While browsing bonsai chat forums I ran across a thread where people were divulging their favourite bonsai myth. I proposed the myth about “bonsai seeds” and explained the misconception I was facing without any further involvement in the thread. Furthermore, I returned to the thread to see that someone had posted that his biggest bonsai myth was that doing bonsai involves guidelines. This struck me as a very powerful affirmation, not so because it was the truth but because I always felt and thank the same. To me, this was a great statement that joined my conception of what bonsai was.
Bonsai purist will tell that bonsai is an artistic activity and that it must respect strict guidelines of design. While I concur to half of this statement, the last portion is not my conception of Bonsai. While I think bonsai is an art, I do not think it has to involve guidelines.
Many art forms, like films, paintings, calligraphy, sculpture and why not poetry are art forms. But, the purists of these respective art forms will judge the productions of an artist according to some guidelines. That way, it is easier to classify every piece of works into predetermined drawers. To some extent, you look like you know what you are talking about when you are successful at classifying paintings into specific era or classify a poem by its literary movements.
Art to me is not about conformity to some movement or specific guidelines. Don’t get me wrong, if you want to do a horror movie, do a horror movie. If you want to do a neo-surrealism poem, then do a neo-surrealism poem, and there is nothing wrong with this. Some have already achieved great results at their respective art form and they have invented or have taken the recipe to do the art to a step above what as been done so far. However, art, just like bonsai art, is what is within. What you feel inside is what it is important. And if the design in your bonsai tree satisfies your inner desire, then it is art form.
Art of Bonsai
Any art, and bonsai art included, is all about a representation of a reality you perceived as a human being. This is what forms your signature as an artist. Like said before, if you want to do a horror movie in respect to the strict guidelines of the art form and what as been done so far, do take it a step beyond, and add a touch of yourself in the process. No need to copy the instructions manual when you do something, add to it and innovate.
While I must admit, my bonsai tree collection is far from impressive to some if you compare my trees to some collection of a bonsaiist considered a master by the community, and some of them are probably considered stick in a pot, but to me they represent the vision I got for this tree when I looked at it.
I respect the work of bonsai masters and some do innovate and create trends in the bonsai community. However, im certain that you and me have already seen a bonsai tree considered a masterpiece and found something you could have done different. Well, that’s what it’s about; your own touch of truth. Grow bonsai like you want and perfect your techniques in regards to your feelings.