Chuck Hickman wrote:
In regards to competition, who?s the judge? How can a Hemlock from the North West compete with a buttonwood from the South or a fig from the Philippines?
Welcome to AoB Chuck.
They can be judged against each other easily, at the level of world class bonsai the technique is left far behind, it really disappears and becomes a given, unmentionable because it is mastered by all who are at this level. Now all that is left to judge is the artistic vision presented.
This is where craft turns to art, when the craft has been mastered, when it is indeed not worked toward but becomes just the means in which to accomplish the goals. When all the greatest have mastered the craft then all that is left, all that can be added is beyond what can be described, it is the vision of the artist, the soul of the tree, the story, the final destination which is a visual appealing, artistically created, work of art.
At this level, it is all about the image created and not about the techniques or materials used to get there. When is the last time you looked at a great sculpture and looked for the tool marks or a great painting and looked at the brush strokes....when they are so good, the technique disappears and the art shines though.
Species are not judged, styles are not judged, technique is not judged, the image presented is judged. The art created by the artist is judged.