Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The BMW Saga number 16

This is from a thread at Bonsai Nut about Western Display Concepts. See Bonsai Nut Display


What is "success" for Western bonsai?

How do we know if Walter's exhibit was successful--would it be more leased BMWs overall? More BMW drivers oohing and ahhing as they paused to drink their free showroom espresso in front of the red lighted pine?

I'd always thought Walter had been successful in bonsai, all one has to do is look at the breadth and depth of his collection and the skill it took to produce it...

I suspect all this is going to be measured differently by different people.


These trees in the exhibit have to get watered every day. We do this with a big sprayer. I spend about three quarters of an hour to just make everything dripping wet. (btw. the acrylic stands are extremely useful for that. It does not matter at all whether they get wet). Anyway, while I water lots of people come close and look at the trees. They often just ignore me and speak to each other. Often they also ask me questions. They are usually quite amazed. They came to this enormous car event show and did not expect anything like trees in pots. They all have a vague understanding of bonsai. And without exception they say the this is fantastic, that they had no idea how great bonsai could be, that this is great art, that they adore it, and, yes, that they admire me.

I must admit it does me good to go watering there. I do get a lot of attention from the bonsai world. But the attention of the general public is overwhelming. Not that I absolutely must have this. But while I get it for free It is quite welcome.

So for me personally this is a big event. But it is not about myself, it is about the art of bonsai. It gets enormous attention which it probably never got before her in my area. We had several European bonsai conventions here, we had the big WBFF Convention in 2001 here. We had numbers of visitors from 1,000 to 5,000. Of these 5,000 I think about 4,000 were bonsai people who came here specifically to see he bonsai.

At the BMW World there are on average 10,000 visitors EVERY day. This is one of the biggest attraction in Germany. BMW has ongoing art exhibits since years there. Now one can find art exhibits in many places. Banks do it, government does it; it is a general vehicle to try to capture an audience and help your image as company. There is a crew of watch persons in the hall all the time. This crew by and large is the same over the year. They have seen the crowds watching art exhibits there many times. The keep telling me that the art exhibits never ever had as much attention by the general public as the 'tree sculptures'.

The exhibit is on for three months. This is rather unheard of too. Many folks come back a couple of weeks later to see the next batch. These are people who would NEVER go to a bonsai convention exhibit. Many BMW folks go see the exhibit every day in their leisure time.

So is this not a big success?