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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 11:18 am 
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John Dixon wrote:
I have the highest regards for both Walter and Colin, but the mere use of their names isn't proof, it's posturing.

Showing examples of world class artists attempting to create bonsai that are visually pleasing from all sides is hardly posturing. In fact it has shown that multiple views are possible and that some of the best artists of our time see the advantage of such.

Respectfully,

Will Heath


Last edited by Will Heath on Tue Aug 02, 2005 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 11:46 am 
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Will Heath wrote:
John Dixon wrote:
I have the highest regards for both Walter and Colin, but the mere use of their names isn't proof, it's posturing.

Showing examples of world class artists attempting to create bonsai that are visually pleasing from all sides is hardly posturing. In fact it has shown that multiple views are possible and that some of the best artists of our time see the advantage of such.
Out of respect to this forum and what it stands for I refuse to answer such insulting remarks that do not debate the issues, go off subject, and/or add nothing to the conversation.
Since you have plainly stated that more words will not change your opinion and seem to be locked into a single view, my question would then be, why be involved in a discussion that you are dead set against and obviously have a closed mind on?
Respectfully,
Will Heath

Will,
The section of the forum is eristic. I think you chose that terminology personally. I differ with you on this subject, no question. I said what I said because there is one visual example on this thread of your subject, but you named TWO people. Colin has not even posted here, has he? I did not mean disrespect to them, or you. In your latest post you called them "World Class". Those of us here already know that, so why repeat it? I see that as posturing too, Will. I thought I could post with a view different than yours. I also said, repeatedly, that I am willing to remain open to the idea, but that I wanted proof that it was a viable option. I warned you I would be difficult to persuade, and that this subject has many inherent questions that have not been answered. I am just one little fish in the big pond...insignificant. Still, I can go anywhere in the pond I want to, just like you and everyone else.
I didn't mean to upset you, raise your blood pressure, or anything of the like. I still remain the way I am, closed-minded was your wording on that. If that is the way it is, so be it. I am sure that my terminology was respectful to the readers here. If I am mistaken, I apologize, to you and anyone who was offended.
I have two options here, as I see it. I can attack or retreat. I'm not trying to be combative, so my decision has been made.
I'll choose a tactical retreat.
My continued best regards to you,
John


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 12:06 pm 
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Walter Pall wrote:
Consequences: I see my own trees more from the sides and from the back than from the front. I am forced to see trees from where they possibly look awkward, all the time. And believe me, some of them do look awkward from many sides. I try to correct this at the every next opportunity.
I have found several major design flaws that I have made as a rule. One is that I very often have designed trees form the ?front? and had them leaning forward at me. This is standard bonsai design. When looking at them from the side I realized that they do not look credible. The leaning itself is fine. A tree that leans toward the viewer from the ?front? will be a slanting tree form the ?side? and can look fine. But I found that on many trees I had placed the apex right up in front. This looks fine from the ?front? but looks very unnatural from the ?side?. I have started to change this and move the apex back so that it is over about the center of the tree from ALL sides. The result is that I have a good feeling to look at the trees from all sides (which I am forced to do anyway!). But in addition also from the ?front? they look better somehow.
....But the real impact of this I realize every time I have visitors in my garden who are not really into bonsai.

Walter, you have a way of putting things into words that make them easily understandable, thank you. I have found with my own fledgling attempts at bonsai that my trees look better from the front also when I keep the whole tree in mind and try to style them so that they are visually pleasing from all sides.
I try and keep at least one bonsai at work on my desk or the stand behind me in front of the window. I often rotate these and usually am transporting a bonsai in my truck to or from work. The many guests who visit here at the dealership, never fail to ooh and ah over the bonsai and I get the opportunity to convert a few. I have also noticed that they could care less about a front, it is the whole tree that fascinates them. While transporting, I often also have the opportunity to show bonsai to people and have also noticed that the inexperience person can grasp the whole tree, the essence of nature much better than we can. They don't see fronts, flaws, ramification, placement, pot, or anything separately. Instead they see the wonder of nature captured in a little pot.
Sometimes I envy them.

Will Heath


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 12:10 pm 
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Walter Pall wrote:
But I found that on many trees I had placed the apex right up in front. This looks fine from the ?front? but looks very unnatural from the ?side?. I have started to change this and move the apex back so that it is over about the center of the tree from ALL sides. The result is that I have a good feeling to look at the trees from all sides (which I am forced to do anyway!). But in addition also from the ?front? they look better somehow.

I've always wondered whether I am the only one being bothered by that displaced apex. With all the science behind it, it just bothered the heck out of me. All my instincts told me to push it back to where it belongs. (smiley).
I am glad that at least you said it out loud that it bothers you as well. May be there are many more out there, but they are just too embarrassed to admit it, for fear of being labelled as ignorants who can't grasp the true meaning of bonsai.
One thing is clear. Compared to the general artist community, nobody can accuse us of being too bold about new ideas. And that is an understatement. One little change in the design takes decades, if ever, to be accepted. And even then, the artist has to apologize for the rest of his life for that.
Can't help but think about a little book that I was reading yesterday, "The A-Z of art - The World's Most Popular Artists And Their Work". The incredible diversity of representations just in painting alone is mindboggling. You can find every idea on the planet, and every other idea that is opposite to that. And they all are accepted and displayed in museums and collections, side by side. There is not one viepoint that dominates others. How different is that from bonsai, where diversity of opinions is utterly rejected!
Just take cubism. One of its characteristic feature is to show an object or a person viewed from different angles, and put together in one image. The eyes of a person are seen from the front, the nose is shown from the side, and you can also see the rear end of the person in the same picture. When cubism was in vogue, this was accepted like a normal thing. Imagine if someone in bonsai came up with a similar idea!
Of course, for every innovation, there are countless failed attempts. But I suspect that the idea is less important than the successful and credible implementation of it. Any idea is good as long as you come up with a creative and witty solution.
So, instead of being outraged by an idea that seems impossible, try to put bonsai in the broad perspective of the world of arts. When you do that for a second, a few new ideas and changes in perspective will suddenly seem ridiculously insignificant. In our little world we squabble and bicker about changing the angle of a branch, while the world around us is changing with a lightning speed - whether we like it or not.


Last edited by Attila Soos on Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:35 pm 
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Jeez, Louise.
Perhaps, what is being argued already is. I have said often that most bonsai folks don't intentionally misdesign their trees to look strange from all angles except one. That's hardly the case. Tye make the most of each side and leave it at that. There is a diminishing return on trying to make one branch serve seven different purposes. Trying to do so might actually make the tree entire image alot less than it could be.
As for the "bonsai ignorants" stuff, Will, I was merely saying that analogy might not work as easily as it appears to.
As for specifics on this approach I still don't understand exactly what you're arguing. Is it "each side of the tree should be presentable" (Which is hardly rocket science and is already pretty prevalent) or is it "each side of the tree should be the front (which is a harder argument to make).
For some reason with this argument, I get the feeling that someone has flipped on a light switch and is claiming to have discovered electricity...
Please take time to spell check the names you're about to call me ;-)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 11:46 pm 
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What I read is that not only is it the "bonsai ignorants" that can't define a clear front, but I also get the impression that if you were take a rather unknown Walter Pall specimen and present it to a panel of very well educated and "knowledgable" bonsai experts then they would probably all have differening opinions about what the "front" was. So in a case like this where even the bonsaist who is "in the know" can't distinguish a front, then does this elusive "Front" actually exist anywhere other than the mind of the artist?
michael


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 4:53 am 
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You need a front when you put your tree in a tokonoma. A tokonoma is a sophisticated niche. We here also use niches here and then ? for flowers, little statuettes and so on. Very often, niches contain decorative art or 'religious' stuff (admiring something has often a religious touch, doesn't it?).
You do not need a front when you place your tree in a 'space'. This is being done with works by Michelangelo, Rodin, Brancusi and many others. Works that do not serve necessarily an idea or procedure but merely say: 'I am'.
Both is good. It is just a little more complicated to make a '360 degree tree'. But why not? And of course not any tree can be that. Some are quite simply just nice. But why not? Yes, Lisa ? many very good trees have a front. What is strange in a way, because it means that an artist wants us to see them like this and not else. Arrogant, hm?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 9:42 am 
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I think another thing to consider here is that in nature there are many, many trees that look really incredible from a very limited view but from the other views aren't that great. That's why when I take pictures of trees I usually end up picking one angle that looks the best. The "front" I guess you could say. There are a few trees that look decent from all sides, but they are not really an awesome tree.
There are really only a small handfull of trees I have ever seen that are amazing from any angle. So if bonsai is way to capture and represent nature, then why wouldn't this ratio be the same?
michael


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 9:56 am 
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Michael Thomas wrote:
So if bonsai is way to capture and represent nature, then why wouldn't this ratio be the same?

I am under the assumption that bonsai is creating an idealized tree using nature as a guide.
Remember that the front you prefer may not be the same front others would prefer, we all see a tree differently. When you look at a great work of art, the things that move your soul may well be very different from the things that move mine. Thankfully the artist included all and not just what moved one person, in fact this may very well define what makes some work wildly popular while other works are not, appealing to many.

Will


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 2:22 am 
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Very interesting and novel idea have come up in support of multifront bonsai art. It is suggested as an argument that multifront is natural and viewer friendly as far as bonsai appreciation goes
Whatever DOUBTFUL merit the above proclamation may have one thing is certain- the GREAT CREATOR of this world have created most of the magificent living things with a front ( BEST VIEW) . And we are trying to be more innovative or original than the creator of this wonderful artwork of world.
It is funny enough that this creative impulse is claimed to be stimulated by pristine nature itself --( may be not in these words exactly but in spirit ofcourse).
looks like the rules of the game is being changed for the sake of artistic freedom .
From now on we shall enter the age of formally informal. informally formal bonsai only. Adieu , kengai , shakan. fukinagashi etc. Amen.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:01 am 
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Soumya Mitra wrote:
one thing is certain- the GREAT CREATOR of this world have created most of the magificent living things with a front ( BEST VIEW) . And we are trying to be more innovative or original than the creator of this wonderful artwork of world.

Soumya
It is very difficult to argue with you when you set convictions as truth.
I understand you take the 'front' of living things as 'picture' made to be looked at. But what makes you think so? That seems anthropocentric to me. The 'front' of a cow is different from the 'front' of an owl since they lead different lives. Try to catch mice when you only see aside. Try to see the hunter early enough when your eyes are turned forwards and thus down to the grass you eat. So much for the living things with eyes. With many other living things nobody could seriously name a front. Think of worms, mushrooms or corals. And then ? why should the front be more important? Dancing bees or even two dogs meeting the first time would tell you something else. So broad is nature's range.
If we watch living things or not is of no importance to them? that is my conviction. Only we humans argue about the front of a tree. The tree itself does not need our terms. We should be conscient of that. What any Creator wanted or not we can only guess. But any of us should do that for himself. Missionars often burn the house when they want to bring light.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:50 am 
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Mr. Loosli, we are not concerned about cow or owl's face or of their thinking.
What i intend to convey by my understsnding of front of bonsai is that since GOD intended that creatures ( higher life form) should have a face ( front , frontal view, best view) similarly trees also have such feature. Only we need to identify and showcase it while creating bonsai art.
When we can't identify or fail to relate to the best view we may take refuge under a different set of game rule or propose the new rule as ORIGINAL sacrosant and panacea .
That is fine with me .
Only I shall consider the upstart new view point as poor reflection of holistic bonsai art.
BONSAI IS MUCH MORE THAN A MULTIFACE TREE IN A POT THAT COULD HAVE A TWIN IN NATURE.
As far as i understand , mere copy of nature is not art - it could be masterly scaledown reproductionl & CRAFT( necessary). That is passport photo of a tree- not potrait of a tree- which is art i suppose.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 10:38 am 
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"understand you take the 'front' of living things as 'picture' made to be looked at. But what makes you think so? That seems anthropocentric to me."
Bonsai is first and foremost, Anthropomorphic. It is NOT nature. It is man's interpretation of nature. Bonsai is perception of a manmade composition. It is art. Anthropomorphism is a given with art. Not alot of other animals create it (chimpanzees and elephants have a very tenuous grasp of it, if they have one at all), so it can be nothing else. Nature doesn't create art. If something "artistic" happens in nature, it is only seen from a human perspective...


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 10:39 am 
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Quote:
As far as i understand , mere copy of nature is not art - it could be masterly scaledown reproductionl & CRAFT( necessary). That is passport photo of a tree- not potrait of a tree- which is art i suppose.

It seems to me that using the "Traditional Front" bonsai is the passport picture of a tree. If you want to compare bonsai and the art of to God's created higher life form (humans) then perhaps you should take a look at the portraits of that life form. I see many portraits of humans that are not only from the traditional "front" or face, but isn't the profile also very prevalent among photographers and painters? I've even seen a couple of paintings of the back of someone's head.
As far as other animals go, I think your completely discounting the entire profile aspect. When you see a big game gallery, if they have the entire lion stuffed it is usually displayed from he side as it is jumping or running.
With trees in nature it is the same as bonsai. Any one of us could go out and find a beautiful tree and probably if there are 3 or 4 of us then we will all see 3 or 4 separate "natural fronts". The only reason bonsai has a "front" is because the artist says "this is the front". Let's not so quickly forget the point brought up by Walter that many times not only is it the "bonsai ignorant" that can't find the "real front" but also the bonsai masters.
It's a completely subjective concept. A true front does not exist in this art, only the concept that there should be one.
michael


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 12:26 pm 
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Mark
I do agree entirely ? no question. I was just wondering if we really should base bonsai art on religious arguments. But I will not follow this line of thoughts. Bonsai is art, not religion. Just as well I was not about to say: When it looks 'natural', then it is art. (Do not take me for so simple, Mrs. Soumya Mitra and please ? do not offend me anymore. That is in my eyes not a necessary element of an art discussion but the certain end of it.)
What I meant was simply this: Choosing a front in visual art is a very logical first step. As a concept. As a way to look at things. I might compare it to the concept of melodies in music. And just as the reception of music progressed, you can make a progress with the reception of bonsai. It can very well be 'artistic' to have an 'all side bonsai'. I admit it is going to be a real challenge to make something alike. I know very well what 'work' it means to 'evolve design' from two dimensions to three dimensions.
But still - I fancy it a beautiful day when I shall come into a hall where in the very center stands a majestic acer palmatum or a juniper, being a miracle from wherever you look at it. If this then was a 'natural' tree or an entirely artistic sculpture would be secondary to me. It is about the relationship bonsai art/space, not the old and odd discussion what style could be the only one. I thought we had overcome that already.
If the front is a completely subjective concept, then why should not involving space, variety in one, pictures within the picture be other possible subjective concepts?


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