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artofbonsai.org • View topic - Self-expression through bonsai artistry?
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 Post subject: Self-expression through bonsai artistry?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 3:31 am 
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Last edited by Carl Bergstrom on Thu Mar 03, 2005 1:35 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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I remember watching an interview with a renowned Hollywood actor a few years ago, and he talked about acting techniques versus self-expression. He said that at the beginning, your whole acting is nothing but technique, since you are not sure who you are and cannot act naturally. As your experience grows, you gradually immerse more and more into your roles, relying on the learned techniques less and less.
At the pinnacle of your career you play nothing but yourself as applied to the character you are playing. And you will rely on technique only when you get in trouble. When that happens, technique can always bail you out.
I need to add that I belive the above applies to good actors only. The ones without talent don't make it beyond the first stage.
I think the above applies to bonsai artists as well, pretty much the same way.


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 Post subject: One hit wonders
PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 5:10 pm 
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Although an entirely different form of art, I wonder if this pursuit of self-expression doesn't have similarites with the music industry. Some artists have mastery of the genre, but still have a signature sound. Case in point, Alan Jackson. He is a living country music legend who creates hit after hit with consistency. In stark contrast are the one hit wonders who are so earth-shatteringly different they command attention. They have a blockbuster hit, but can't ever follow it up with another and quickly fade away.
I feel that bonsai is very similar. If you strive for self-expression you may obtain that one special tree, but you may (probably) are limiting yourself from consistently producing a quality result.
Subtle nuances that are integrated seamlessly into bonsai are what give it character. Personal observation of Colin's work and what I have seen of Walter's (to mention two big names), tells me that remarkable bonsai comes from restrained, yet passionate involvement.
Best regards,
John


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 10:53 am 
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I feel Walter hit the nail on the head - self expression evolves over the years as a manifestation of the result of many individual decisions made in the design and maintenance of a bonsai (BTW the maintenance aspect points out a distinct difference between bonsai and other graphic arts, and offers similarities between bonsai and performance art - but that's another issue). Eventually artists will recognize that these decisions form a pattern and that pattern can be associated with a particular person.


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I had some more thoughts on 'developing your own style'.
We all know people who obviously try so very hard to be a dsitinctive personality and then we know people who are a distinctive personality.
I think you only become credible if you don't try to be one but just become one eventually.
Walter


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"Per Ardua ad Astra"
Colin


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... and for the rest of you, that's the Royal Air Force motto: "Through Danger to the Stars".
Moving stuff, John. And you're so right: you HAVE to keep trying harder, you HAVE to keep finding ways to improve.
I'm going to the European convention in northern Italy, first weekend in May. (Anyone want to tag along?) I can't afford it, but I'm going there because I know I will come away with more that I had before. I will learn things, I will be inspired and reinvigorated, I will be reminded of what I am, and I will be a better artist as a result - provided I put those things into practice.
I'll take some pictures and post them on my website.
Colin


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