Author Topic: Professional Bonsai Debate  (Read 4674 times)

Marc

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Re: Professional Bonsai Debate
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2012, 07:08 AM »
"The Japanese trained guys (no gals yet?"

Kathy Shaner might disagree...

 

Elliott

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Re: Professional Bonsai Debate
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2012, 02:28 PM »
Owen, the demo's I'm talking about that clubs should increase the amount they pay for are not the huge productions that are often have pro photographers followed by pictorial in bonsai focus which usualy occur at a big show in Europe or something. Yeah, often a great piece of raw yamadori is wrapped up like a mummy at the wrong time of the year, bent like a pretzel on acid, and if it lives or dies, is almost besides the point because it was just done for entertainment.
 What I mean is the monthly program most of our local bonsai clubs have. Usualy its a tree and it may be it's first styling or second one or the subject may be on repotting or pots or a powerpoint presentation on somebodies vacation to Japan.
 Clubs should pay the most they can afford because it's a small part of a bigger picture where it is getting possible to make a living with bonsai. The more money to be made, the better quality of the trees. That has been proven
In Japan and Europe.
 

John Kirby

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Re: Professional Bonsai Debate
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2012, 04:28 PM »
Marc. Touche, I really blew that one. And Cheryl Manning, but what us an oversight or three. Let the beatings commence.
 

Anthony

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Re: Professional Bonsai Debate
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2012, 05:39 AM »
Interesting topic.

I wish Mr. Valavanis would say more, as I believe he trained under a very individual Bonsai master, as what is seen in the book, Four Seasons of Bonsai, is also a very high standard, and very individual.

For the tropics, Southernmost China, might be better, however for the island of Trindad/Tobago, you would be wasting your time if looking for some form of employment, with trained trees.
We still have too much green and forests/jungles are all too easy to fall into.
As a friend explained to me, living in an apartment in a large city, parks don't quite give that feeling of nature and growing Bonsai takes on a different level.

Professional, is usually a term used along with sales.

Perhaps the word that needs to be used is Vocation, along with a level of skill/creativity appreciated by others who are universally accepted as masters?

Anyhow, I often wonder if the the truly gifted in Bonsai/Penjing, just live quiet lives, and their work speaks for them.

Action always speaks louder than words, so the proof of ability is in the seen examples?
Anthony
 

JJR

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Re: Professional Bonsai Debate
« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2012, 11:20 PM »
What do you mean by 'under a very individual bonsai master'?
 

Anthony

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Re: Professional Bonsai Debate
« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2012, 03:52 AM »
JJR,

Mr.Murata's work in the Four Seasons book displays attractive work, that is not run of the mill.
Just as Titian stands out amongst the great Venetian painters,as a great oil painter.
Hope this explains.
Anthony
 

rockm

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Re: Professional Bonsai Debate
« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2012, 01:33 PM »
I believe Mr. Valavanis trained under Yuji Yushimura, not Murata...
 

Marc

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Re: Professional Bonsai Debate
« Reply #22 on: December 06, 2012, 07:20 PM »

Actually, he studied with Kyuzo Murata in Japan before studing with Yuji Yoshimura in the USA. Bill also studied with several
other teachers in Japan, broadening his expertise further yet. His thirst for Bonsai knowledge continues even though he is one of the most knowledgeable in the world!Bill has devoted his life to sharing both his passion and knowledge of Bonsai with the world.
 

John Kirby

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Re: Professional Bonsai Debate
« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2012, 11:57 AM »
Traveling with Bill to Japan was a lot of fun, for his knowledge and history, but also for the gracious way he was received by his many long time friends. If you get a chance to go with Bill on one of his guided trips, it is a great introduction. If you go, don't tell Kora that you know me or mention my name, I cannot be responsible for the outcome.
 

GastroGnome

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Re: Professional Bonsai Debate
« Reply #24 on: December 09, 2012, 09:45 AM »
Marc is right, even though he goofed on me once for being obsessed with pots ;-)
I do believe Bill was the first American Apprentice in Japan, and I think his studies of Ikebana and his constant exposure to Great bonsai have given him a love of odd and unusual bonsai, this seems a common response to constant exposure. 
I think we seem to be confusing the issue here semantically.  What is a professional: someone who earns the principle portion of their living doing a given thing.  By this definition, there are many bonsai professionals, though less than a handful make a decent living doing ONLY bonsai and bonsai related biz.  Is a bonsai farmer(stock producer) a bonsai professional?  Hell yes.  And the lack of them is one of the principle reasons we lag. 
I think we're confusing the term bonsai professional with Bonsai Artist.  I'm a chef, and I work with food, and I'm pretty damn good at it.  A chef is a professional cook.  But then there are guys like Grant Achatz who are capital C Chefs, food artists who do things I couldn't dream.  What makes a Bonsai Artist, or a capital C Chef?  It's not an apprenticeship(although Achatz did apprentice with best of his time), it's not making money, it's the communities opinion of you.  Only someone else can say you're a great artist, or a great Chef.  Anything else is hubris(is he here?)
 

Anthony

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Re: Professional Bonsai Debate
« Reply #25 on: December 09, 2012, 11:27 AM »
As long as the person is honest, -------------- I grow bonsai to sell, this is a profession, I studied bonsai in the apropriate situation [ i.e an acknowledged teacher [ acknowledged by other know teachers ]] I have no problems.

Bonsai Artist, would be a title from other members of a Bonsai Guild.

Joe Average would probably think it is a pretty tree.
Afternoon to you all.
Anthony.
 

William N. Valavanis

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Re: Professional Bonsai Debate
« Reply #26 on: December 09, 2012, 03:14 PM »
Sorry, I was NOT the first American bonsai apprentice in Japan, but am the first in several other aspects of bonsai. I was fortunate to apprentice with Murata and Komuro in Japan during the period of 1970-1972.

I believe Chase Rosade studied with Kyozo Yoshida in Nara, Japan in the early 1960s. Then Lynn Perry Alstadt studied on weekends with Kyuzo Murata in Omiya Bonsai Village in the early 1960s too, while she worked at the American Embassy Agriculture Department.

There have been many others since me, and there are numerous contemporary American and foreign apprentices throughout Japan now. In fact, there are so many, I often wonder why the Japanese have opened their gardens to teach foreigners. Is it because they want to share their knowledge and skill with foreigners, OR is it because it's becoming increasingly difficult to get young Japanese to become apprentices.

By the way, originally the Japanese bonsai artists would send their sons to other Japanese bonsai artists to train. It was kind of a "closed group," with artists training each others sons, very rarely outsiders.

For example, each of these artists are (or were) professional bonsai artists in Japan: Komatsu sent his son to Murata; Urushibata sent his son to Kimura; Oshima sent his son to Suzuki, Toshinori; Tanaka sent his son to Suzuki, Toru; Suzuki, Shinji's son is currently studying with Kimura.

Bill
 

bigDave

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Re: Professional Bonsai Debate
« Reply #27 on: December 09, 2012, 07:05 PM »
 
Very interesting Bill

Also one who blazed a trail and had a great nursery and career in bonsai was Carl Young who was a Californian.  I know you knew him.


He was a bit before his time and in the internet age would have made a fortune on plant sales I think.
He studied in Japan for 20 years if I remember how he told it. Starting in the 40's

Miss that ole curmudgeon

 

Anthony

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Re: Professional Bonsai Debate
« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2012, 06:46 AM »
Thank you very much Mr.Valvanis for replying.

On the point on Apprentices and Apprenticeships, the working model is one goes to study with a master and the master pays you while you study there, with food, or clothing or other.

When you end up paying the master that is better termed as school and you are a student. The limits here, are you go and are instructed, not sweep anyones' yard or weed his plants or wire his trees.
With this situation all you have is as we call it - a smartman way - of getting free labour and some fool to also pay for it.

If it is being offered then what will normally happen is you will want your money back and to forget the humilation of being a maid or yardman.
I can see why in the OR part of what you typed, the Japanese youth -- may -- be backing off from training as Bonsai folk.

With the size of China for example and all the voices speaking in one general note, a Chinese person returning home with Western ideas, would be as a sore thumb.
So when folk start to realise that they - might - be ripped off as apprentices, because Western ideas start to filter in, they will most - possibly - rebel.

My friend only just realised yesterday, that the original use of the trees and stones, might have been to allow the mind to relax and dream, in dreaming, new ideas and solutions could be found, but while one is awake.
This might explain in the Ancient Chinese paintings, the simplicity of the trees as opposed to what is seen today.

It is explained that the value of a stone to the Ancient Chinese Scholars was often simply who had owned it previously.
To touch the past.
Good Morning.
Anthony

 

JDNeessen

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Re: Professional Bonsai Debate
« Reply #29 on: December 16, 2012, 11:17 AM »
This thread is interesting.  I've been taking courses at my local nursery for about 6 years and have been thinking about next steps since I'd like advance my knowledge and skill level.  Has there ever been any serious talk about developing a undergraduate or graduate level degree or certificate program at an art school or some of the state agricultural schools that have strong art programs and has a reputable nursery nearby?  There is so much to learn in terms of horticulture and the art form of bonsai that a longer term program with the regular structure of a degree/certificate program might be a good way to master some of the content in terms of botany/ horticulture and to practice the artistic "sculpting" of bonsai material.

This is coming from someone who works in higher education, so maybe I'm just biased, but not everyone can travel to Japan to study for long periods of time, but traveling in the states is more doable.  Some of the masters here in the states could teach some great courses at local schools about bonsai and the longer term structure of a semester could make for some interesting work on trees giving you the opportunity to see the progression of your material over the course of the program.

A program like this at a school where there is a nearby reputable bonsai nursery could make for an interesting student experience with an opportunity to learn a lot.  Courses could include botany, horticulture, sculpture, history of bonsai and penjing, various technique courses, pottery, nursery management, styling, display, etc.  

I think it could make for a very interesting program.  It might not be like living at a nursery, but could provide some long term structure to learning bonsai that I know I'd benefit from.  Also, if it had a good enough collection of masters teaching and students turned out strong work, graduates could leave the program with a level of credibility that could help pursue the art.