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 Post subject: Art Assassins
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2005 8:42 am 
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Art Assassins
by Andy Rutledge

I see that over at BT, a group of non-artists have used their collective ignorance and poor judgment to publicly disprove the backbone of artistry, central to all art forms. http://forum.bonsaitalk.com/showthread.php?s=05d358be69533963513ad0e7c21061e6&t=12444.

This kind of "debate" is the sort of thing that keeps so many enthusiasts from gaining any relevant grasp of art forms like ours. One might expect that when debating the merits of building structural integrity, it would be good for engineers or architects to be involved. But when the topic is art, just anyone's opinion will do - no artists need attend.

In this particular case, it is a very transparent effort on the part of one who has a deep seated need to destroy the concept of bonsai art.

Congratulations, your need for affirmation has delt yet another blow of idiocy to our endeavor. The sad part is that many young or uninitiated enthusiasts have just been fed a falsehood that may ever keep them in the dark on the subject of artistry. It's enough to make someone blow chunks.

Perhaps the best course of action for someone who is not an artist in this kind of discussion would be to say, "since I have no relevant understanding of such things and am not an artist, I think I'll not offer any opinion on the matter." This sort of behavior would do the entire world a valuable service.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 8:29 am 
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Location: south of Munich, Germany
I was sick twice in the past ten years. I know enough about diseases to participate in medical forums. I think doctors are only after our money anyway and us experienced regular folks together have more wisdom about medicine than they have. Anyway, I spread my wisdom on these medical forums and have found so many friends there.

I am just an ordinary skier, and I am proud of it, but I do go skiing twice a year at Christmas time and at Easter. I am a keen and regular poster on a few skiing forums. They are kind of fun because all sorts of people post there. Most are good folks like I am, some are quite arrogant, they think because they are professional skiers, having skied on the Austrian and Swiss national team, they are something better. They insist that skiing is a sport. While the majority of people in the know how, like me, know that it is supposed to be fun, which means that it is a hobby.They spoil the fun.

I have done my taxes twice, I can understand most bills that I get, so I feel like being in a good position to participate in this forum for certified public accountants. I can do my math, well, I can count until 1000 and I can add any tow numbers with very few mistakes. I can subtract, usually, and I can multiply, sometimes. To divide is not my strength. But I think these blokes on the accountant forum really are obnoxious by throwing around their university degrees. They think they are something better. They think by using all these strange terms they can impress me.

I was on a ski lift once and as usual I started to talk to the person next to me. It turned out to be Michael Schumacher. I realized That this is the man who many think is the best race car driver of the past ten years in the world. I thought that it was great to meet one of us. One of the car driving family. I spoke about how proud I am to have driven a car since more than 40 years. He was not too talkative. So I thought I should speak about real technical stuff. I told him that once I had a car where I actually needed to shift gears. And that it was kind of fun, well most of the time. Sometimes I messed up the gears and forgot to use the clutch. Believe it or not, the man was so unfriendly. He did not even try to be nice to me, this elitist arrogant bloke. How dare he think that he is something better.

Good for us that we are among ourselves in all these bonsai forums.
sincerely
Walter Pall


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 8:39 am 
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Walter,
While that was an interesting and entertaining story, I think you're missing the fact that the thread I referred to was not one where enthusiasts were talking about bonsai as an endeavor or other broad aspects of bonsai. Instead, they were talking about one specific element of artistry - and decided amongst themselves that it did not exist. Non-artists dismissing an important element of artistry.

Completely different situation from what you so eloquently described in your allegory. If you're going to paint us a picture, at least know your apples from your oranges. Thanks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 10:27 am 
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Come on Andy,
You know well that I can sort oranges and apples. While you were picking on a specific thread I was describing the bonsai forum scene in general. We have only one bonsai scene really. Either we somehow tolerate it or we are hermits. This site has become a hermit's site not just by coincidence.

There is nothing worse than a big family. However, it is your only family. You better get used to it or you will be alone very soon.

I just ignore the ignorants and smile about them. You fight them.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 11:25 pm 
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Location: Michigan USA
I still find it hard to walk away from a fight, even knowing the person is just too dense to get it. I fight from a unique perpective of someone who is still learning and hate to see my path to knowledge and art littered with the garbage of the container gardener.

Will


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 8:33 am 
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Mr. Rutledge,
I have never met you, so I will not use "Andy" until you permit it. Feel free to address me as John.

I was one of the individuals who posted on that BT thread. I am somewhat "direct" in matters, so I will ask the following:

Am I one of the ignorant you are addressing?

I will await your answer before I proceed further. I would respectfully ask that you please provide specific reference - as opposed to generalization - so I can proceed in a constructive manner.

Thank you for your time,
Sincerely,
John Dixon


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 Post subject: Art Assassins
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2005 2:44 am 
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I don't think that talking about bonsai ever gained the art a new disciple, nor put off anyone already practising it. Showing good bonsai is a lot more important than encouraging people by words. I think that Walter's preparations for the Gingko Awards, on the IBC Galleries, carries all the weight required to counterbalance any "art assassination" that may have taken place (though I doubt it), plus the authority of a great example.
Andy, for heaven's sake, lighten up!
Lisa


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 9:45 am 
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John Dixon wrote:
Mr. Rutledge,
I have never met you, so I will not use "Andy" until you permit it. Feel free to address me as John.

I was one of the individuals who posted on that BT thread. I am somewhat "direct" in matters, so I will ask the following:

Am I one of the ignorant you are addressing?

I will await your answer before I proceed further. I would respectfully ask that you please provide specific reference - as opposed to generalization - so I can proceed in a constructive manner.

Thank you for your time,
Sincerely,
John Dixon

Read the following with some "implied" imagination {Consider that I am making the following statement, aloud, in a very quiet and dark cave}:
"Hello.......can anybody hear me? Mr. Rutledge, will you please enlighten me on my quest for artistic understanding?"

This is a feeble attempt at humor because I am starting to get a little irritated about the lack of response to questions raised here. Without some interaction, even if at odds, I will have to assume that my request for clarification is not worthy of response. If that is the case, I will go ahead eliminate my profile from this forum. I try to be objective and friendly with others, and maybe my attempts at humor are not the greatest, but I don't openly ignore anyone without at least trying to get along first. If I am just an irritant on this forum, I will take my leave and wish those who remain all the best. I will provide this caveat though:

For about one month now, I have found that every time I come to this forum I am the LONE member online. That cannot be a good sign. Please take the time to consider if that is a situation caused by an "overall" attitude that does not extend a warm welcome. If so, I take issue with this forum being considered "The Art of Bonsai Project", and will distance myself from it.
Awaiting a response,
John


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 6:30 pm 
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Location: Michigan USA
Hi John.

(Insert smiley)

Will


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 10:06 pm 
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Quote:
"Hello.......can anybody hear me?

Well, I'm not Andy, but I do hear you.
Quote:
For about one month now, I have found that every time I come to this forum I am the LONE member online.

Same here.
Quote:
That cannot be a good sign.

I thought so too.
Quote:
Please take the time to consider if that is a situation caused by an "overall" attitude that does not extend a warm welcome.

It's hard to put one's finger on the exact cause of this tepid welcome, but one of its components might be that there are a couple of people who like to talk at length, rather than to listen. A credo is put forward, and a logical structure built on it, with the talker (and many listeners) forgetting that logic built on "I believe" can never be proof of anything.

A greater impartiality would be a welcome addition to this forum.
Tha majority of registered members have never posted anything, let alone submitted an article. Considering the amount of talent and experience they represent, that is a great pity. The absence of a members' gallery where pictures can be posted by all, could be one cause. The other might be that the "Bonsai for the West! Down with the Eastern traditions! Long live initiative and modernisation!" etc. are too strident and intolerant, now and then.

If this is indeed an "Art of Bonsai Project", its scope should be much, much wider than experienced so far.

That will do for now.

Thank you to those who have done their best to keep this Forum going.
I hope that brighter days lie ahead for it.

John, I think you had better forget about a reply from Andy. He postulates, but won't argue. At least, only rarely and to a limited extent. (See above, among others.)

Lisa Kanis


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 10:33 pm 
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Lisa,
Thanks for your thoughts, I find myself agreeing with you as to what the forum lacks, namely the ability to uplaod pics and articles from the members.
I would be greatly interested in hearing more of your thoughts on this subject. I hope you recieved the email I sent you.
Will


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 11:34 pm 
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Thanks for the words of concern, folks.
Don't worry, there will be brighter days ahead for the forum. I know Will is going to keep things moving along nicely, and when I dig out from under a terrible stack of work that is keeping me off-line entirely, I'll be contributing more again.
In the summertime, discussion always slows down, especially among experienced members such as many of the posters here. After all, (here in the Northern Hemisphere) we've all got trees to be working with, collecting sites to be exploring up in the mountains, and so forth.
Come winter, when the trees are sleeping, there will be more than enough time to read, write, and rant about art.
Best wishes to all,
Carl


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 Post subject: Positive results come from positive methods
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 8:21 am 
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Lisa, Will, Carl, Walter, and Mr. Rutledge;
I hereby apologize if anything I said was construed as being personally vindictive. That was not my intent. Several of you have taken the time to PM me and post here, explaining the current situation and lack of usage on this forum. I respect your thoughts and will do what I can to be more positive and useful as a member here. Together we will weather the storm.

It seems we are in agreement about content on subjects. We are looking past the obvious and into the realm of detail. The subtle nuances that make remarkable bonsai are difficult to grasp, and even harder to explain. That does make this forum a difficult, yet worthwhile, proposition. I thank those who are involved with this project, and I promise to give you my support in any way my humble means allow.
Respectfully,
John


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 2:04 pm 
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Lisa Kanis wrote:
The other might be that the "Bonsai for the West! Down with the Eastern traditions! Long live initiative and modernisation!" etc. are too strident and intolerant, now and then.
If this is indeed an "Art of Bonsai Project", its scope should be much, much wider than experienced so far.

Lisa,
I hope you won't give up on this forum and post as much as your time permits. Your ideas and suggestions are always interesting and thought provoking, and I also like that you are outspoken.

I hope that the "down with the Eastern traditions" is just a fleeting impression, it would be sad if it were a permanent agenda on this forum. I love the Eastern traditions, that's where my original inspiration for bonsai started, and I am constantly inspired by that tradition day by day. We really want this to be as eclectic as possible.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 2:49 pm 
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I can only speak for myself on this issue, but I visit here every other day or so to check up on new posts, but I don't post much myself. There are a few reasons why.

The main reason is that I'm a total beginner to bonsai. Usually I don't have anything to add to the discussions, and I got the feeling that this was more of a discussion forum than a chat forum. By that I mean, I feel that the purpose of this board is not to post little quip posts saying "I agree" or "That's interesting, thanks". Personally I'm glad that there's very little activity because when people do post, the messages are usually logical, and thought provoking. It's hard to digest more than 4 or 5 long thoughtful posts at a time.

When dealing with the nuances of Bonsai, I have very little to say because I haven't been involved very long and I don't have any expertise in any area of the art. The few posting I have made here have been on the more broad subject of art and philosophy. Most of you probably are relating these discussions directly to bonsai, but I relate them to my everyday life and my own artistic exploration in music and collage.

I'm basically just here to soak up what I can about the innominate, often hard to explain aspects of bonsai that never come up on a normal forum and if they do, the topic quickly degrades into pointless chaos or just gets ignored. I don't have much use for the things you all are talking about right now, but in the future I'm sure that a lot of these things will help me in my bonsai adventures.

Another reason I don't post a lot is because I like to digest what is being said. I don't think I'm the only one like this. If it takes me a long time to reply it's because I'm trying to craft the best possible explanation of my thoughts or feelings in regard to everything that's already been said.. This doesn't come off as a "shoot from the hip" kind of forum where you read a post, hit reply, type your message, and post it all in a matter of 20 seconds. There are some discussions on here that merit a few days to go through that process.

I'm sure that there are other people on this forum who are just lurking, because they have nothing to add. I believe it's better off that way. So far I'm very impressed with the way this forum is being run. I will be around for awhile and as my skill and knowledge of bonsai slowly develops, I'm sure that my number of posts will grow also.

I shudder to think of the day that this forum devolves into a place where instead of only 80% of the members posting, 80% of the posts aren't worth reading.

The potential for AoB to become an archive of poignant thought and logical discussions on bonsai and art in general are great as long as it continues to grow in the same way that it has been.

Again, I can only speak for myself and maybe what I want out of this forum isn't what the creators or other members would like to see. But I'll just be floating along with the current for now, because I neither have the want nor feel the need to try and change it or swim against it.
michael


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