Li Zhenxiang wrote:
As such, by practising this East Asian "art", it is illogical to have a desire to stamp our own mark in the the final work. ....
As such, I find it quite amusing that Western practitioners seem obsessed to want to create something "original" that truly "represents" themselves, which is a rather megalomaniac and narcissistic pursuit. Whereas, I don't think Naka, Kimura, Kato, etc ever had that in mind when they create their masterpieces.
you may not be aware that quite a few leading western bonsai artists are of the opinion that they are NOT practicing an Asian art form but a universal one. Are the Chinese aware that they play and ENGLISH game when they play tennis or soccer? I don't think so.
There are more and more, especially in Europe, who don't look very much at what Japanese do anymore as there the art seems to stagnate and not progress much. Almost no one looks at what the Chines do and that may change though. And as western artists we certainly want to put ourselves into what we create and it is absolutely not megalomania or narcisstic but to be expected of a western artist. This has nothing to do with bonsai in particular. It is one of the definitions of art to 'put your soul into it'.
And knowing Kimura and many others personally I can assure you that they behave just as any western artists do and some are blamed for it in Asia. Kimura absolutely is 'obsessed' as you say with creating something original. This may well be the reason whoy he is believed to be the greatest by so many in America and Europe and NOT so many in Asia.
In our world one who does not thrive to create something original is simply not an artist but may be a craftsman. And that's considered 'lower' than an artist.
Maybe it is an over-generalization: The Eastern 'artist' tries to do something 'right' and frowns upon the Western 'artsist' who tries to do something 'original'. And the Western 'artsist' thinks the Eastern 'artist' is not an artist but a craftsman.