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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 11:02 am 
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Other than my first remarks on the subject the resulting political side bar means nothing about bonsai. For myself; I am done going down that road.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 11:34 am 
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I agree. This is not the forum for that type of discussion. I do think that the definition of what art is is more the basis of our discussion. Each generation has it's own definition of art. With maturity that definition broadens. Generally, the younger generation does not have the patience for the last generations art nor the desire to learn about it. As with most people they know what art is and that ain't it.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 12:39 pm 
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Will Heath wrote:
Talent can not be taught or learned, you either have it or you don't.
Will

I have some difficulty in accepting the thought that "talent" is something you're born with. After all, how can one prove such a point?
If talent is something you're born with, you should become aware fairly quickly that you don't have it. That would mean that it doesn't matter how much hard work, time and money you put into something, you would still never achieve anything but "fine bonsai". It would be worthless for a master to try and teach you something other than from an economical standpoint, and since the lack of talent would shine through some might not even be ready to spend time on you. It would be a waste of time taking classes and going on yamadori-trips other than for your
own enjoyment. Who would produce "world-class bonsai" under those circumstances?
Let's consider the opposite view, that "talent" can be taught. That would mean that if you are ready to be patient and spend enough time on something, the results will come. Ambition, encouragement and enjoyment will be what determines if taking classes or spend time with a master is worthwhile. Going on yamadori-trips would be a good idea, even if you don't have the skills to make something of them for the time being. Sure, you might never produce "world-class bonsai" under these circumstances either, but I could bet my right arm that a much larger percentage of the population would.
So, I'd say that neither standpoints can be proved, but the latter is much positive and prone to "bear fruit" so to speak.
Perhaps the first standpoint is "the problem with American Bonsai"?


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 3:49 pm 
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There is a difference between a craftsman and an artist. A craftsman works within the rules to build a beautiful object an artist works somewhat within the guidelines to create a beautiful piece of art.
In a very general way:
The skills of bonsai can be taught to almost anyone and as long as those people adhere strictly to the rules they can create very nice bonsai.
A talent for bonsai, with training, usually manifests itself by creating stunningly beautiful bonsai by using those same rules as guidelines.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:17 pm 
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I have to disagree with the concept that you cannot accept that some may be born with talent. Mozart for example wrote his first major composition at the age of eight. This is of course an extreme example. The rest of us usually have to have some sort of exposure to some sort of education for that talent to become active. Others can learn to be competent craftsmen and some will never achieve anything artistic because they are the opposite of Mozart, everything they touch turns to dung, absolutely no talent, I guess the term is aptitude, for artistic endeavours.
This brings us back to learning bonsai. A few will become masters, some will be gifted or talented amateurs and some will be craftsmen. Precious few will achieve world status in the art because they are gifted with it, and precious few will plummet to the depths of garbage, thankfully, due to lack of any kind of talent.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 11:40 pm 
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Emil Br?nnstr?m wrote:
I have some difficulty in accepting the thought that "talent" is something you're born with. After all, how can one prove such a point?

Quite easily, actually.
Show me one single person who teaches talent, show me where I can read on how to acquire it, show me where I can buy it, show me where it is taught.
I can show you where skills are taught, I can show you many teachers that teach others particular skills, I can show you where to go to acquire skills, and I can also show you where you can buy skills (tuition).
Talent, you either have it or you don't. This is a very hard concept for those who don't to swallow, but it is the truth, never-the-less. Talent is what separates the craftsman from the artist. With skill, a person can become a very fine craftsman and produce some very fine work indeed. But it takes talent to go beyond producing very fine work and enter the realm of art.

Will


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 1:41 pm 
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Will Heath wrote:
Emil Br?nnstr?m wrote:
I have some difficulty in accepting the thought that "talent" is something you're born with. After all, how can one prove such a point?

Quite easily, actually.
Show me one single person who teaches talent, show me where I can read on how to acquire it, show me where I can buy it, show me where it is taught.

Is "talent" without results "talent"? It would be as easy for me to show you these things as it would be for you to show me the talent-gene or talent-hormone, and that's exactly my point. Saying that "talent" is something you're born with is a discourse just as much as a sociological perspective.
Will Heath wrote:
Talent, you either have it or you don't. This is a very hard concept for those who don't to swallow, but it is the truth, never-the-less. Talent is what separates the craftsman from the artist. With skill, a person can become a very fine craftsman and produce some very fine work indeed. But it takes talent to go beyond producing very fine work and enter the realm of art.

I'm not too sure what you mean by the two first sentences, but I'll refrain from interpreting them as demeaning.
I can think of a lot of things that could separate craftsmen from artists. Some examples would be to "think outside the box", intention, expressing something personal, trying to be unique, not following set rules or formulas etc. I my humble opinion producing great art doesn't require great skills, rather a certain way to see things and there are no proof that this certain way can't be aquired at a very young age.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:46 pm 
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Emil Br?nnstr?m wrote:
a certain way to see things and there are no proof that this certain way can't be aquired at a very young age.

I agree with you,
art is vision, followed by realizing that vision. I could even call it wisdom. Original thinking must require some kind of wisdom.
Are we born with wisdom, or can we acquire it later? I tend to think the latter.
How come some will never aquire wisdom? May be because they lack the urge to look for the truth.
Is obvious in some cases, like Mozart. But there are other cases where talent was invisible for the most part of the individual's life: such as in the case of Van Gogh (he was almost middle-aged before he realized it, and even then, most people ignored him as "untalented", and "crazy" all his life - hardly the signs of talent). Later, people realized that he was more talented than many others who displayed "obvious talent" from an early age.
If it was so black and white that we are born with talent, or not, these cases shouldn't have happened.
And why is it that some "talented" artists can produce a great work at a certain time in their life, and then completely "lose it", producing mediocre works for the rest of their lives (there are countless examples of this). If one is born with it, aren't one supposed to permanently have it? Or may be the artist has decided that he is going to hide his talent for a while..:).
I have no idea, and I am not pretending that I know the answer either.
There is a saying that "if you think you know the truth, chances are that you will never find it".


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 7:29 pm 
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I think there are two ways an artist can lose his vision; he is either beaten down by society and gets a case of the F---its and decides he hates his gift for giving him grief, or they get lazy and lose their motivation. If you don't use it,-- you lose it syndrome.
Some artists, on the other hand, are motivated by adversity and retreat into their art as an escape.


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