The idea for a ?North American vs. European Photo Contest? was spawned by an article here at the Art of Bonsai Project titled "The Problem with American Bonsai" by Vance Wood. The debate on whether North American bonsai can compare favorably with European bonsai and bonsai worldwide has often been raised, and this article created some very good discussion on the state of Bonsai in America. We do realize this contest does not offer a definitive conclusion; however, it is the first attempt we are aware of to comprehensively compare the quality of bonsai in these two regions, and therefore become a standard for the future.
We hope this is only the first of many similar contests, and will establish a degree of excellence for both quality and participation, among the best photo-contests around the world
With 124 entries from North America and 74 entries from Europe for all to enjoy, and over 27,000 combined views as of this writing, we can state with certainty this contest is a success, and shall remain a benchmark in bonsai worldwide. This is historical in the sense that never before has such an amazing gallery of inspirational, educational, and overall fantastic, world-class trees from both of these regions been compiled and made available for future reference. Certainly this is a major step toward opening a greater dialogue around the world regarding the art we all love so dearly.
This contest and the resulting gallery would not have been possible with out the participation of the artists from both regions. The entries include representations from 34 artists in North America and 13 artists in Europe, which include some highly acclaimed, and some previously unknown in the ?Internet bonsai community? artists. It takes a special person to place their work to be judged, not only by the contest judges, but by their peers as well. Contests such as this, judged by world renowned artists, offer an educational opportunity for all. We wish to extend our sincere appreciation to all these artists who took the time to prepare and photograph their creations so that we may all enjoy and learn from their work.
The impressive list of prizes donated by the sponsors of this event are also worthy of praise, and we wish to thank each one of them for their contribution. Please visit the websites of these sponsors and give them your support in return for their effort in making the contest successful.
Alan Feng of Qing Wang Garden
Ashley of Bonsai Outlet.com
Jim Smith of DURA-STONE CO
John Pitt of John Pitt Bonsai Ceramics
Karen Leibnitz of Bonsai Monk, Bonsai by the Monastery
Ryan Frye of Blue Heron Bonsai
Stone Lantern Publishing
Takeshi Nishimura of Kaneshin Cutlery Mfg Co,.Ltd
Tom Brown of Shady Side Bonsai
Victor Harris of Erin Pottery
Robert Steven: "Vision of My Soul"
Min Hsuan Lo: TBCA President
Vance Wood; Training Planters
The Judges which volunteered to separately score each entry are three highly acclaimed artists, and much sought after ?headliners? for conventions and events throughout the world. We consider the Art of Bonsai Project indeed fortunate to have contest judges of this caliber, and would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to them for allotting time from their busy schedules to serve the bonsai community as judges of this contest?
Min Hsuan Lo from Taiwan
Budi Sulistyo from Indonesia
Robert Steven from Indonesia
From the inception much time and effort was spent planning and organizing this contest, but true to the old quote ?the best laid plans?, there were many decisions, changes, and alternate plans required as the contest progressed including, the loss of sponsorship because of sale of ?Bonsai Today Magazine?. The AoB editorial staff consisting of Carl Bergstrom, Andy Rutledge, Attila Soos, Candy J. Shirey, David Loughran, Dorothy Schmitz, Paul Stokes, Shaukat Islam, Vance Wood, Walter Pall, and Will Heath, devoted many hours and multiple communications around the world to assure the contest would not only continue, but would exceed all expectations. These editors are certainly worthy of praise and thanks for their efforts and dedication. Our newest editor Behr Appleby joined the group after the contest entries had all been submitted and posted, and has accepted the duty of helping post the results of the judges.
This is the first on-line bonsai contest which has had the rules posted in four different languages, and we certainly wish to acknowledge and thank those responsible; Mr. Walter Pall was instrumental in having the rules translated into German, the story in his words; "After I had posted the link to AoB in the German Forum BFF it was translated within two hours by Lars.", Mr. Morten Albek gave of his valuable time and translated the rules of the contest into Danish for the project, and Mr. Pedro Almeida generously took the time to translate the rules of this contest into Portuguese. We also wish to thank the ?internet bonsai community? consisting of many forums in several languages for allowing and encouraging the promotion and discussion of the contest, the bonsai publications, and the international bonsai community by word of mouth for assisting in promoting awareness of this contest.
A very special thank you is extended to Mr. Walter Pall who proved once again his desire to bring the ?world bonsai community? together by actively promoting this contest and soliciting entries from both North American and European artists.
And lastly, thanks to all of our members for your support, and for helping to spread the word about this contest.
The judge?s scores and comments as well as the announcement of the winners will be posted soon. Having just received the last score sheet, we are currently compiling the information and tallying the scores.
AoB editorial staff