DON'T open this post if you think bonsai isn't art.

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Re: DON'T open this post if you think bonsai isn't art.

Postby delisea » August 26th, 2017, 7:04 am

When talking about art you are always at risk of disappearing up one of your own orifices so I will quote the great Murata instead:

"...bonsai is not a mere sketch of nature but a reflection of the heart of the creator."

Gavin - in my opinion we are only starting to scratch the potential of Australian trees - see PeterH's trees for what can be done. That is why I get a little disappointed when some of the good 'artists' here spend so much time only trying to copy Japanese trees using Japanese species.

Mr Ramify - the banana octopus is definitely art.
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Re: DON'T open this post if you think bonsai isn't art.

Postby Rory » August 26th, 2017, 7:10 am

wrcmad wrote:I disagree.
You are correct that taking something which nature has created and putting it in a pot is not art... but that's what you will find at your local nursery or big green shed.
If that is all that was involved in bonsai, then this forum wouldn't exist... there would be nothing to discuss, with regards to things like balance, flow, techniques like wiring, nebari, shari, carving, grafting, ramification.. etc. The list of techniques used to sculpt a tree into an evocative display is huge.
For all intents and purposes, art is a form of creative work that is the producing of works to be appreciated primarily for their aesthetic beauty or emotional power.... encapsulates the purpose of bonsai pretty well IMHO.
Any debate against this purpose would have to represent a minority view, and surely negates most discussion here on this forum.


This pretty much sums it up for me too.
I also respectfully disagree with Mike on this one.

If my 3 year old scribbles out a drawing in 10 seconds, I still call it art.
It's not good but it's still basic art. Whether the bonsai is great or mediocre isn't the point, it is still styled and shaped from our creative minds. Perhaps mike, you are in the select few enthusiasts on here whereby you are so skilled at your craft that it becomes like driving to you, 2nd nature and you don't feel like you are creating anything but rather just following a standard blueprint in your mind for styling bonsai. But you are still styling them to your talented hands. Just because you've become really proficient at it doesn't mean your no longer an artist.

Same as bonsai for me. If it was just digging up the yamadori and slapping it in a pot then I would agree with Mike.
But we decide and style the tree ourselves from that point.
I don't think you're going to have much luck convincing people that styling their bonsai isn't art Mike... :P

If topiary is art, then bonsai is definitely art. We crap all over a topiary artist!!!
We smoke topiary, we own topiary! We take topiary to another universe. :whistle:

:beer:
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Re: DON'T open this post if you think bonsai isn't art.

Postby Rory » August 26th, 2017, 7:15 am

GavinG wrote:Just to throw another handful of grit into the gearbox...

All of delisea's and Nate's trunks are completely "natural", although the posters are calling them "abstract" bonsai - interesting. Nature can be far more extreme than anything we come up with. What we "design" mostly looks predictable.

Our activity (note the neutral term) is unique in its use of "natural" elements and processes embedded as part of our creative efforts. "Art" or "Craft" doesn't do it justice. And they're only words. The images are much more powerful.

Mendelssohn the composer wrote about his music that its meaning was far too precise to put into words - I feel the same about our trees. They are what they are, and wordage only rarely contributes much at all.

Thanks for posting the images. I wonder when we'll see real reflections of the toughness and desperation of our arid heart as bonsai. Or will we just skim around the edges, in much the same way as our cities mostly sit at the edges, on the coast?

Fire at will.

Gavin


And this is one of the greatest posts of all time!!

:beer: I love this post Gavin.
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Re: DON'T open this post if you think bonsai isn't art.

Postby treeman » August 26th, 2017, 2:03 pm

="Rory"]


Whether the bonsai is great or mediocre isn't the point, it is still styled and shaped from our creative minds.


If you believe that, you'll buy this watch :D

You think it is styled from your creative mind when in truth you are highly influenced in your decisions from what has gone before. Bonsai design is extremely limited. You have to take into account horticultural factors. The branches MUST taper and they MUST ramify to have enough leaves to sustain the tree. The leaves and branches must be oriented where they get sun exposure or they disappear. We do not really pick where the branches come from. The tree does. We select from what is given to us. The selection process is highly influenced by the horticultural factors above. We cannot shape a tree to look like table or a piano, we guide the tree to do what it naturally does and that is to be a tree. You don't have the luxury of creativity when you put together a forest. You are forced to place the trees in such a way so they will look like a forest. Step outside the boundaries and your objective fails. No creativity involved so far.
On top of that, the way the vast majority of bonsai we see are replicas of other bonsai. Just google ''Bonsai'' and have a look at how much creation is really going on. The fact that there are variations is not due to the ''designer'', it is the tree that has the variation in the first place. We have no clue how the tree will turn out over time. Because IT grows - not OUR vision. We may have an idea but we are still working with a living entity. It has an independent existence which we have no control over. It is the tree itself which decides what it will do. We have the illusion that we control it but we control it to a limited degree only. The rest is up to the tree. Art is different. We have complete control over what will occur. There are no restraints guiding the pencil over the paper.
There is just as much value in craft as there is in art. Often more! So much junk art floating around that to be a master at a craft is to deserve more respect than to be a second rate artist and there are plenty of those. I don't understand why it's so important to some people that they need to consider bonsai an art. Why? Bonsai is a craft just as stone masonry is. To become a master stone mason needs a life time of practice and the same goes for bonsai. Why is that not highly valued?


Perhaps mike, you are in the select few enthusiasts on here whereby you are so skilled at your craft that it becomes like driving to you, 2nd nature and you don't feel like you are creating anything but rather just following a standard blueprint in your mind for styling bonsai. But you are still styling them to your talented hands. Just because you've become really proficient at it doesn't mean your no longer an artist.


It's because I have done so many that I have come to realize it is a craft. There is only one best way to cut the stump. Cutting it anywhere else may be ''creative'' but it will make crap bonsai.
There is only so much you can do with wire. Again, become too ''creative'' and you stuff it up. I can only cut this much off that branch and I can only remove that much from here etc etc.
See what I mean? It's totally a craft.


I don't think you're going to have much luck convincing people that styling their bonsai isn't art Mike...


Probably not and it really doesn't matter.
BTW I think topiary is more creative/artistic than bonsai. On the other hand, topiary is quite simple and easily mastered in a year or two where as bonsai takes a lifetime. Yes there is a huge difference.
Last edited by treeman on August 26th, 2017, 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: DON'T open this post if you think bonsai isn't art.

Postby GavinG » August 26th, 2017, 3:35 pm

Nate, I was referring specifically to the trunks. The window-dressing around them is to my mind not that important.

Antony, those trunks will always be made by nature, whatever we subsequently do.

Rory, let me know when you're in Canberra. Coffee and cakes may be involved.

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Re: DON'T open this post if you think bonsai isn't art.

Postby baldtwitlion » August 26th, 2017, 4:06 pm

Here here mr Treeman


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Re: DON'T open this post if you think bonsai isn't art.

Postby benbonsai » August 26th, 2017, 5:17 pm

I believe bonsai is an art form. The definition of art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination.
Even if your bonsai look natural and no creativeness has been used, it's an art in itself trying to make something look natural... in most cases I believe it's harder than just bending branches here and there because it looks cool.
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Re: DON'T open this post if you think bonsai isn't art.

Postby delisea » August 26th, 2017, 6:57 pm

Treeman's thesis appears to be that since bonsai has constraints it can't be art.

That means Bach's Goldbergs variations also can't be art - same base line and same cord progression for 30 pieces of music. Damn it there I was thinking I was listening to great art and it was only craft.

Pollacks drip paintings have been shown to be slavishly follow a fractal pattern made famous by a branch of mathematics called chaos (created by two or more nonlinear factors in an equation). Once again he was horribly constrained - craft.

Rembrandt - if he painted a human face and the eyes aren't in right place, I'm sure he wouldn't have got paid. What an outrageous constraint - craft.

Cartier-bresson - 35 mm, black and white. Craft.

Hemingway challenged that he couldn't write a story in only six words. If that is not a constraint I don't know what is.
"For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Punk - must only have 3 cords or less, has to be sung slightly out of tune - constraints. But if you tell me the pistols were not an art band then I will be offended.

Anyhow I asked the philistines not to open this post because I knew they would take the bait so it is my fault.
Now stop reading this rubbish and go hang out with your family or your trees. Or go read some Hemingway while listing to the Pistols.
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Re: DON'T open this post if you think bonsai isn't art.

Postby Keep Calm and Ramify » August 26th, 2017, 7:13 pm

Well I just wanted to add a bit of colour to your thread Symon -
Whole topic on art without a banana octopus & vegetable Picasso portrait? Seesh!! :lol:
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Re: DON'T open this post if you think bonsai isn't art.

Postby treeman » August 26th, 2017, 8:35 pm

="delisea"]Treeman's thesis appears to be that since bonsai has constraints it can't be art.

That means Bach's Goldbergs variations also can't be art - same base line and same cord progression for 30 pieces of music. Damn it there I was thinking I was listening to great art and it was only craft


There are no constraints in writing music. You can have 1 note for the whole piece or you can fill every bar with as many notes as the human ear can take in. The combination of notes is practically infinite.

Pollacks drip paintings have been shown to be slavishly follow a fractal pattern made famous by a branch of mathematics called chaos (created by two or more nonlinear factors in an equation). Once again he was horribly constrained - craft


Pollack was the biggest joke ever to pick up paint. Lee krasner basically told him what to ''paint'' and how to sell it. There is no such thing as a ''drip'' painting. It's just drips of paint.

Rembrandt - if he painted a human face and the eyes aren't in right place, I'm sure he wouldn't have got paid. What an outrageous constraint - craft.


Most portrait painting is a craft. Especially if it's commissioned and specified that the eyes should be in the right place. No 'artistic licence' allowed here.


Cartier-bresson - 35 mm, black and white. Craft.


I don't know this work so I can't comment. :shifty:

Hemingway challenged that he couldn't write a story in only six words. If that is not a constraint I don't know what is.
"For sale: baby shoes, never worn."


That's the same as challenging you to make a bonsai with only 1 branch. It can be done. Writing is an art but the example does not prove there are constraints in writing. The only constraints are those put there by the writer.

Punk - must only have 3 cords or less, has to be sung slightly out of tune - constraints. But if you tell me the pistols were not an art band then I will be offended.


If the pistols were the first punk band, and I think they were, and leaving aside the fact that they were also guided as to what to do to a play and how to act, I consider them artists. Those who follow however, not so much. If you are then constrained by the number of chords, and the pitch of your voice due to a rigid set of ''rules' 'you then become a craftsman of punk.

Anyhow I asked the philistines not to open this post because I knew they would take the bait so it is my fault.
[/quote]

If you laid down ''bait'', then it follows that you wanted the philistines to open the post. Right? :)
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Re: DON'T open this post if you think bonsai isn't art.

Postby treeman » August 26th, 2017, 8:43 pm

benbonsai wrote:
The definition of art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination
.

So making a cup of coffee and adding some salt to it and serving it in a cassette case does those things. Am I doing art now? By your definition, yes!
Where do you draw the Line? Is there a line?
We come down to the contention that everything we do is art and to me, ''art'' then no longer has any meaning. It's just ''living''.
Last edited by treeman on August 26th, 2017, 8:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: DON'T open this post if you think bonsai isn't art.

Postby wrcmad » August 26th, 2017, 9:14 pm

treeman wrote:
benbonsai wrote:
The definition of art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination
.

So making a cup of coffee and adding some salt to it and serving it in a cassette case does those things. Am I doing art now? By your definition, yes!
Where do you draw the Line? Is there a line?
We come down to the contention that everything we do is art and to me, ''art'' then no longer has any meaning. It's just ''living''.

No. That's twisting it out of context.
You have forgotten the part where art is "works to be appreciated primarily for their aesthetic beauty or emotional power...."
A salty cup of coffee doesn't do it for me. ;)
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Re: DON'T open this post if you think bonsai isn't art.

Postby tgward » August 26th, 2017, 11:28 pm

we are all aiming for 'quality' ;)
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Re: DON'T open this post if you think bonsai isn't art.

Postby Rory » August 27th, 2017, 12:16 am

GavinG wrote:Rory, let me know when you're in Canberra. Coffee and cakes may be involved.

Gavin


Will do mate! I'd look forward to it. I really wanted to attend the CBS annual show this year, but I have some family issues at the moment.

You guys in Canberra really have some very talented growers down there.
Being a long time fan of Peters work, I was hoping to meet Peterh last year but it wasn't to be.

Last year was awesome, I spent a while with Pat Kennedy, Grant Bowie and Graham, and finally met Watto and Neil.
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Re: DON'T open this post if you think bonsai isn't art.

Postby delisea » August 27th, 2017, 7:41 am

treeman wrote:Pollack was the biggest joke ever to pick up paint. Lee krasner basically told him what to ''paint'' and how to sell it. There is no such thing as a ''drip'' painting. It's just drips of paint.


Oh Treeman, really? It all becomes clear. If you have genuinely looked at his work and cannot see what the fuss is about I now know why you see bonsai as a craft. All of our brains work differently, and you may honestly see things differently.

If anyone is interested in why Jackson Pollack was in fact distilling the essence of landscapes/trees read this.

http://authenticationinart.org/pdf/lite ... -Chaos.pdf

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