Greatest Western Bonsai Master?

amkhalid

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Ok ok... no one likes picking favorites!

But whose trees do you like best?

I find Nick Lenz's trees to be the most inspirational, creative, and the ones I can most closely relate to in terms of native material.

:)
 
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DaveV

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Hi amkhalid,

I don't know who I would pick, but I personally feel that he or she also has to be a great bonsai teacher - adds to the body of knowledge and shares their knowledge with others. To me, the teacher quality holds more weight than the artist quality.
 

amkhalid

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Very good point DaveV... of course John Naka had the reputation of being a masterful teacher... I have taken classes with Walter and Marco as well, both of whom are amazing teachers, albeit with very different but equally valuable approaches.

While I have never studied with Nick, I consider his book an indirect educational resource. Bonsai From the Wild is the most important bonsai book I have ever read, hence I believe Nick to be a great teacher.
 

greerhw

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I don't think you can pick just one, they all have their good points.

Keep it green,
Harry
 

snobird

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Like Harry says, everyone of them has his/her good points. I personally like Marco and Walter as teachers and artists because they explain so good what they do to the tree and they can prove through their work how good they are. Then of course John Naka was the ultimate teacher but I never saw him in action.
 

JasonG

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This is a tough one for me to answer...... I have yet to work with Suthin who is a real talent and I have yet to work with Cathy Shanor who is very good too.....

If I had to pick my short list of who I thought was the best it would be most anyone coming from Kimura's garden, Marco is currently the cream of the crop and I think also holds the torch for the Greatest Bonsai Master in the Western world right now. His bag of tricks is much deeper than almost anyone else's.
I love and respect the hell out of Walter, he has taught me so much and his collection speaks volumes. Both of these guys are some of the busiest and most popular teachers here in America and they don't even live here! haha

For residents of America I think Boon is pretty much the top on the west coast and Suthin tops out East. Mike Hagedorn is good, Cathy Shanor (sp?) is good, Dave DeGroot is good, and there is a host of guys studying in Japan right now too.....most notably will be the return of Ryan Neil....remember that name. The American bonsai world has noooooo idea of what is about to happen and has never experienced something like it before.... wait and see :D
 

Mark

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Who just set a record for highest amount paid for a demo tree in Australia? Bill Valavanis. His Bonsai went for even more than Kimura's. Who designed the best Bonsai at the last Gingko. IMO Bill Valavanis.
Who has done more educating than all the people mentioned.Bill Valavanis. He has published INTERNATIONAL BONSAI Magazine for over 30 years, providing educational material on all facets of Bonsai,Suiseki and display.Bill has been teaching all over the world and also has held the best educational Bonsai Symposiums held year after year. Bill has introduced many of the people mentioned to the greater Bonsai community. Bill has taken groups to Japan to study Bonsai and introduced them to Bonsai artists they never would have had access to. It was Bill Valavanis that produced the First National Exhibition when all we got from others was whining and excuses. Bill Valavanis just released the exhibiton album, which is second only to Kokofu-ten in quality so fine American Bonsai could be studied by those unable to come and those who want to see them again. Bill promotes Bonsai not himself. He is the greatest Western Bonsai"Master".

Mark
 

cquinn

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Who just set a record for highest amount paid for a demo tree in Australia? Bill Valavanis. His Bonsai went for even more than Kimura's. Who designed the best Bonsai at the last Gingko. IMO Bill Valavanis.
Who has done more educating than all the people mentioned.Bill Valavanis. He has published INTERNATIONAL BONSAI Magazine for over 30 years, providing educational material on all facets of Bonsai,Suiseki and display.Bill has been teaching all over the world and also has held the best educational Bonsai Symposiums held year after year. Bill has introduced many of the people mentioned to the greater Bonsai community. Bill has taken groups to Japan to study Bonsai and introduced them to Bonsai artists they never would have had access to. It was Bill Valavanis that produced the First National Exhibition when all we got from others was whining and excuses. Bill Valavanis just released the exhibiton album, which is second only to Kokofu-ten in quality so fine American Bonsai could be studied by those unable to come and those who want to see them again. Bill promotes Bonsai not himself. He is the greatest Western Bonsai"Master".

Mark
Yeah, Valavanis has done a lot for Western Bonsai especially American Bonsai. Let's also not forget that his teacher was one of if not the first to turn out a book on bonsai in English.
 

rockm

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Living? or otherwise? Difficult

John Naka, hands down, the most influential Western bonsai artist, although I'd add he might have been the most influential in the world. He taught for over 50 years, traveled extensively, influenced countless professional artists--ask any of the other living Western bonsai artists if they met Naka and/or had been influenced by him.

Yuji Yoshimura is another artist in Naka's category with alot of influence.

Living artists? Lenz, Valavanis...It should also be noted that some artists are outstanding because they understand a SINGLE species like no one else. Harry Hirao and Cal. Junipers, Gary Marchal with Bald Cypress for example.
 

Attila Soos

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I love John Naka's trees, because they just seem to be trees, without any pretense of anything else.

Bill Valavanis, he is able to create wonderful bonsai from very humble material. His patience is beyond my comprehension.

Walter Pall brings out the rugged beauty of the mountain trees. And occasionally, his trees are dancing like ballerinas.

Nick Lenz, he can play with trees like nobody else, and his sense of humor is sharp like a razor. All this is reflected in his bonsai.

Of the younger generation, I like Mario Komsta's work. That kid is just brilliant, sometimes his trees seem to good to be true - but I have no reason to doubt him. His trees look a little too manicured, but I belive that this "shortcoming" will be corrected as Mario gets older and more mature as an artist.
 
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