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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 12:18 pm 
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Attila Soos wrote:
I also think that the tree should be exhibited at the appropriate height. 2D or 3D, a bonsai will be much less enjoyable if viewed from above, there is no excuse for such a bad practice when exhibiting it.


Attila makes a very good point here. The standard table that you see at most exhibits is dining table height. At my club, Sei Boku Bonsai Kai in San Mateo,CA we raise our tables about 1 foot with pvc pipe "feet" on the table legs.
Mike


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 5:55 pm 
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Each tree, if it is to be properly regarded as bonsai, must show a level of technical proficiency, viewed from any angle. I don't believe anyone, with even a modicum of experience, would deny that.

However, it must be recognised, by even the most ardent proponent of this mythical "happou biraki" or "open on all sides" approach to bonsai, that there may be many angles from which one might abserve a bonsai with pleasure, but there will only be one "best" side, usually that presented to the viewer in a formal show.

To argue otherwise is simply vexatious, in my view. To engage in a long, tedious, Quixotic quest to prove wrong all who have gone before you is simply contention for the sake of contention, so far as I can see.
Would those who espouse this "Happou biraki" theory (and they seem to be a determined and very small minority) like to bear their theory out?
I would suggest the following method:

First, develop a modest collection of world class trees.

Second, gain entry to the world's great bonsai shows, to show off these trees.

Third, obtain approval to show these trees, on motorised turntables, to show all sides off to the judges.

Fourth, rely upon the commonsense of those judges to see the merits of these wonderful trees.

Fifth, stop bothering everyone about it all until you've managed to achieve stages one through four.

Can we reach an agreement here?


Last edited by Hector Johnson on Sat Apr 22, 2006 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 5:56 pm 
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Location: Dallas, Texas
Mike Page wrote:
Attila Soos wrote:
I also think that the tree should be exhibited at the appropriate height. 2D or 3D, a bonsai will be much less enjoyable if viewed from above, there is no excuse for such a bad practice when exhibiting it.


Attila makes a very good point here. The standard table that you see at most exhibits is dining table height. At my club, Sei Boku Bonsai Kai in San Mateo,CA we raise our tables about 1 foot with pvc pipe "feet" on the table legs. Mike


I would go for this also, but is it fair for the height disabled among us?]


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 12:54 am 
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Location: Michigan USA
Hector Johnson wrote:
However, it must be recognized, by even the most ardent proponent of this mythical "happou biraki" or "open on all sides" approach to bonsai, that there may be many angles from which one might abserve a bonsai with pleasure, but there will only be one "best" side, usually that presented to the viewer in a formal show.

To argue otherwise is simply vexatious, in my view. To engage in a long, tedious, Quixotic quest to prove wrong all who have gone before you is simply contention for the sake of contention, so far as I can see.


Hector,
You are failing to grasp that what you call the "best" side is not recognized as the same by others. As I have shown, inexperienced or experienced bonsaists often do not agree on which side is the best. This is the flaw in the "best" side forward argument.

To assume that everyone will agree with your assessment of what the best side is, is just vanity.

This being said, even when you show your own visible front based on your personal opinion, you can not (except in photographs) force anyone to view it at that particular angle. The front as we have come to know it, is a myth, it exists only in pictures. Even if you could somehow force the viewing to only look at it from that angle, you are cheating the people who would not otherwise have picked the same "best front" as you did.
The front you are defending, that single, one sided, two dimensional, only the back rim of the pot showing, stand here on the painted footprints front, does not exist outside of photographs.

Will


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 12:58 am 
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Location: Michigan USA
Howard Smith wrote:
Mike Page wrote:
Attila Soos wrote:
I also think that the tree should be exhibited at the appropriate height. 2D or 3D, a bonsai will be much less enjoyable if viewed from above, there is no excuse for such a bad practice when exhibiting it.


Attila makes a very good point here. The standard table that you see at most exhibits is dining table height. At my club, Sei Boku Bonsai Kai in San Mateo,CA we raise our tables about 1 foot with pvc pipe "feet" on the table legs. Mike


I would go for this also, but is it fair for the height disabled among us?]

Whatever the height of the display, it will never be at the optimal veiwing angle for all viewers.

Will


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 10:08 am 
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Isn't that a bit like telling the painter that his painting is upside down? (That actually happened to Jackson Pollock, by the way.)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 12:24 pm 
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Not quite Hector, when a painting is hung, it offers one single view, a view that is seen by all. However, when a bonsai is displayed, it offers many views as explained in the article. (You did read the article, right?)

A painting, being a two dimensional representation of three dimensional objects, can be viewed from slightly to the left or right, it can be viewed from slightly below or above center, nothing changes.

With a three dimensional object such as a bonsai, these slight variations in the viewing angle can bring out a whole different "tree" or "front" if you will. To not recognize this fact, to assume that everyone will see the exact same front, at the exact same angle, is misleading. The front we show in a photograph does not exist in real life for all intents and purposes.

Of course, we could always put a view finder and cross hairs on every bonsai display, as I did with Vance's Mugo on the first picture in the article. This should satisfy everyone and possibly force the artists front to be the only one viewed. However, knowing people, they will look behind the curtain anyhow.

To reuse a recent quote from a very talented artist, in Bonsai Today issue #101 on page 51 in an article by Marco Invernizzi titled "Transforming a Scots Pine" Marco says, "Have you ever wondered why Japanese bonsai lovers at bonsai exhibitions are not content to observe trees from the front only? They want to see then from all sides, and you will often find them squatted under a bonsai trying to see all the details."

He goes on to say, "The real beauty of bonsai can be found in the details and in the naturalness of the planting. Sometimes in our passion to see results, we end up with a tree that has all its branching and foliage arranged to be viewed only from the front. As soon as you look at another angle, you see large gaps or tangled branches."

You see, the concept of three dimensional bonsai and multiple fronts is not a new idea born of my untalented mind, it is in fact an old school of thought which, like it or not, is being put in to practice by some of the greatest bonsai artists of our time. Walter Pall, among others, regularly produces world class trees with many multiple fronts.

Granted, it is extremely more difficult and it requires much more talent, but it is not unfeasible, impossible, or out of line, it works, it has merit, and the results from those who keep these principles in mind are nothing short of breathtaking.
The proof is in the results.

Will


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 1:06 am 
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Will,
What you have consistantly failed to acknowledge from what I have stated is that many bonsai techniques are used to make the chosen front look even better. I have also stated that styling a bonsai to be viewed from more than one front will sacrifice these techniques and make the one front not as good as it could have been. This is unacceptable to me. This is why the no front potted tree is not bonsai in my opinion. Please respond to this point.

And I have seen Marco several time work on trees. He often emphasizes making a tree look good from all angles. But he commits to a front and makes this his priority during the styling process. Marco's master Kimura is someone I have studied intently, and his work is often discussed by my teacher Boon. If you look closely at Kimura's branch structure, especially from a top view, you will see why a tree has to have a chosen front to look it's best. If you were to cut off a branch from a bonsai styled by Kimura, without seeing where you cut it off from you can tell if it came from the left side, the right side or the back side of the tree. To style in this fashion, the tree has to have a committed front.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 6:56 am 
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Don't hold your breath, Howard. Will has this particular bit in his teeth and seems determined to either crash through or crash.
I guess J Edgar Hoover was equally committed to his vision, whatever it was.
As I tried to point out, telling a painter his masterpiece is upside down doesn't mean the painter is wrong, but the teller. The ball crossed the plate, but the batter missed it completely.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 7:43 am 
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So how many of these "multiple-view" bonsai are winning competitions?
To clarify my question, I mean a bonsai that the stylist does NOT recognize as having any preferred front. They prepare it for the show and just set it down on the table. That is important because if they tweak it, they are making a conscience choice of a "front". Period.

The tree is just one - although major - part of the equation. Placement on the display table, accent planting, scroll, etc., will all have to harmonize. It is extremely unlikely to happen without some preferences being settled upon.

I would love to hear from anyone who has done this with success. Not hear ABOUT them, but hear FROM them.

Until that happens - and even if it does - I remain doubtful that the overwhelming majority of competent stylists are going to give up the preferred view stance. As I have said (and many others) you ALWAYS make the bonsai as visually pleasing from all sides as you can, but NOT at the expense of a preferred view. It has the highest priority. I call bullshit on anything else (let's see if the censor is working).

Will, your tenacity is admirable but I think you are holding on too tight my friend.
John (aka Keeper of preferred view bonsai)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 11:04 am 
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Let's agree that we disagree on this. Nothing wrong with that, it happened before amongst artists, as well as horticulturalists. It can happen in even the highest places, such as the White House or the British Parliament.
We provided some entertainment to those who silently read this thread (and it doesn't happen every day, so nobody can say that we are overdoing it), but you don't want to give them too much of a good time either.
Cheers,
Attila


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:53 pm 
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That's the problem:
This is unproven theory, and it seems constrained to the use of semantics. Viable results that expound on the theory are nearly non-existent. A small degree of latitude (20 degrees or so) from a given "front" would probably satisfy 95% of experienced bonsaists in what would be the preferred viewing angle. My use of semantics would not make that variance akin to multiple display angle possibilities. The pot design/style/position remains a hurdle that has not been cleared, and beyond the "bonsai in the round" style, I doubt it ever will.

I'm patient though. If more tangible evidence of such theory being made into fact appears, I will consider the concept.
John


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 1:10 pm 
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Howard Smith wrote:
What you have consistantly failed to acknowledge from what I have stated is that many bonsai techniques are used to make the chosen front look even better. I have also stated that styling a bonsai to be viewed from more than one front will sacrifice these techniques and make the one front not as good as it could have been. This is unacceptable to me. This is why the no front potted tree is not bonsai in my opinion. Please respond to this point.

Howard,
I understand what you are getting at here but I disagree that by making the bonsai visually pleasing from all angles will somehow magically make one less than it could have been. I could post many examples (and have) but take a look at one of Walter Pall's latest efforts here http://internetbonsaiclub.org/index.php ... ic=18780.0 could you explain to me how having so many great fronts takes away from the whole?

Will


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 1:15 pm 
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John Dixon wrote:
That's the problem:This is unproven theory, and it seems constrained to the use of semantics. Viable results that expound on the theory are nearly non-existent. A small degree of latitude (20 degrees or so) from a given "front" would probably satisfy 95% of experienced bonsaists in what would be the preferred viewing angle. My use of semantics would not make that variance akin to multiple display angle possibilities. The pot design/style/position remains a hurdle that has not been cleared, and beyond the "bonsai in the round" style, I doubt it ever will.

In answer...
I have posted examples from world class artists, I have offered quotes from the same and yet somehow this is still an unproven theory?
Viable results have been shown.
The pot design/style/position is not a hurdle, in fact, if you read the article you'll see that this was covered and is listed as the "container front."

Will


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 3:59 pm 
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Will, the "best" side is the one that the artist selects, to present to the public, as the "front".
We, collectively, seem to be arguing that trees have a front, and you seem to be arguing that they shouldn't.
Can you please clarify the following points for me?
1. Is there a side from which a tree, irrespective of styling, looks most pleasing?
2. Is it still OK for the owner of the tree to show that side to the public, as the front?
3. Is it acceptable, even if the tree is near perfect from all angles, to display it in that orientation, in your view.
I want to be sure I understand you properly.


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