Welcome to my Homepage and thanks for clicking on my link. I hope to
present you with a vast overview of my designs and philosophies on Bonsai
and, hopefully, not bore you to death. First though, a little bit about me
and what you’ll be seeing here on my site.
I was born
in New York City in 1956 and have been living in the beautiful city of
Nürnberg, Germany for the past 20 years with my family where I enjoy the
lifestyle afforded to me by my profession as an airline pilot for a major
airline here in Europe. That said, I do NOT make my living as a bonsai
artist or trader since it then would become just another job and I intend
to keep it interesting. I have raw material to sell or trade as well as
finished trees for sale so if you see something just email or call.
Whereas my profession affords me the time to invest
in bonsai it does not provide me the freedom to be creative since flying
is highly regimented due to vast regulations. This is where bonsai comes
into the picture for me. Styling and collecting trees helps me to balance
out my regimented lifestyle with nature and imagination. It is a place
where I find peace, meditation and relaxation.
When I finally take time for my trees; whether it be
creating, collecting or just plain watering, I relieve myself of all the
stress in my professional and personal life. No pondering about the past…….no
stress about the future. The only thing that really counts at that moment
is me and the tree.
Every tree has a story and everyone starting in bonsai also has some story.
I’m no exception to the fact. My first tree, a small maple (acer
palmatum), I received from my wife as a present. My wife, having also no
idea about bonsai, ordered it through a mail order catalogue. At the time,
I couldn’t tell you the difference between a weed and a plant but this
bonsai fascinated me. So I decided to buy a few books and see if I could
create one of those fantastic imports you see from Japan. Mistake number
one! After reading the book from cover to cover I ‘styled’ the tree and a
year later it succumbed to fungus and I ended up giving it to the great
compost in the sky.
So, what did I do wrong? I found out later that I
styled the tree at the wrong time of the year and just plain tortured it.
But, not being one to give up easily, I decided to give it another try and
I visited a plant store and bought one of the many imports from China.
Shortly thereafter, I visited a bonsai show in a nearby town and I was
overcome by the many fantastic trees on display. That is where I saw my
first real bonsai and the disease set in! I had the chance, during the
show, to speak with a few of the ‘professionals’ and that really
woke the passion in me. This tree, a simple elm purchased in 1994,
I still have today and still experiment on it from time to time. Since the
tree really lays in my heart it is not for sale since I can never
part with it.
My beginning in Bonsai started with this elm in 1994. Since that
time I have been active in local clubs and learned under the guidance of
many great artist including Pius Notter, Serge Clemenc, Hartmund
Münchenbach, Uli Ernst and Walter Pall just to name a few. I earned 1st
place in the New Talent competition 2007 for Germany and have done
exhibitions as far as Lithuania. I have also worked very closely with
Kevin Wilson and have spent many years with my teacher and mentor Jürgen
Zaar of which I give personal thanks for having faith and patience in me.
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My Philosophy about Bonsai
The most important
basis for my passion in Bonsai lies in its spiritual aspect. Next to my
love of plants and nature comes the fascination of art which is hidden in
raw material and comes alive during the styling process.
In our culture here in the west it is many times
seen, as so many other art objects, as a timely investment.
We need to look further into what the Japanese refer to as ‘wabi-sabi’
to even begin to understand the meaning of Bonsai. It is said that the
western mind cannot really comprehend wabi-sabi but basically translates
to the recognition of beauty in insignificant objects. And so
therefore, my work with Bonsai is also based on this meditation philosophy.
If you attend most of the Bonsai shows and conventions today what is
offered is not only a Bonsai display but also lots of action in the form
of live demonstrations. During these ‘demonstrations’ raw material
will be transformed into a finished work of art within a short period of
time. Sometimes within a period of around 4 hours. The thinking behind
this I believe is to spark the interest of the public even more in the art
of Bonsai. While this may be true it has little to do with the real intent
and philosophy of Bonsai.
Another nuance is that many beginners attending
first time workshops expect to leave at the end of the day with a
‘finished tree’. I have never really grasped either of these concepts
as they have little to do with the philosophy of Bonsai. One also has to
ask just how many of these trees are living today. I do take part in
Demo’s though, but only when I can style the tree in accordance with my
philosophy and when I feel that the material is ready.
A Bonsai is never finished. It is a life long process for the tree as well
as the artist.
Bonsai for me is a life long process, an awareness of life
itself. It is an awareness of life within the tree in combination with the
laws of nature to help form the tree.
And last, but not least, a summary of my philosophy to all that might
study under me: Respect for nature and the laws thereof, patience with the
tree and yourself and the will to progress further.
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