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artofbonsai.org • View topic - Avant-garde Bonsai
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 Post subject: Avant-garde Bonsai
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 5:29 pm 
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This thread is for discussing Will Heath's article "Avant-garde Bonsai"
http://www.artofbonsai.org/feature_articles/avant.php


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 6:05 am 
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I know Walter and others see him as an Avant Garde artist, but I do not.
Why? Although Walter's Naturalistic Style may break "Bonsai Rules" and get some Bonsai people in an uproar, he is actually creating trees that non-Bonsai people see as trees more than most Bonsai! I believe that Walters trees would find more success and acceptance with non Bonsai people than more stylized Bonsai would. While Bonsai people get bogged down in classification, the average Joe wants to see a tree that looks just like a tree. Just imagine a gallery filled with Walter's trees and Kimura's Bonsai.

The public would clearly understand and relate to Walter's Trees but I do not believe they would embrace Kimura. To me, Walters Trees are more like an oil painting of a natural scene and Kimura more like a Dali. For me, I enjoy different styles, too much of one thing is boring. Why do we need to trash talk and degrade one over another? Must one be torn down to make another valid? There is not one single "right"way to create Bonsai. I aplauld those that try new ideas (even if they are really old ideas brought back). I agree that Bonsai is changing, but not as the author suggests, but by people all over the world( not just in Europe as is so popular to suggest). I am influenced by all the Bonsai I have seen, all the teachers I have learned from, all the books I have read. I thank China for sharing Penjing with Japan and Japan for high refinement of the ART. Of course I have been influenced by the Mountains and forests I grew up with, but respect the roots of the ART I love.
Mark


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 12:32 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 1:22 pm 
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I would never have thought of Walter as avant-garde. To me, his style is fairly conservative, and illustrative of Naka-sensei's admonition to "make your bonsai look like a tree". And, Walter does that very, very well.

Kimura took bonsai in Japan to a new level. His fantastic "sculptures" seemed at the time to be somewhat avant-garde, but when viewed in retrospect, may be more a logical extension of what went before.

For me, there are a number of avant-garde bonsai artists, and maybe foremost among them is Nick Lenz. Nick has a personal vision that he expresses in his bonsai, and dares us to follow.
Mike


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 1:38 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 7:04 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 7:46 am 
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 4:47 pm 
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Walter,
I?m very glad to 'talk' directly to you, because you are allready one of the icons in the bonsai community today, I think especially in Europe. I don't know your thought in creating what some people now seems to call 'the naturalistic style?. So, it would be fine to share your thoughts here.
As far as I can enjoy your bonsai, most of it are not unlike other high quality bonsai from other bonsai masters (I refer to photographs # 1,2,5,6,10 etc in the gallery).

I see indeed a couple of bonsai from your hands which are 'different', I think because they are more loosely designed (#3,7,8,11,etc). Are these latest bonsai the best examples of this so called 'naturalistic style' ' Are you happy with this 'talking' or is it something that people made up without your own will and desire ?

I can imagine that you 'launched' this 'new' style by nature, namely because you are reaching a point to escape from the tradition, by which I mean the world-fameus classification of the Japanese bonsai, namely the classification of the Moyogi. Chokkan, etc especially with their guidelines, which are put in English words for the first time by Kyuzo Murata, Yuji Yoshimura, Saburo Kato, or John Naka.

Who won't if one has already created hunderds of it ?
Finally, I'm very sorry to put your high quality bonsai into 2 small 'boxes', but I do this only for communication reasons.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 5:42 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 6:30 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2006 9:46 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 12:19 pm 
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I'm not sure I understand why Walter's tree was used as an illustration of avant-garde. It's a beautiful tree, and certainly doesn't follow cookie-cutter rules. I would be very hard-pressed to call it avant-garde. I would look at many of Nick Lenz' trees as such, including the Maleficent tree and his gargoyle rendition. While not a big fan of some of these trees, I see the appeal.

I would also place Andy Rutledge's wind-blown deciduous tree in the same class. As avant-garde artists, they are leading the way, and generating some followers, if attempts to achieve similar results are any indication.
Great bonsai are great bonsai, regardless of conventions. Anyone who has ever been around great bonsai comes to understand that the "rules" (read Naka-isms) are more of a description of what works with bonsai as opposed to legislation of what bonsai must be. But a preponderence of the greatest bonsai are yamadori, and respect is shown for the material by helping bring out its strongest points.

So: would Boon's Ascending Dragon be considered avant-garde?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 12:58 pm 
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I hope it is fine with Boon to show the tree here for better understanding.
-dorothy


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