Midwest show discussion question

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  Guest on Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:15 pm

In most part of Asia, we compete and display without categories ( or should I say discrimination). Most participants do it for fun and for the real spirit of bonsai brotherhood, we even pay high entrance fee just to share our trees even though we knew the chances of winning against some trees is very slim. We learn from each other, and show no hesittation whatsoever in participating. All we want is a fair judging for all trees, whether you are a pro, a master or a beginner...
I really can't understand why this thread is getting this far,as somebody who visited the show already said that the trees displayed is not of high caliber(sorry,just typing the gist of the post), so that means there should be no distinction between a pro and the not. I even personally think that some of the displayed trees in the amateur category are better than the pros. Sorry again, just an honest opinion. I think people should focus more on the quality of the trees rather than giving to much thought on the category issue. I think it will be more beneficial for the club involve or even for the American bonsai as a whole, focus on the trees and not on the few personalities involved. Try to learn from them and not just appreciate or buy their materials. Learn from their demos and lectures rather than be overwhelm by their presence in shows.

Who knows if they spent their own time and money studying from other masters to share their experience with you, and not just make money out of it by selling their trees, who knows if they really want to share knowledge and not just to improve and show their credentials during shows.


....award and thropies are the food of the ego while knowledge and experience from the shows are the food of the mind, while the fun and brotherhood are the food Of the spirit.

Regards,
Jun Twisted Evil

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  William N. Valavanis on Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:24 pm

Chris

The "award" and honor and distinction always will remain with the bonsai. The trophy or funds go to the owner, who may do with it what he wants. Often times the exhibitor is not the owner, as in the Rocky Mountain Juniper which won first prize at the Midwest show.
Bill

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  Treedwarfer on Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:25 pm

coh wrote:It's interesting that so many people say "the tree gets the award". So let me ask you - if your tree gets an award at a show and you then sell the tree, does the award certificate/ribbon/trophy go along with the tree to the new owner? Or do you keep that for yourself? And what about any cash award? I'll bet that doesn't go with the tree...

It doesn't matter. That is a decision to be taken between seller and buyer and irrelevant to the nature of the show or the award.

jun wrote:...award and thropies are the food of the ego while knowledge and experience from the shows are the food of the mind, while the fun and brotherhood are the food Of the spirit.

Bingo!

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  Gary Swiech on Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:41 pm

Why not just display a bonsai simply to share it's beauty?

I think all those different catergories and rules spoil the purpose of the shows. Or is the purpose of the show off the artists and their skill/techniques?

At the U.S. National Bonsai Exhibitions the beauty of bonsai is simply the only requirement, plus having the bonsai in the United States.

Bill

+1

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  JimLewis on Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:00 pm

William N. Valavanis wrote:Why not just display a bonsai simply to share it's beauty?

I think all those different catergories and rules spoil the purpose of the shows. Or is the purpose of the show off the artists and their skill/techniques?

At the U.S. National Bonsai Exhibitions the beauty of bonsai is simply the only requirement, plus having the bonsai in the United States.

Bill

YAY! Emphasis added by me.

And I add, why do we need to determine which is THE best?

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  JimLewis on Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:06 pm

It doesn't alter the fact that that tree won X, Y or Z though, irrespective of who holds the gewgaw or trinket that accompanies the accolade.

Not to mention that only someone with a helium-filled ego would find any need to keep an award certificate for a tree he or she no longer owns.

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  Poink88 on Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:13 pm

JimLewis wrote:And I add, why do we need to determine which is THE best?
Because human is by nature competitive and IF that makes them strive to be better, why not?

It draws crowd, create excitement, help novice people to know what to strive for, etc.

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  Treedwarfer on Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:46 pm

JimLewis wrote:And I add, why do we need to determine which is THE best?

1: Incentive to display
2: Education of the audience
3: Acknowledgement of excellence
4: Motivation to improve

And probably more....

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  fiona on Thu Aug 23, 2012 5:19 pm

It is a rather sad feature of life in parts of the UK that all of Treedwarfer's points would be discouraged and often sneered at. That has happened to me in bonsai circles as well as other avenues of life. We are really quite bad over here at thinking people are "no better than they should be" (whatever that means) and competitive is almost a dirty word. But that's as much a political thing as it is a socio-cultural one and those aspects perhaps shouldn't be furthered in this discussion. Regarding how it raises its head in bonsai, in a previous post on this thread I used the phrase "grumbled about because you can afford better quality raw material than others" quite deliberately as it happened to me. The detractors could not accuse me of buying a particular tree so this was what they came up with instead. SO much for striving to be the/do your best.

I'm glad we are getting away from that extreme, but if we are to talk about level playing fields then let's level them up the way instead of down. And putting arbitrary classifications into shows runs the very real danger of the levelling being down the way.

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  drgonzo on Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:13 pm

What I would love to see at shows would be a standard ID placard that gives:

Species:
Owner:
Stylist:
years in training:

You could even throw in approximate age if there is room.

I think Marc Noelanders mentioned a similar desire for this sort of information to be displayed with the trees in the video from Colorado where he and Ryan Neil are walking the show setup.

With this information we not only keep everything "on the level" but, if maybe not able to avoid Marcus's senario #2, we at least would be able to know honestly the provenance of the tree. For me (and I like to read the cards at shows) It would make it much more interesting.

In the case of our Rocky Mt. Juniper here, the card might read something like;

Rocky Mountain Juniper, (Juniperus scopulorum)
Owner: Mr. X,
styled by: Ryan neil and Tim priest.
3 years in training (if i'm understanding Tim Correctly)
Age? ...older than I am.... Laughing

You get the drift.

-Jay

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  Treedwarfer on Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:16 pm

fiona wrote:We are really quite bad over here at thinking people are "no better than they should be" (whatever that means) and competitive is almost a dirty word. But that's as much a political thing as it is a socio-cultural one and those aspects perhaps shouldn't be furthered in this discussion.

'Tis the same the whole world over,
It's the poor what gets the blame,
It's the rich what has the pleasure,
Ain't it all a bloomin' shame!

Fiona, The polite response to the grumblers is: "It's not how much money you have, but what you choose to spend it on." I would wager that all the moaners and groaners spend more on chewing gum than they do on club dues, or more on cable channels they hardly ever watch than they do on plants.

Let them moan, let them lose sleep over it, let them shuffle off into the sunset muttering obscenities under their breath. But never, never let them interfere.

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  fiona on Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:20 pm

Nice sentiments, Treedwarfer, and how I wish that could be. Sadly at one point in my homeland some (not all I hasten to add) of those "in charge" of bonsai were making the sort of comments I'm talking about. My only recourse is to stay outside of that section of the bonsai hobby here.

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  coh on Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:47 pm

Putting aside my somewhat poor attempt at humor regarding the awards...this has been an interesting and thought-provoking thread, and it has help clarify my own thoughts regarding shows.

To me, it comes down to this: know the show(s) you are entering. It really is the responsibility of the individual to be familiar with the rules and regulations. If you enter a show that allows in trees recently purchased from masters such as Ryan Neil, then don't gripe when one of those trees wins the award. On the other hand, if you do feel that someone circumvented the rules, you definitely should make your feelings known to the show organizers.

Competition in and of itself is not the problem - the problem is how people respond to it. It tends to bring out both the best (striving to improve ones skills) and worst (circumventing rules) in people. There is plenty of room for a variety of shows with and without awards, with and without categories - so just pick the ones that suit your temperament and avoid the others.

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  cbobgo on Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:47 pm

Why have competitions? Why determine which is the best? Competition motivates people to improve. If there were no Olympics, would athletes train every day, just for the fun of it? If the Boston marathon didn't keep track of who crossed the line first, would thousands of people show up to run anyway?

Of course, there are people who run and never enter a race, and there are a lot of people who do bonsai just for the fun of it and never enter a competition. But the odds of one of them producing a world class bonsai is pretty low. People with the drive to take things to the next level generally want some recognition of their efforts.

- bob

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  Treedwarfer on Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:54 pm

Right on the button, Bob.
cbobgo wrote: ... and there are a lot of people who do bonsai just for the fun of it and never enter a competition.
And these are the people who Fiona refers to as having been "in charge" of Bonsai in Scotland. Fortunately in the UK there are any number of shows organized independent, non-affiliated individuals, and most of them are very well conceived and run, from what I hear.

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  drgonzo on Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:17 pm

cbobgo wrote:
People with the drive to take things to the next level generally want some recognition of their efforts.
- bob

And herein we see the root of the problem. When the needs of the artist become the motivation rather then the glory of the artwork on its own.

-Jay

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  Poink88 on Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:27 pm

drgonzo wrote:
cbobgo wrote:
People with the drive to take things to the next level generally want some recognition of their efforts.
And herein we see the root of the problem. When the needs of the artist become the motivation rather then the glory of the artwork on its own.
And I say...most (not all) people who claim otherwise are hypocrites.

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  Tim Priest on Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:16 pm

Jay,
LMAO....
Styled by Ryan Neil
Cared for and displayed by Tim Priest
Age... A lot older then you. Any Smith that collected it said close to 1000 years old. :-)

drgonzo wrote:What I would love to see at shows would be a standard ID placard that gives:

Species:
Owner:
Stylist:
years in training:

You could even throw in approximate age if there is room.

I think Marc Noelanders mentioned a similar desire for this sort of information to be displayed with the trees in the video from Colorado where he and Ryan Neil are walking the show setup.

With this information we not only keep everything "on the level" but, if maybe not able to avoid Marcus's senario #2, we at least would be able to know honestly the provenance of the tree. For me (and I like to read the cards at shows) It would make it much more interesting.

In the case of our Rocky Mt. Juniper here, the card might read something like;

Rocky Mountain Juniper, (Juniperus scopulorum)
Owner: Mr. X,
styled by: Ryan neil and Tim priest.
3 years in training (if i'm understanding Tim Correctly)
Age? ...older than I am.... Laughing

You get the drift.

-Jay

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  fiona on Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:23 pm

Treedwarfer wrote:Right on the button, Bob.
cbobgo wrote: ... and there are a lot of people who do bonsai just for the fun of it and never enter a competition.
And these are the people who Fiona refers to as having been "in charge" of Bonsai in Scotland.

Sadly that wasn't what I was saying. In fact there were shows, but those people I mentioned ensured that "competition" was deliberately restricted to a very low baseline and anyone who even dared to suggest getting a show together in which higher quality trees featured was branded elitist and above their station. IMHO of course. Very Happy

Treedwarfer wrote: Fortunately in the UK there are any number of shows organized independent, non-affiliated individuals, and most of them are very well conceived and run, from what I hear.
True IMHO. And good because trees belonging to both "professional" and "amateur" stand side by side.

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  Treedwarfer on Thu Aug 23, 2012 11:08 pm

drgonzo wrote:
And herein we see the root of the problem. When the needs of the artist become the motivation rather then the glory of the artwork on its own.

I think that is rather unfair. If people are prepared to dedicate their time and funds to improving the quality of their art, to make the sacrifices necessary to learn and to teach others, to innovate and to move bonsai - theirs and in general - to a higher level, why on earth should they accept being told where and how they can exhibit by those who are not prepared so to do?


Last edited by Treedwarfer on Thu Aug 23, 2012 11:35 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Tone)

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  Hans van Meer. on Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:05 am

Treedwarfer wrote:
drgonzo wrote:
And herein we see the root of the problem. When the needs of the artist become the motivation rather then the glory of the artwork on its own.

I think that is rather unfair. If people are prepared to dedicate their time and funds to improving the quality of their art, to make the sacrifices necessary to learn and to teach others, to innovate and to move bonsai - theirs and in general - to a higher level, why on earth should they accept being told where and how they can exhibit by those who are not prepared so to do?

"Rather unfair" is putting it mildly! I always find it amazing that most Bonsai people recognize Bonsai as a art form, but that they have great problems to recognize the artists that created them?! Good Bonsai dont grow on trees you know, they are made by some one! And whats is so wrong for a sincere Bonsai artist to want to show his creation to the public! And what is so wrong about a Bonsai artist of any level to be proud when he or she wins a award or a bottle of wine or a well mend applause for all his hard work and creative ability and for the tree that he loves?! So strange and a bit sad?!
Cheers,
Hans van Meer.

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  drgonzo on Fri Aug 24, 2012 1:39 am

I'm sorry. I'm afraid you both have misunderstood my comment. I didn't call into question the practice of showing bonsai. I was making indirect reference to Bill Valavanis's post in which he asks;

"is the purpose of the show (to show) off the artists and their skill/techniques?"

I was thinking more of the artists who are showing trees for this purpose primarily, and as was mentioned "want some recognition of their efforts." Those who are there first for their ego and second to display bonsai. There is nothing wrong with being appreciated, but if thats the sole reason you would show trees then I would feel bad for that person.

The tree becomes a means to an end of satisfying the artists need for public appreciation rather then the tree standing as its own statement. Perhaps this way of looking at things and this motivation has lead to difficulties for some folks with regards judging, entrance, or deserved acceptance of certain trees in shows. They may be more apt to sulk from a bruised ego at a loss perhaps cry foul at the rules, or proclaim favoritism etc.. rather then to celebrate an outstanding tree that won (but was unfortunately not their tree)

Notice I mentioned The "need" of the artist trumping the artistic statement of the tree itself, could this lead to folks showing trees too often? Or that are not ready for show simply because they feel that the need for public appreciation is more important then the quality of the art being appreciated? This is what I was referring to as a problematic motivation. Nowhere did I say pride or satisfaction in what you are showing or what you have accomplished was wrong, lets be careful not to enter into hyperbole.

Many other art forms are plagued by this need for the artist to come before the artwork. Sometimes its monetary, sometimes its narcissistic, but unfortunately it is ubiquitous.

I can relate to you that my wife, who was professionally educated in art, has told me many artists must primarily sell themselves ... not their art in order to be successful and that is indeed a shame.

I apologize for the confusion, I had a feeling someone would take what I said the wrong way.
-Jay


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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  Treedwarfer on Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:29 am

drgonzo wrote: ... many artists must primarily sell themselves ... not their art in order to be successful and that is indeed a shame.

Ah - Now you mention it I can think of a few in bonsai who fit that description. Thanks for clearing that up.

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  marcus watts on Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:45 am

I've watched the video critique of the show and while the tree is very nice it is not the land slide masterpiece I was imagining from earlier comments that started the thread, and while it looked the best tree in the room there is still plenty of scope to refine the tree an awful lot more over time. My personal feeling on this topic and similar scenarios would come down to a simple thing - is the owner displaying a tree in the form it was purchased in ? has the tree been taken on further and improved from its purchased state, or is the tree less impressive than the day it was bought? I personally dont see any point buying a tree that I can't add something to and so would never want to display the unchanged work of another artist, but everybody has different ideas, morals and reasons.

The people I meet who are proud of their best trees and skills are often eager to show the early pictures of the material they worked with and often have a few time line pictures tucked in a pocket somewhere Very Happy . But then I guess I tend to get on with similar types of people as we have plenty in common with each other to talk about. In the future there will be readers of this thread organising shows and balancing the entries to keep as many people as possible happy will become an art form in its own right, but this is only a short scale problem to deal with as more and more decent trees are being created and refined all the time now and standards across many show entries should jump up through increased skill, ability and knowledge rather than just financial ability.

I look at my own doorstep now..........I bought a tree from a proffessional bonsai dealer and show organiser 7 months ago and it is being shown on Sunday in the (un-judged) Welsh National show. Why???....because I have repotted at a better angle, carved and hollowed the upper trunk, reduced and compacted the foliage canopy/outline and loosley defined the pads, plus making a bespoke stand just for the tree. I am happy to show this tree as I feel it has moved on from the material i bought.

what i bought

and a month ago before tweaking for sunday


this is still an excelent topic, and a credit to the ibc to have such a lively discussion without reducing it to argument

thanks Marcus

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Re: Midwest show discussion question

Post  Walter Pall on Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:11 am

The Noelanders Trophy is the most important bonsai show in Europe since the Gingko Award does not happen anymore. It is an open show. Everybody can apply to enter a tree and will be asked to send a photograph. Just about all serious bonsai designers and owners try to enter their trees there.
In 2010 Udo Fischer, a well known German bonsai artist (who has very well designed hundreds of trees himself) entered a trident maple as he had acquired it from Japan shortly before the event. The tree was shown as imported. The broadleaved tree won against all the monumental conifers that usually win everything.
In the same show I entered a trident maple that I had worked on for almost twenty years, starting from a very raw stump. My tree was not as good as Udo's. I have not heard complaints. Udo's was the best tree there.

So it was all about the tree.

First two images : Udo Fischer's trident maple
Third image: my trident maple




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Re: Midwest show discussion question

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