Back to the point. I agree with Rob. I too find the hollows in the trunk disturbing to my vision of a natural tree, which I find is one of the finest qualities in a bonsai.
Naturalness is difficult to achieve, and in this case I find the tree far from natural. Too much is distracting my mind from seeing a natural appearance of the tree.
A good phrase in bonsai is to bring peace, harmony, beauty and simplicity into the image of the tree. In this bonsai I find some, or maybe all of this is violated. Instead of peace and harmony I find a disturbing picture.
The beauty is partly (or widely) a matter of taste, but I don?t see the beauty in this bonsai, which I normally seeks in trees represented in this specimen. Because of the artificial approach of the tree, with the much too arranged (it seems so) face that is purposed in the trunk by the hollows. And the simplicity is violated by the overall complex picture, where it also is difficult to find a resting point for the eye.
At the same time I am disturbed by the double trunk, that leads my eye trough the hole rather than finding peace and balance at a more central and balanced point. When the eye find a natural and well balanced spot to focus on immediately, it is easier to start the search for details afterwards, and find back to the main point. This is an important point, to achieve calmness and peace in a bonsai.
You have defined bonsai art to your tastes and explained what you like about your art. ...naturalness ...peace ...harmony... beauty ...
May I suggest that art's function is to communicate. It does not have to be harmonious, natural, peaceful, or even beautiful. To be successful, the artist must communicate a feeling to the observer. The composition can be humorous, joyful, scary, threatening, or any of the qualities that you care to communicate. Must bonsai art always be beautiful? Are there qualities other than beauty that may be communicated with bonsai? I certainly believe so.
So what to do, if I had the choice. First of all a slight change of the planting position towards the left could make the low placed hole (at the low part of the double trunk) seem narrower, and at the same time soil and moss can cover the rest, by lifting soil up to the mid part. This might also hide the left hollow in the trunk, and these hollows can be crafted so they look more natural. Changing the planting angle a little might help too.
Also the branches need attention, and in my opinion they must be shortened and brought a little more to order. The branch structure works against the peace and harmony that I personally feel is an important part of a bonsai. This doesn?t means that bonsai can?t be dramatic or powerful, but they visually need to be in balance and poses harmony.
So you would take away the elements that make this composition exude fear and threat and make it resemble a thousand other bonsai. Just deleting the "face" and "hollow," you would have an unremarkable tree. I doubt if this tree would warrant remembrance or make an impression:
Another point I personally seeks to develop in my bonsais are some of the essence of the Japanese phrases Wabi and Sabi.
It's very good that you have defined a personal style based on wabi-sabi. Can you not recognize that there are artists that may transcend the wabi-sabi? - Must every bonsai that you value as art, have the wabi-sabi element?
Because bonsai is also a poem or a poetry. A bonsai is an aesthetic expression, which tells a story and evokes emotions. This is related to the human behind the tree, or the people who get influenced by watching the bonsai, because all art relates to a human expression....
I believe that we agree that bonsai art evokes (or provokes?) emotions. Would you deny the human expressions of fright, hate, humor, threat, (or name other high energy emotions) in your bonsai. Do you not feel that you are limiting your artistic freedom to express to include only "peace, harmony, beauty and simplicity in your bonsai?
This beauty is what I personally appreciate in the Japanese bonsais, and I try to implement the spirit in my western approach to bonsai.
Can you not expand your limited definition and appreciate when an artist pushes the envelope and is so successful in communicating on such a basic level?
Respectfully exploring the limits,