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 Post subject: Definitions..
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 1:35 pm 
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I agree with Attila.However,the only time that bonsai i s in need of definition and/or restriction is being faced in connection with official contests a n d in connection with serious bonsai vendors.
I d o want to know if the big jin on the tree is real.It would be embarrassing for the vendor if that jin one day fell off due to lack of adhesive and he did not tell the buyer about the little "trick".
I am sure the buyer would not be happy about it.

-dorothy


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 1:54 pm 
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Well, in case of an official contest, the experienced judge will make up his/her mind whether she likes the tree or not.

When we did our AoB bonsai photo contest, Robert Steven and Lo Min Hsuan did NOT need our definition of bonsai. They did fine without our help to define it.

But I agree that the vendor better tells the buyer about the artificial jin, if he/she wants his good reputation to stay intact.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:07 pm 
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Location: Helsinki, Finland
Will Heath wrote:
To play the Devil's advocate here....

Why must a line be drawn at all? In other art forms, the techniques to create the art are not as important as the visual result. Take painting for example, who cares if the color is from water colors, oils, crushed berries....it is the final result that determines the artistic success. Who cares if sand was added to the paint for texture, if a spray gun or a brush was used, if the brush was hair from virgin camels or human hair, who cares if the artist used his hands or his teeth, none of it matters in the least.

It's been a while since reading the forum, but I'm happy to see this thread is still alive. I don't think this one eventually goes into "defining bonsai", but still I have to give a response.
I (and see here this is me speaking of myself) do care if an image was just printed out or if it was drawn or painted. I do care to ask and take the time to question the methods *how* the result has been achieved. Maybe this truely is a bad example, but if I'd say:
"Anyone can copy-paste and print a good book"
Would I be wrong?
Actually I pay a lot of attention to any "project" and it's development and the compromises, methods and devices/mediums used. That is part of my learning process. Just a question: Would you rather pick a factory made bonsai if it was 1/10 the price?


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 Post subject: Re: Defining Bonsai
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 3:17 pm 
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Location: Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
Quote:

Walter Pall

The Modern School tries to envision the unique tree, the most extreme tree. This is exactly the opposite of ideal. The Post-Modern Schools get rid of this 'ideal' altogether. They create a most natural tree, most credible tree, a tree wit a lot of character etc.,even a really ugly but impressive tree. Bonsai Pop Art creates a shocking image sometimes. And more will follow.
'Ideal' is seen as old-fashioned in some quarters.
crucify me
Walter


Even though "ideal" has several definitions, I believe the most relevant to bonsai is " Existing as a mental image or in fancy or imagination only." Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ideal

With this in mind, the ideal, when pertaining to bonsai, is not simply a "perfect" tree. The ideal encapsulates any mental vision of a tree one may have, be it ugly, pretty, large, small, shocking, impressive, naturalistic, et cetera...

Bonsai is interesting as an art form, because one usually creates an ideal (imaginary) symbol or representation of a tree using a real tree. So one could argue that no matter what "style" the tree has been trained into, its still a tree and therefor a bonsai. This isn't really my opinion, just a thought that crossed my mind as to why bonsai is so hard to define.

I believe bonsai should be defined in such a way to leave it open to all the possibilities of the art form. Will's definition is pretty close, as far as I can tell.

Quote:

Will Heath

Take painting for example, who cares if the color is from water colors, oils, crushed berries....it is the final result that determines the artistic success. Who cares if sand was added to the paint for texture, if a spray gun or a brush was used, if the brush was hair from virgin camels or human hair, who cares if the artist used his hands or his teeth, none of it matters in the least.



I'm afraid I strongly disagree with this comment. Often, the manner in which a piece is created is just as important to the message the artist is trying to convey as is the final result.


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 Post subject: Re: Defining Bonsai
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 4:28 pm 
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Jonathan Heckbert wrote:

I'm afraid I strongly disagree with this comment. Often, the manner in which a piece is created is just as important to the message the artist is trying to convey as is the final result.


To who?


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 Post subject: Re: Defining Bonsai
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 6:26 pm 
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Location: Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
Quote:
Will Heath

To who?


Fair enough. To some it wouldn't matter. That's fine. I can't argue it on the basis that its an opinion. However, to be fair, your statement was not worded in a way to suggest it was opinion. "who cares if the artist used his hands or his teeth, none of it matters in the least." To who?

I will reword my thoughts.
I think that the manner in which a work of art is created is just as important as the final result.

Here is an example.

If you find the time, try to find a copy of the animated film "The Old Man and the Sea" by Alexander Petrov. Its an adaptation of the story by Ernest Hemingway. Petrov created this film by painting with oils on sheets of glass. He worked nearly every day for 2 years, and there are roughly 29,000 frames, all painted by hand. Now he could have simply used computer software to create the film. It would have been faster, cheaper, and easier. The end result could have been very similar. But to know that each frame of that film is hand painted, and that the artist actually physically touched every image you see makes the end result that much more powerful to me. Of course, not everyone would agree, and some would argue that it doesn't matter at all.

Now don't get me wrong. I understand where you are coming from. You were using painting merely as an example to further your point that, to you, it doesn't matter how a bonsai was created. Feel free to correct me if I've misinterpreted your conclusion.

Quote:
Dorothy Schmitz

I d o want to know if the big jin on the tree is real.It would be embarrassing for the vendor if that jin one day fell off due to lack of adhesive and he did not tell the buyer about the little "trick".


An extreme example, but the point is pretty clear. At some point, I think it matters what techniques are applied to create a bonsai. Perhaps this hypothetical tree was aesthetically successful, and living, but would you say that gluing a fake jin to a tree is acceptable? Perhaps it is, perhaps not. I suppose, again, it will all come down to who is looking at the tree.

We could look at phoenix grafts or "tanuki" bonsai. To some its perfectly acceptable, to some it isn't. Some would argue that its as valid as carving existing branches into deadwood, or bleaching it with lime-sulfur. Really, its all just a simple matter of what works for someone.

I digress.

"A living, artistically created, idealized vision of a tree, cultivated in a container" is a good definition of bonsai. It leaves enough open, and does not impose creative restrictions. Again, ideal does not always mean an archetype to be imitated, it can also mean of the imagination.


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