Bonsai's future

Page 1 of 2 1, 2  Next

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Bonsai's future

Post  Andrew Legg on Tue Jun 24, 2014 8:57 pm

Simple question: What is the future of bonsai? Where will it go, what will it become, and how will it change or stay the same?

Background: I'm preparing a talk for a club meeting. The topic is this question.  

Some food for thought:


  • What are the boundaries between bonsai and penjing, and as bonsai developed in Japan from it's Chinese origins, how in turn will it Westernize? 
  • How will our cultural differences mold the practice?
  • Has the meaning of the word "bonsai" changed to become a Western descriptor for a greater range of practice and outcomes?
  • We can expect bonsai to change as it moves from one culture to another, but what change do we envision in Japan?
  • In Japan, bonsai has held a place alongside other art forms for a long time. Do we as Westerners over dramticise it's relationship to art? Rules vs art?
  • As we wade thought the muddy waters of trying to understand an artwork from a different cultural perspective, how does that influence our freedom to express ourselves and our own cultures through the practise of bonsai, and how in turn does this slow it's morphing from a Japanese practice into a Western one?
  • Heck, do we even express our cultures through bonsai, or is that all just arty malarkey?


Interested to hear your feelings/opinions, and I'd like to say up front that I'd like to conceptually incorporate these into my presentation, so please be explicit if you prefer for me not to do so, but would still like to contribute to the discussion. I'll respect your wishes, and will acknowledge the contribution of this forum as appropriate.  Think of it as a kind of public brainstorming to help me put together a more compelling and interesting talk! cheers I'd really appreciate all the help I can get!

Cheers,

Andrew

Andrew Legg
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:29 pm

Andrew Legg wrote:Simple question:

 lol! 

lets see how many simple answers you get !!!  Wink

but i have a simple thought...

folks around the world (but not everybody of course !) are probably going to move away from the oriental aesthetic in order to incorporate their own cultural reflections and references in their trees, pots, displays, etc... it has already started and i believe it will only grow.

thats as simple as i gots  jocolor 

_________________

AAC Original Milwaukee Wi. Chapter - North America

aka beer city snake
link to ARBOR ARTS COLLECTIVE BLOG

kevin stoeveken
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  JudyB on Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:56 pm

Personally speaking, I use the art form (and I believe it to be an art form) to express my love of trees and nature. I respect the cultural heritage of bonsai as an art form, and incorporate the main precepts into my trees where it fits into my aesthetic.
I feel like western cultures perceive and see trees differently primarily because of the local ecology differences, and that is going to largely influence what our trees ultimately look like.
Doesn't mean that appreciation of the other disciplines can't coexist with our new perspectives. I image that we will continue to use the parts of the culture that suit the trees as we see it in our minds eye, but I think that it's less a cultural divide than an environmental one.

JudyB
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  appalachianOwl on Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:05 am

 Thanks for opening the discussion Andrew, this is something have been pondering aswell. It will be neat to see how everyone will respond. Ultimately i feel we all really and truly have our own different interpretations and walk our own paths in potted tree indevors (and life Smile ). At the same time we will share certain parts of this path, this is intersting. For my self The relationship between the trees in my care and myself has gone far beyond an "artistic" expresion. These trees are good medicine, in the native american understandment that all things are medicine, not just a substance or concoction for physical health. I have, as of late, decided that i will honor the trees whose roots (no pun intended) are from Japan, by continuing to treat them with cultural atributes to there place of origin, these will be "Bonsai". A similarity to a one JudyB mind you Wink, really i agree with all of what you and Mr. Beer City Snake have to say/said (parts of the same path). The others will be my "trees in pots/brothers,sisters". I have started to develope more of a similar out look of a one Dan Robinson, in that i feel that i too am more a "tree guy" than a "Bonsai guy". I will more than likely keep saying Bonsai though because it's recongizable by most Wink ,its just a word to descibe a concept/process.
Who really knows where this path began? As complex as it is, it is rather simple at the same time. No matter what you do, how could one really go about it diffrently? It will be intersting to see where this path goes, for sure. Look out for the first WhereEver Dwarfed Potted Tree Club!?

appalachianOwl
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Jun 25, 2014 3:30 am

SEE !!!
I toldja !  Wink 

appalachianOwl wrote:  i agree with all of what you and Mr. Beer City Snake have to say/said

hey !
Owl man... save the "Mr." for someone who wears a suit  Razz 

names actually kevin... nice to meetcha.

appalachianOwl wrote: Look out for the first WhereEver Dwarfed Potted Tree Club!?

some of us already have that covered...
"The Arbor Arts Collective"

nothing we want to push... just what we call our little thing that we do.

really looking forward to responses from some of the folks that have been doing this for far longer than i have,
and have probably seen upstarts, wise guys, and shysters hawking vitameatavegamin come and go over the years,,,

_________________

AAC Original Milwaukee Wi. Chapter - North America

aka beer city snake
link to ARBOR ARTS COLLECTIVE BLOG

kevin stoeveken
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  leatherback on Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:35 am

I think the last decades have seen a shift already, where bonsai used to be this highly specilized field with experts who had to go to Japan for training leading the way, that way ensuring a strong Japanese influence in bonsai. Now we see a european (And perhaps US/Indonesian/..) subculture emerging where for instance common objects (Fence poles with barbed wire, small statues) are incorporated in the design; We therefor clearly take a different approach to Bonsai than Japanese-traditional styling? As European old trees are dominated by other characteristics than those found in Japan (I can only assume; Never been there) we also incoorporate more hollows etc.

I think it will continue to diversify, with more and more people getting into Bonsai, and more and more European bonsai masters starting their own schools, reducing the azian-influence on local styles. I think...

leatherback
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  JimLewis on Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:22 pm

Scan through Arthur Joura's long thread (in Top Threads) and you'll find he and others have discussed this topic in some depth.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

JimLewis
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Jun 25, 2014 4:20 pm

beer city snake wrote:
really looking forward to responses from some of the folks that have been doing this for far longer than i have,
and have probably seen upstarts, wise guys, and shysters hawking vitameatavegamin come and go over the years,,,

JimLewis wrote:Scan through Arthur Joura's long thread (in Top Threads) and you'll find he and others have discussed this topic in some depth.

move along folks... nothing to see here... its all already been discussed...   confused 




 lol! 
(well... more of a chuckle to myself but theres no emoticon for that  Wink )

kevin stoeveken
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  appalachianOwl on Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:55 pm

Thanks for the heads up Jim, interesting read as well. It had been lost to myself and surely one or two others, as you said, quite a long one. I will have to agree with you also Andrew, it will branch out in many and endless directions Wink. Likewise Kevin, Jacob, I like where yall are going with the collective by the way.

appalachianOwl
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  Robert J. Baran on Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:52 am

Please also see this article of mine with updates and commentary, http://www.phoenixbonsai.com/BonsaiFutures.html

Robert J. Baran
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  fiona on Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:36 am

I'd like to see factored in an acknowledgement that what is being discussed here is really what direction the "experts" are taking. My observation of the club bonsai scene over here is that for the rank and file bonsai-ist, things are not really changing and a large majority of club members are imitating the Japanese art-form  on a very small scale and most often with lesser quality material. This we continue to create our trees from style-sheets of the major Japanese styles and we continue to use Japanese terminology for no reason IMHO other than it makes things sound more bonsai-ey.  That being said, perhaps there is some truth in the old adage about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. My own take is that in some cases that is correct but in others it reflects little other than a blind acceptance of the status quo.  IMHO things only become art forms when someone has the temerity to challenge the perceived wisdom and go off in a direction of their own. I personally like to see traditional Japanese and some of the more innovative and/or "regional" styles side by side.

But the bottom line for me is that it is always about the quality of the tree and the quality of the workmanship.

_________________
"Espouse elucidation"
_____________________________________

my website

fiona
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  kevin stoeveken on Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:35 pm

very well stated, fiona...

kevin

_________________

AAC Original Milwaukee Wi. Chapter - North America

aka beer city snake
link to ARBOR ARTS COLLECTIVE BLOG

kevin stoeveken
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  JimLewis on Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:56 pm

I'd like to see factored in an acknowledgement that what is being discussed here is really what direction the "experts" are taking.

But that's what "experts" are for, isn't it? They show the way, and the rest of us S L O W L Y follow -- or not.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

JimLewis
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  Andrew Legg on Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:18 pm

Hi everyone. Thanks so much for the responses. I must admit my week got very busy very unexpectedly, so I've not had a chance to read through them. I hope to do that tonight!  Shocked 

Cheers,

Andrew

Andrew Legg
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  fiona on Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:06 pm

JimLewis wrote:
I'd like to see factored in an acknowledgement that what is being discussed here is really what direction the "experts" are taking.

But that's what "experts" are for, isn't it? They show the way, and the rest of us S L O W L Y follow -- or not.

In theory, perhaps. But in my observation the "experts" are often going off in one direction while the rank and file continue with the same approach as they've always done. Essentially, as I see it, we will have innovation from the experts and a few of the more adventurous others, the large mass of the rank and file continuing with the status quo. And of course a group of folk doing their own thing because they don't know how to do either of the two other approaches Wink

_________________
"Espouse elucidation"
_____________________________________

my website

fiona
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  JimLewis on Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:38 pm

Essentially, as I see it, we will have innovation from the experts and a few of the more adventurous others, the large mass of the rank and file continuing with the status quo.

And that's fine. The "masses" always seem to take the easy route. They're the ones who dote on the Kokufen catalogs, and try for carbon copies of the latest Japanese trend. They produce a lot of generic "bonsai," while the "experts" lay the groundwork for the kokufen catalogs of 10 years from now.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

JimLewis
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  Vance Wood on Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:05 pm

It is not such a simple question especially when you understand just how passionate some people get about bonsai. I think there is a sizable number of people that get into bonsai and then give it up a couple of years latter. There are the professionals that make and sell bonsai to the first group and teach in the hopes of developing the third classification: The dedicated amateur. It is from this group you are likely to find directions and trends that will change bonsai in small ways. Will styles change? Yes and no. The classical styles will always be there either as a norm the goal to be attained, or a novelty. New styles will come and go but only those that keep the idea of bonsai intact will remain the rest will be novelties as well.

I think that there is a more independent way of thinking where this third group is not so self conscious about what they are doing, and not so bound with tradition. On one hand studying the classic forms, on the other improvising on those forms as a jazz musician would on a theme by Mozart. Bonsai came out of a culture that I believe embraced the art in the 8th Century (my research) and has absorbed it into its national identity. Western bonsai is only now understanding our own identity expressed in bonsai.

Vance Wood
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  kevin stoeveken on Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:17 pm

succinctly stated, Vance...

I especially dig the musical analogy... very apropos.

I also really enjoy hearing such thoughts as that, from those whose reference base is far deeper than mine...

Kevin

_________________

AAC Original Milwaukee Wi. Chapter - North America

aka beer city snake
link to ARBOR ARTS COLLECTIVE BLOG

kevin stoeveken
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  Vance Wood on Mon Jun 30, 2014 2:01 am

Thank You, it's very nice to be thought of in positive terms occasionally.

Vance Wood
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  Neli on Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:13 am

fiona wrote:I'd like to see factored in an acknowledgement that what is being discussed here is really what direction the "experts" are taking. My observation of the club bonsai scene over here is that for the rank and file bonsai-ist, things are not really changing and a large majority of club members are imitating the Japanese art-form  on a very small scale and most often with lesser quality material. This we continue to create our trees from style-sheets of the major Japanese styles and we continue to use Japanese terminology for no reason IMHO other than it makes things sound more bonsai-ey.  That being said, perhaps there is some truth in the old adage about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. My own take is that in some cases that is correct but in others it reflects little other than a blind acceptance of the status quo.  IMHO things only become art forms when someone has the temerity to challenge the perceived wisdom and go off in a direction of their own. I personally like to see traditional Japanese and some of the more innovative and/or "regional" styles side by side.

But the bottom line for me is that it is always about the quality of the tree and the quality of the workmanship.
I am not old in bonsai...but of late I have been appreciating and striving for unique unusual expression of my individuality, and I must say it is not easy, to come out of the box created by rules and general perceptions created while looking at bonsai in the main stream.
I have observed differences within continents and between continents...and I have seen new trends emerging by bold and talented artists.
I just hope that will continue, and make bonsai more unique and different and at the same time more interesting.
And this is one example of what I have seen as a new trend in Malaysia.

Neli
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon Jun 30, 2014 12:39 pm

Neli - looks like a contorted filbert (aka harry lauders walking stick), except those dont need wire  Razz 

Vance - no sweat... even though i might push against the norm, it would be foolish to discount what and who came before to set the standard upon which we build and eventually diverge...

another music analogy: even though joe strummer of the clash wrote "no elvis, beatles or rolling stones..." in the song "1977", he definitely held the stones and elvis in high regard (not so sure about the beatles though  Wink )

great topic !

kevin stoeveken
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  Vance Wood on Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:40 pm

Interesting that you should bring up the Beatles. Though you can argue about who the actual musical genius that drove the Beatles was it is my contention the Beatles were an entity made of several great talents that together caused another talent to emerge, specifically the group. That being said the interesting thing about the Beatles is the universal attraction their music has to a varied and wide spectrum of individuals. It is unlikely that many of the famous or infamous musical talents occupying the charts today will be represented widely in other genre in the future. I have difficulty seeing Rap music being crossed over for strings and choir anytime soon.

Vance Wood
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon Jun 30, 2014 2:58 pm

cant argue with that !

something that might surprise you though is that there is a faction of (predominantly white) rap/hip-hop artists emerging that are using that genre for more of a storytelling platform, and the refreshing thing is that it is decidedly not "gangster" based, is not misogynistic and does not involve chest-thumping braggadocio. One in particular "astronautalis" actually tells historical tales, ranging from the battle of trenton to old time sea faring tales... and they use actual instrumentation ranging from orchestral to primitive (others in that realm: buck 65, dessa, atmosphere)

...but we digress  Wink 

sorry Andrew !
we dont mean to hi-jack your thread !

kevin stoeveken
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  JimLewis on Mon Jun 30, 2014 4:41 pm

and does not involve chest-thumping braggadocio.

How about crotch grabbing (or are they trying to hold their pants up)?

I'm getting used to rap/hiphop -- at least when it appears they've taken a bath in the last month or two and don't itch in unmentionable places.

I was a bit snobby about the Beatles, back in the day, but they and their music grew on me (though for some reason they're still not represented in the thousand or so CDs and vinyls I own. Those are mostly opera, classical, folk, and bluegrass/old-time country, in that order. Not much use for most of today's country "stars.").

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

JimLewis
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  Vance Wood on Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:13 pm

Trying to get back on track from the musical analogies I have to agree only partly with Neli, it is true that many of the so called masters may be doing what I suggest was happening by bringing up the musical references, it is necessary that it is these same iconoclasts that will be teaching future generations of bonsai growers, I am (not that I'm a master) but many look to me to set a level of achievement, the poor fools.

Vance Wood
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai's future

Post  Sponsored content Today at 8:31 am


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Page 1 of 2 1, 2  Next

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum