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Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition
http://www.artofbonsai.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=2641
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Author:  John Dixon [ Wed Oct 15, 2008 12:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition

Don't you just love when the Internet gremlins gobble up a long post you just typed? Oh well.

Reader's Digest version:

If controversary is any measure of an event's popularity, then this show will end up being a resounding success. Might have to install metal detectors at the entrances, but it will be entertaining, nonetheless!

Author:  Will Heath [ Wed Oct 15, 2008 12:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition

John,

The controversy is centered around one winning bonsai, the other winners and the show remain untouched.

This controversy started right here when Bill selected Mike's black pine as the winner of the National Exhibit Sponsor Award in the AoB Awards. Almost instantly, before the winners were even announced, many had doubts as to Bill's choice. I even sent an email to Bill at that time, voicing the concerns I had heard from some of the the editorial staff.

Winning here earned that bonsai admittance into the National Exhibit. The rest is history.

Of all the emails I have received about the exhibit, this single bonsai is talked of the most. At the moment, it is the most famous bonsai in America.

Man, I love bonsai...


Will

Author:  John Dixon [ Wed Oct 15, 2008 12:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition

Will,

Not all the controversy, trust me. Still, at this very moment, that pine is getting probably more coverage than any other single bonsai, on that I agree!

One thing we all need to remember, to expand your knowledge and skill with bonsai you really have to check your ego in at the door (along with your firearms, ha). In events like this, you are going to be dealing with real professionals. Sometimes the lesson involves pain, but it's a lesson worth learning nonetheless.

Getting back to Bill Valavanis (the main subject of my post that vanished) I had the privilege of a critique on several of my bonsai in a show he was the guest artist at a few years ago. Here's how it went:

The show was a competition between clubs, yet each individual bonsai was critiqued on it's own merit. I entered a Kingsville boxwood (about forty years old) that was 7 1/2" tall. When Bill got to it, he started off by calling it a "Lazy man's bonsai". There I was, not knowing what to think about that (I'm a lot of things, but lazy ain't one of 'em) so I just said, "Thanks Bill". Then he defined what that meant to the crowd; a bonsai that grows slow and compact requiring less attention that many other types. He continued on with his critique, some flaws were identified and suggestions made. Overall - nice tree. Then he moved on. At another club's display, he was faced with another Kingsville. During that critique he mentioned it was over-grown and not compact enough. As a way to illustrate what he meant, he turned the crowd's attention back to MY Kingsville and commented that it was obviously pinched back and maintained to produce a better defined bonsai. Overall, I had received praise from him, and I was very honored by that. Had I blew a gasket at first, I would have missed it.

Bill knows me, but it isn't like we see each other regularly. I have had the opportunity to learn from him in workshops, demos, and critiques. I highly value those experiences and have no doubt I am a better artist for it. Do I agree with him on everything? Of course not. I don't agree with anybody about everything. Still, He is a widely known bonsai professional and he deserves a lot of praise for his efforts in American bonsai. This show was a bold move and as I recall:

"Audentes fortuna juvat" ( Fortune favors the bold)

Author:  Dorothy Schmitz [ Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition

Colin Lewis wrote:
If Bill wants to make an award for retro bonsai, then fine. If judges who are clearly more knowledgeable than most of us on this narrow topic select a tree that many cannot appreciate, also fine. The selection of this tree was based on criteria few of us understand: criteria from another time and another culture. That does not make it any less valid.

Accept this award for what it is: an acknowledgment of a style of a bygone era. There are plenty of other awards that acknowledge contemporary bonsai, both nationally and internationally (WBFF/JAL Award, for one). Accept also that there will always be contention between the academics and the practitioners, between critics and artists / performers, between those with the knowledge and those with the imagination and creativity.


Thank you Colin.

-dorothy

Author:  Vance Wood [ Wed Oct 15, 2008 9:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition

All of that may be true but it still flabbergasts me. I love Mike he is always there and when they come, he takes his lumps gracefully. I have seen pictures of many of Mike's trees and in my opinion this is not the best of them.

Of course this award proves that my opinion means little or nothing anyway. My greater concern is the perception many in the bonsai community may have, right or wrong, that the judges were totally stewed or skewed. That in turn could negetively affect the future of this show. In all honesty this award makes no sense or am I missing something? The King is naked for goodness sakes.

I could go into greater detail as to why I believe this is so but it would serve no purpose and be hurtful to someone I truly admire and respect. However I am not going to sit back and admire something I don't particularly find admirable at the level it has been elevated to.

Author:  Richard Patefield [ Thu Oct 16, 2008 3:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition

.

Author:  Enrique Castano [ Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition

Thank you Will, nice story, hope it continues. I'm also planning a Mexican national exhibition for 2010, However mine will be in November so if anyone is interested in running out from the cold while the trees are a sleep, you are welcome. I will also like to see Rochester again and June 2010 seems like a good time.

Author:  Mike Page [ Thu Oct 16, 2008 3:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition

haiku

WIND IN THE BRANCHES

MY HEART AND SOUL UPLIFTED

REFRESHED AND SUSTAINED


mp

Author:  Peter Warren [ Thu Oct 16, 2008 5:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition

Mike Page wrote:

WIND IN THE BRANCHES

MY HEART AND SOUL UPLIFTED

REFRESHED AND SUSTAINED



There it is...my hat is off to you mike.

Author:  Mike Page [ Thu Oct 16, 2008 5:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition

Peter Warren wrote:
Mike Page wrote:

WIND IN THE BRANCHES

MY HEART AND SOUL UPLIFTED

REFRESHED AND SUSTAINED



There it is...my hat is off to you mike.


Thank you Peter. I've very much enjoyed our brief association. Maybe again someday.

Mike

Author:  Michael Levin [ Thu Oct 16, 2008 6:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition

I am converted!!-after re-reading Peter Warren's article and also pouring through
a copy of a bonsai catalogue that I have from an auction held in Boston in 1899 from the Yamanaka co. (this was in fact the first record of bonsai trees in America) I see how far contemporary bonsai has evolved away from classical bonsai, one could say we've come a long way building such pretty trees--but I wonder. Peter's article gives me an appreciation of the pine that I was missing and I thank him for taking the time to write it.

Author:  Mike Page [ Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition

I was looking through my old copy of Yoshimura's book, MINIATURE TREES AND LANDSCAPES. This book was one of my earliest studies. I pored through it night after night before sleeping. I came across this literati pine and scanned it to post here. I hope there's no objection to this. If I'm in error, please delete.

Mike

Attachments:
yoshimura-literati.jpg
yoshimura-literati.jpg [ 79.4 KiB | Viewed 5103 times ]

Author:  Vance Wood [ Thu Oct 16, 2008 8:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition

You are right, this tree does fit the classical model. I too cut my teeth on Yoshimura's book, the first comprehensive bonsai book to hit the States.

Author:  Will Heath [ Thu Oct 16, 2008 11:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition

Enrique Castano wrote:
Any reason why there is no access to the
Review: National Bonsai Exhibition – A Cinderella Story?
I tried to see it and it tells me
You are not authorised to read this forum.



Rob Kempinski wrote:
Not working for me either. :(



This should be corrected now, you can see this review at viewtopic.php?f=29&t=2655

Thanks for pointing that out to us and please let us know if you have any other problems.



Will

Author:  Mike Page [ Fri Oct 17, 2008 12:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition

Will Heath wrote:
John,


Of all the emails I have received about the exhibit, this single bonsai is talked of the most. At the moment, it is the most famous bonsai in America.

Man, I love bonsai...


Will


Or maybe the most INFAMOUS!!


Mike

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