corn left to encourage its authors.
Just as well. One has to be able to laugh, now and then.
And, once in a while, be stunned by something truly original and beautiful.
Lisa


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 Post subject: The Nick Lenz Gallery
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 12:37 am 
I am fairly new to the art of bonsai (4 years) and feel that Nick's unorthodox take on bonsai is very refreshing. I am completely tired of seeing the same styles for a given species let alone cultivar of tree or shrub being used over and over again. I believe that the best bonsai I've ever seen broke as many rules as possible while still paying homage to Nature.

Nick's trees are very progressive and I'm glad someone is out there pushing boundries and pissing off all the staunch traditionalists. I myself am starting some "human culture bonsai". One will be a tree with a distinct 90 degree wedge taken out to resemble what the power company does to beautiful oaks in the southeast as well as a crepe myrtle that has been demoted to stump status. I hope to one day show these trees to inspire change.

That all being said, Nick's trees are impressive. I was particularly impressed with the downhill skier. The elegant curves of the trunkline and branch placement must have taken a decade to pull off. I hope to one day push some boundries as well.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 9:20 am 
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Posts: 515
Location: Brisbane, Australia
I, personally, think it's best to learn where the boundaries are, before vowing to shift them. The world is full of angry young men who have had to learn the hard way that rules have a purpose.
Your idea for mutilated trees sounds like something that will simply be disregarded by the wider bonsai community.


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 Post subject: Improper Posting
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 10:58 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 1:30 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Nashville.TN
Hector,
I apologize for the previous post. I got the memo after posting a few times about using my full name and maintaining a certain degree of professionalism when composing a post for this site.

What I meant to say in a more drawn out way is that the rules set down by the Japanese over the past few hundred years are great to learn in terms of the basic styles and techniques, but I see them as a good starting point; not gospel. I have taken some classes from Warren Hill in Tennessee as well as Joe Harris out in Oregon. Both (especially Joe) are adamant about sticking close to Japanese traditions, but I feel that the Art of Bonsai is a more personal endeavor based on my experience and ideals of nature. I hate to be too corny on this site but Mr. Muyagi in The Karate Kid movie said it best "when you close your eyes, what tree do you see? Now make that tree".

I am not a militant bonsai artist, just someone tired of seeing perfectly good plants being mutilated by ignorant people. I'm sure any good bonsai enthusiast would denounce my trees, but I was mainly aiming such a statement toward the average person not versed in proper gardening procedure.

I will try in the future to have a little more tact in my posts and keep a certain level of professionalism when stating my opinions.
Owen Reich

owenr@uga.edu
*personal information containing address and phone number removed. Name, City, state, and email is sufficient for any purpose. More personal information can be shared by PM if needed. - mgt


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 6:25 pm 
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Quote:
What I meant to say in a more drawn out way is that the rules set down by the Japanese over the past few hundred years are great to learn in terms of the basic styles and techniques, but I see them as a good starting point; not gospel.


Owen,
It is important that we don't misrepresent our art or facts, in general, here. The Japanese have set down no "rules" and bonsai as we know it and practice it (for the most part) is based on conventions and techniques developed over the last 40 years (not the "past few hundred years"). By the way, if anyone talks to you about rules in bonsai, you may be fairly certain they are talking out of their backside.

Furthermore, the art of bonsai has nothing to do with anything Japanese. The conventions we follow to craft and present evocative potted trees are based almost entirely on fundamental artistry. There is nothing Japanese about artistic fundamentals. Even the practice of presenting bonsai in the "traditional" manner is founded in fundamental artistry, not Japanese rules. The tokonoma is from the Japanese culture, but it has nothing to do with bonsai, either. That's an element common to many Japanese homes, not bonsai.

And there is no Japanese way of growing or styling bonsai, either. In Japan, there are, just as in the West, a variety of individual and tradition-based (teacher-to-student) cultivation, technique and aesthetic variations. There are certainly a few very successful traditions in Japan and they are successful because these traditions adhere quite strictly to those methods that work and that are aesthetically effective.

I'm sorry to have to take you to task on this, but it is important that this forum not be allowed to be used to present any unfounded, inaccurate or misleading information without correction or challenge.
Kind regards,
Andy


Last edited by Andy Rutledge on Mon Jan 23, 2006 1:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 1:03 am 
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Location: Brisbane, Australia
I would say, by way of mitigation, that any view I express is either my own, or attributed to the original author. If I am going to restate anyone's opinion then I would ensure that I attributed that opinion properly.
That should avoid the situation where you make a statement that lands you in hot water.
If you are saying something that is going to be deemed controversial (You know when you're doing it, believe me) then it's probably wise to acknowledge that is what you are doing.
I find this approach is best, as it prepares the field before you sow your crop of dissent.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 3:20 am 
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Posts: 99
Location: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Good to read views from different viewers from around the world!
I will put it straight and short. Nick's collection is not my cup of tea really.........and if these gargoyles, tanks and ruins are considered art then I would rather remain 'unartistic' all my life.

Sorry Nick, but apart from the objects you have used in your bonsai, most of the trees also look quite 'stiff' lacking a natural movement. These are my very personal views but as most of the viewers are 'all praises' for your gallery, you should not feel bad with one odd post of mine.
Forgive me for speaking my mind, and I hope you will take it in good spirit.

Shaukat


Last edited by Shaukat Islam on Mon May 19, 2008 11:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Nick Lenz's Gallery
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 7:45 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 7:08 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Southwestern Ontario
Absolute genius... incredibly artistry...
The Larch Root-Over-Rock blew me away... speechless... I can't imagine a time when the tree and the rock were separate.


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