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Mass Produced vs Master Produced Bonsai - Only One is Art
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Author:  Michelle Dougherty [ Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mass Produced vs Master Produced Bonsai - Only One is Art

No, I don't believe bonsai is categorized as art currents, but I was trying to illustrate that different people from many walks of life approach the creation of bonsai from different backgrounds and with different purposes, capabilities, and intentions (similarly to artists of different 'schools'). The results vary accordingly as to the viewable product. People also view (and occasionally respond to) bonsai through the filter of their own opinions, cultural background, and collective mental database or photographic archive of what a tree in nature is supposed to look like.

I'm surprised no one objected to a third grader walking into a bar...

Author:  Ana Veler [ Sun Jul 19, 2009 3:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mass Produced vs Master Produced Bonsai - Only One is Art

Michelle Dougherty wrote:
No, I don't believe bonsai is categorized as art currents...


Significant in some way, you think?

Can't put a finger on the dot, but, somehow, this seems one of those things that feel worth thinking about.


Michelle Dougherty wrote:
I'm surprised no one objected to a third grader walking into a bar...


Caught me! I thought the Folk apple was curious - I'm used to think This is 'Folk art'. 'Never know how unusual your 'usual' things are until the right conversation just happens :)

Author:  Gene Deci [ Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mass Produced vs Master Produced Bonsai - Only One is Art

Quote:
I believe if you are following rules to imitate something that has already been done - it is a craft, if you are using the rules to create something new and stretching beyond what has been done already - it is art


At our last club meeting a new member asked if we could give him a "five year plan" to turn a collected tree he had brought in into a nice bonsai. He knew the general approach - pick a style, prune and wire - but he was not having good success. He wanted very specific, detailed instructions. If we could have given him what he wanted and it worked for him, that would have been craft. But all we know that such a detailed "five year plan" is not possible. Trees are not that predictable. So I think whenever someone creates a nice bonsai from scratch, so to speak, there is some art involved.

Author:  Ana Veler [ Fri Jul 24, 2009 2:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mass Produced vs Master Produced Bonsai - Only One is Art

For the sake of debate alone, someone (not I - 'enough already!) could ask at this point whether unavoidable variability of results from a deliberately chosen imprecise process is anywhere within the realm of art-making. Any Pollock fans in the house? I could never make a good argument for whether that man's work - among many other examples in modern art - are either stupidly easy to knock-off, or infinitely difficult. Perhaps this was his point. To any extent, the fact that the fairly craft-less squiggles and drips have achieved meaning once and were labeled 'Art' under one signature, makes it silly to all others to claim any merit for wasting paint in that particular way. Of course, imitating the process of bonsai can't possibly be judged foolish by similar reasoning - there is just too much lebenskunst involved [here I am saying - you certainly make a point!].

Now, if bonsai making is a craft that by its requirements forces all - or most - of its results to reach a level of individuality (the tree's, and the authors with their qualified relationship and all) in practice that cannot be reasonably called anything but 'art'... that is quite allot to say about it, I suppose. In this view, even rules are no longer 'guidelines for imitation' either, are they.

Something is telling me that not many would agree with the second paragraph above - it is quite an exageration... meant to make an opposite to the deliberate exaggeration that was Pollock's implicit manifesto. Since I could not find a single reasonably similar form in western art - and not for lack of trying, perhaps for lack of insight, at least an opposite! Drawing a 'line' between the two might as well make the question of 'where's the art in bonsai' an art matter.

Just a thought...

Surely, it isn't I that might be worth convincing. However, if the impressions of Bonsai alongside the other arts are anything worth looking into, there might be some crowd left to convince that DIY bonsai and DIY painting have quite a bit in common.


[ PS: Do numbers count for anything? Some are easy enough to pull from under such labels as 'rare flora' HERE between (very) fancy topiary and a conservation benefit stunt, or the fringes of 'Japanese art' elsewhere]

Author:  Mike Page [ Thu Oct 22, 2009 12:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mass Produced vs Master Produced Bonsai - Only One is Art

Michelle wrote:

"The Pine tree belonging to Mike Page that swirled up so much mental dust a few months ago here on AoB is a good example of what I am encouraging with my article. At some point the bonsai artist must simply, wholeheartedly go forth and create, let all the critics say what they will. I love that this Pine, described by Mr. Morimae when he said, “There is no trace of ego in this tree”, will now forever be associated with the artist who displayed it. Good, bad, right, wrong, correct, incorrect, or otherwise, hopefully a conceptual inspiration to other artists. The aftermath of his presentation of that particular tree...the global internet discussion that ensued, by some of the greatest bonsai minds of our day, the human interaction that was a direct result of his artistic work... it can not be contrived, expected, or anticipated, the artist must simply create."
============================================
Michelle, thank you for your very kind words. I still marvel at the dustup my pine caused. I love literati style, and was only trying to create a bonsai inspired by the work of a 15th century Chinese literati artist.
I guess the lesson is to do the best you can to please yourself, and in so doing maybe you will also please others.

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