Will Heath wrote:
So what do we need in order for bonsai to be accepted as main stream art? We all know that it hasn't reached that level yet, but why, what is missing?
* Patrons of the arts, those collectors, supporters, and advocates of the arts that support and foster other art forms. Where are the people who purchase the art, who collect it, who set up scholarships and who exhibit bonsai as an art form? We ourselves are to blame for looking down upon those who collect bonsai as opposed to growing them when in fact, we should be supporting them and encouraging them.
* Three dimensional bonsai. I know this is a hot topic but let's face it, when bonsai are finally displayed as art, I seriously doubt that they will be displayed as paintings are, flat up against a wall. Certainly this worked traditionally in Tokonoma, but the Tokonoma was meant for the home and not for public exhibit. As in the art gallery mentioned above, bonsai will be displayed as sculpture, that is what they actually are after all and sculpture is traditionally displayed on a pedestal that allows viewers to walk around it. In short, the "whole" bonsai must be a work of art, the parts make up the sum, only this will be appealing to audiences that are clueless as to exactly what angle they are supposed to view the bonsai at. When bonsai are displayed as art, it will not be pictures of the bonsai that are displayed, it will be the actual three dimensional bonsai that are.
* Acceptance first must come from ourselves. With so many practitioners screaming craft, how can any outsiders take the art seriously? We first must accept bonsai as a valid art form and then present it as such.
These are some of the obstacles I see that are preventing bonsai from being recognized and accepted as a legitimate art form. Sadly, we are to blame.
I'm late to this discussion as well as being new here and to Bonsai in general but I would like to add to a couple of obstacles to consider but first a couple of things about me that might be germane to this discussion.
I'm 59 and interested in Bonsai and art in general. I'm somewhat of a collector of art, especially Russian Art (pre Berlin wall fall) and photography.
I have an interest in creating my own Bonsai trees and I am working towards just that, but I would absolutely love to own several of the Walter Pall trees I have seen in this forum and on his website. In that regard I would certainly be considered the collector and Walter would be the artist. Absolutely no question that the art would be Walter's and I would simply be the collector.
I am afraid to collect important Bonsai art. Why? A number of reasons...
I'm afraid I might not be able to take care of it; specifically that it might die.
I'm afraid it's form will diminish with time and Walter's art will no longer be recognizable.
What do I do when I want to go on a vacation for a couple of weeks?
What do I do with the Bonsai art when I am no longer able to take care of it?
Where do I keep it? How do I display it? How often can I display it inside for parties and friends?
These fears and questions would not keep me from buying Bonsai art but they would keep me from paying too many dollars for that art.
How many dollars would someone pay? I'm not sure, but if the risks I have listed above could be mitigated, I would certainly feel more secure paying up for this art form.
I believe most people's choice when they consider questions like these will be simply to avoiding paying high prices for Bonsai art.
Thanks for letting me be part of this forum and I hope I haven't offended anyone by jumping in here. To me, when I see trees like those of Walter and others shown in the Galleries here, they are definitely art. They are objects I would desire to steward for a few years. I simply do not know if I am capable.