Is Bonsai Focus just Bonsai Europe with a new name?

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Hello all,

Don't get me wrong folks, I like Bonsai Focus very much, but when they bought Bonsai Today and merged it into one magazine, I thought we were going to get the Kinbon articles (translated of course) and a bit more American perspective on bonsai. Instead, the magazine looks just like the old Bonsai Europe! Let me know if you think I'm just whistling Dixie or someone else agrees.

Finally, are there any other magazines that translate Kinbon (into English) and or have some articles on what's happening here in America!

Thanks
Juniperus Californica


P.S. Does anybody from Bonsai Focus read this blog?
 

JasonG

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Hi JC,

I too get Bonsai Focus and every month there is atleast 1 article translated from Kinbon. As for it showing mostly European stuff....well they are busier then us Americans therfore have more to offer the magazine. Give it some time, there will start to be more of an American presence in the mag.....it will just take a few years...

Jason
 
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Are the Euros busier than us Americans?

Janson,

You say the Euros are busier than us Americans? Are you saying Americans have nothing to offer Bonsai Focus? The bigger question is, have the Americans fallen that far behind in Bonsai?

Thanks

JC
 

JasonG

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Janson,

You say the Euros are busier than us Americans? Are you saying Americans have nothing to offer Bonsai Focus? The bigger question is, have the Americans fallen that far behind in Bonsai?

Thanks

JC

Hmmm.... better watch what I say here, lol!! Sure, I think some Americans have something to offer BF but maybe they have no interest in submitting an article. Where as the Europeans are the ones that are writing the articles. This is speculation....

Yes, we do lag behind Europe in bonsai, this is very well known. One day though we will catch up....it is all about material.

Jason
 
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You say the Euros are busier than us Americans? Are you saying Americans have nothing to offer Bonsai Focus? The bigger question is, have the Americans fallen that far behind in Bonsai?


Fallen behind? Hell, we never caught up....

Remember this contest? The material argument holds no water either, we have far better material, in fact, look at the best European entry in that contest, it is a Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum) kind makes us look a little silly....and especially makes the material argument pointless.

There are Americans that have plenty to offer Bonsai Focus, they just don't.



Will
 
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greerhw

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Fallen behind? Hell, we never caught up....

Remember this contest? The material argument holds no water either, we have far better material, in fact, look at the best European entry in that contest, it is a Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum) kind makes us look a little silly....and especially makes the material argument pointless.

There are Americans that have plenty to offer Bonsai Focus, they just don't.
Will



I guess I'm just selfish, but I never liked someone making a profit from something I spent a lot of money for. Now if they want to made a donation to my favorite charity and any of my trees are worthy to be in their magazine, I'm available anytime, otherwise I just like to share them here and on BT for my online friends to enjoy free.

Harry
 
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I guess I'm just selfish, but I never liked someone making a profit from something I spent a lot of money for. Now if they want to made a donation to my favorite charity and any of my trees are worthy to be in their magazine, I'm available anytime, otherwise I just like to share them here and on BT for my online friends to enjoy free.

Harry

Harry, although it is not much, magazines pay for articles, I received compensation for every article I have had published and if I can do it, I'm sure anyone who can put a article together can.

Also, without profit, we would have nothing to read but a few forums, no books, no mags.....even here we see ads.

Sharing with on-line friends is always nice, but the on-line bonsai community is but a small percentage of the international bonsai community, the majority of which do not frequent on-line forums. Magazines reach far more people.



Will
 

greerhw

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Harry, although it is not much, magazines pay for articles, I received compensation for every article I have had published and if I can do it, I'm sure anyone who can put a article together can.

Also, without profit, we would have nothing to read but a few forums, no books, no mags.....even here we see ads.

Sharing with on-line friends is always nice, but the on-line bonsai community is but a small percentage of the international bonsai community, the majority of which do not frequent on-line forums. Magazines reach far more people.




Will, BT is the board for the new and the cheap. If they won't spend more than $25 for bonsai material, they for sure aren't go to spend $$ for a magazine subscription and that's the people I reach. Most people that will spend $$ for a magazine subscription want to see better trees than mine.

Harry
 
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JasonG

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Don't sell your trees short Harry, You have some killer trees and employ one of the best out there to make sure they are in top notch shape.

I personally think if you are serious about bonsai you must subscribe to Bonsai Focus or another bonsai publication of which there are a few of them out there. I know I will never go without a subscription to a bonsai magazine as long as I am in bonsai, heck I want to add a few more subscriptions to the mix.

But, if you won't spend more than $25 on a tree you will never subscribe to a magazine unless you are ready to step up and get serious about bonsai.

My 2cents

Jason
 

greerhw

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Don't sell your trees short Harry, You have some killer trees and employ one of the best out there to make sure they are in top notch shape.

I personally think if you are serious about bonsai you must subscribe to Bonsai Focus or another bonsai publication of which there are a few of them out there. I know I will never go without a subscription to a bonsai magazine as long as I am in bonsai, heck I want to add a few more subscriptions to the mix.

But, if you won't spend more than $25 on a tree you will never subscribe to a magazine unless you are ready to step up and get serious about bonsai.

My 2cents

Jason

Where I hit 65, I canceled my subscription to Playboy, I hadn't seen any new developments since silicone, air brushing, and maybe Photoshop.
Plastic Surgeons are somewhat like bonsai masters, they take good material and make it better. Certified, card carrying, paid up member in good standing in the "Dirty Old Men's Club" right Jason.

Harry
 
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Dwight

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Jasons too young Harry. Now me .....well lets just say " god bless the American College of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery " and long live dirty old men !!!!

Now what were we talking about ???
 
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Fallen behind? Hell, we never caught up....

Will,

I haven't read this whole thread yet... but I felt motivated to completely agree with this... as well as your point on the superiority of our material.

I will also venture to say that I believe our stagnation is rooted in the early Japanese traditionalism that migrated out of California as the art took root in the US. Europe did not have that same proximity of influence, and instead did something delightfully their own. There are a small handful in the US who do their own thing, but it did not come without price. American's love "Experts"... so the herd has always migrated towards anyone who can hold that label... whether or not its a good thing to do. To go against the experts was to risk being shunned. Still happens today, to greater or lesser degrees. I think we have at least noticed that there is something very different that can be done... even if we still choose to wear our blinders.

None of this is meant to inflame the devotees of the experts... It's just a personal observation. Take it for what it is.... something to think on.

Kindest regards,


Victrinia
 
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Oh and did I mention Taiwan??????????????????????????? Talk about inspiring. ;)
 
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Victrinia,

Well said!

Japonism can certainly have a place in bonsai as it has in other art forms, but as the only means of expression, it can be become rather boring.

However, I fear the problem is not a mere movement, but instead actual Japanism, which is fed by those who proclaim traditionalism is the only means to creating "real" bonsai. Japanese terms are used often (nebari, Mame, Shohin, etc), Japanese music is played at shows and exhibitions and Japanese flower arranging, decor, calligraphy and other influences are incorporated into our displays.

What to do?
 

Ang3lfir3

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What to do?

Wait.... encourage those who defy the norm... consider including judges in shows that are NOT Japanese trained... place a greater emphasis on the American style and accept that it may include Asian influences... promote artists who are truly unique American visionaries (there aren't that many)...

all are things that could be done to combat the stagnation of American bonsai...
 

JasonG

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I don't think that the bonsai "stagnation" has anything to do with Japan or a Japanese influence...Japan is leaps and bounds ahead of American and still ahead of Europe. Many books I ahve in Japanese that show bonsai are anything but boring or cookie cutter, quite the opposite actually.

The problem with bonsai in America is that fact that most of the people in bonsai buy crap material and won't spend the money to buy quality material, thus elevating bonsai in America and elevating peoples skills because they are now serious about bonsai.

It all goes back to the quote of Peter Warren that is somewhere in this site, remember is started a huge discussion/war??? Basically it was that most Americans think a cheap juniper is doing bonsai....

America is turning around though and I am confident that in 10 years we will be leaps and bounds ahead of where we are today as a whole. I know I stepped my game up seriously in 2008 as a goal to better my collection and I have, learning new things all the time and it pays off.

Now, I think with the Bill V show it will also put America's trees out there for the world to see, we never really had that before..... no we do and that is huge.

Jason
 
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Jason...

I agree... great bonsai can only happen with great material. The forums would prove the US doesn't have a corner on the sticks in pots racket. It's a maturity (in the art) issue. People for whom this is no mere pastime, will get to the point where their vision outstrips their material, and they will move up. It doesn't invalidate what they did before... it was just their proving ground. Depending on the person, this can take a very long time.... or very short. I personally find that the rapidity with which that change will happen is greatly dependant on one's ability to work on great trees... handle them... learn that there's nothing to be afraid of.

When I see the 1-2-3 triangle on every tree in sight (regardless of it's actually being a conifer...young or old).... I know the depth of Japanese influence on the collective.


Kindest regards,

Victrinia
 

Ang3lfir3

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Let's presume that when we are talking about American bonsai we are talking about those in America who are willing to put down the $$ for proper material or better yet... those who know how to collect great material... that should narrow this discussion quite a bit.

Even these people are creating 1-2-3 cookie cutter trees..... I personally know of a large Shimpaku juniper (that is not for sale) that is sitting in a bonsai nursery with a giant Mushroom cap on top of it.... once you manage to get around that you can see the deadwood and live vein underneath... this is all lost in some idea of a perfect "helmet". whether this is japanese influence or not I will leave up to you. (yes i bitch about that tree all the time... cuz he won't sell it to me... and no i am not talking about Daniel)


@Jason -- I'm curious as to when the last time you saw a truley American bonsai artist as a head liner at a convention? Europe has its own flavor... and that is something that needs to be developed more in America... it's ok for America to be behind... after all its far younger to us than to EU and certainly Asia....
 
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Will...

I happen to like Japanese esthetics... but when it comes to my trees or the ones I work on, that's where the train leaves the station. I think most of it is again exposure. Most of what is great in a tree will still be true when the styling is done. Augment, enhance, and expose... but don't make the tree into something it's not. That's the simple truth my exposure in bonsai has taught me.

The influence is so entrenched, it'll be a while before we shake it off... after all how often do we meet a Japanese person and wonder if they do bonsai...? I know I've done it without thinking. Talk about type casting... but we've bought into that notion that - epicanthic fold = bonsai expert

My apologies to anyone who thinks I am being too frank... blame it on my teacher... he's been somewhat shocking a time or two himself. ;)

Hope springs eternal though... and nothing will delight me more than seeing Americans embracing their own trees, in their own way... it'll happen one artist at a time.

Kindest regards,

Victrinia

PS. I very sincerely apologize for hyjacking this thread.
 
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greerhw

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Victrinia,

Well said!

Japonism can certainly have a place in bonsai as it has in other art forms, but as the only means of expression, it can be become rather boring.

However, I fear the problem is not a mere movement, but instead actual Japanism, which is fed by those who proclaim traditionalism is the only means to creating "real" bonsai. Japanese terms are used often (nebari, Mame, Shohin, etc), Japanese music is played at shows and exhibitions and Japanese flower arranging, decor, calligraphy and other influences are incorporated into our displays.

What to do?

Why fix it if it's not broke.

Harry
 

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