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dante lopez

help for riusha netski

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And who said that there aren't banana trees and bromeliae in Japan?

 

A tree frog, clinging

to a banana leaf

and swinging, swinging.

—Kikaku

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Hi,

 

I saw the ryusa "discussion" and felt compelled to comment. It really hurts me to see two of the finest contemporary carvers having such a public disagreement and felt that I had to say a few words. I own a number of Natasha's ryusa netsuke, she carved each of them as a commissioned piece for me. I am in awe of her technical and artistic ability and each netsuke pushed her abilities a little bit further. Her earlier ryusa were far more traditional, much more solid but it was ME that wanted more air, less denseness, more open work. Being the great carver that she is, she followed my instructions and produced some truly wonderful and technically brilliant netsuke. You have to remember one very important point

 

I am the customer and the customer is always right ;)

 

I'm always happy to discuss the validity of netsuke. Many people say that it isn't a netsuke unless it was worn, but that's plainly rubbish since there are plenty of 18th century netsuke carved by the masters such as Masanao, Tomotada and Okatomo that have never seen an inro cord. There are also many wonderful netsuke by hugely popular and respected artists such as Mitsuhiro and Kaigyokusai Masatsugu that are much too delicate and frail to ever be worn as a netsuke.

 

There is a school of thought that says that anything produced after the Japanese adopted Western Dress cannot be called a netsuke and we might wonder why everybody wants himotoshi on their contemporary pieces when none of these modern works of art are going to be worn. But that's the whole point of the thing, they're modern works of art. We shouldn't be arguing about whether something would be strong enough to swing around our head with a cord threaded through it, we. the general public, should be admiring the skills exhibited by all of you carvers that frequent this board.

 

If I wanted a modern carver to produce copies of 18th century netsuke I'd go to China or Hong Kong, they're experts at copying ;), but I don't. I want to see modern carvers pushing the boundaries, carving pieces that would have seemed impossible 200 years ago.

 

Ross

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Guest Ford

Hi Ross,

 

and welcome to the forum. I feel sure that the insights and input that, as a collector of contemporary work, you have to offer will be of great interest to a great many of the carvers here.

 

I think that your comments about contemporary artists having certain freedoms to push the format of their chosen art forms is a good one. We might even suggest that it's our job to keep pushing. I think though, that to a certain extent the points Clive made about functionality and structural integrity, and with which I tend to agree, still must play a central role in any arts development.

 

A very valuable lesson is to be learned from the fresco of the last supper by Da Vinci. He pushed the technique and painted on dry plaster so that now the the actual painted surface is flacking off. Had he observed the time tested practice of painting on wet plater it would all still be in very good condition 500 odd years later.

 

I'm all for evolution and innovation but we must keep an eye on what the past has taught us...there are always good lessons to be learned there.

 

 

I am the customer and the customer is always right wink.gif

I noticed the winking smiley :D so guess this was somewhat tongue in cheek but never the less I would have to counter that history is full of examples of this being demonstrably untrue. In fact many of the work we now regard as being some of the greatest artistic achievements of the past came about as a result of artists deliberately going against the wishes of their patrons. It is after all the artist's job to make art....not the patrons ;). Art by committee, or by consensus, has never worked out well ;)

 

respectfully,

 

ford

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Hi Ford,

 

Thanks for the welcome. I'm very unlikely to be a permanent pain here, just wanted to get my point across :)

 

A very valuable lesson is to be learned from the fresco of the last supper by Da Vinci. He pushed the technique and painted on dry plaster so that now the the actual painted surface is flacking off. Had he observed the time tested practice of painting on wet plater it would all still be in very good condition 500 odd years later.

 

True but without his forward thinking we'd be a poorer race, this is what Wikipedia say about the Mona Lisa

 

"the extremely smooth nature of the painterly technique, employing oils, but laid on much like tempera and blended on the surface so that the brushstrokes are indistinguishable.[nb 19] Vasari expressed the opinion that the manner of painting would make even "the most confident master ... despair and lose heart."[12] The perfect state of preservation and the fact that there is no sign of repair or overpainting is extremely rare in a panel painting of this date".

 

So some of his experiments were successful :)

 

many of the work we now regard as being some of the greatest artistic achievements of the past came about as a result of artists deliberately going against the wishes of their patrons

 

I wonder how many of those artists that went against the wishes of their patrons died penniless ?, only for their creations to become famous many, many years later. Don't get me wrong, my instructions for Natasha are very vague, she does the designs which I'm allowed to change (but never do). My input is mostly to do with initial thoughts such as my request to make the carvings more open, together with suggestions re staining etc of the finished product. I'd hate people to think that I force Natasha to carve in a straitjacket. I wouldn't dare, we all know about fiery redheads ;)

 

Hi Leon, remind me not to buy anything from you ;):D

 

 

 

Ross

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Guest Clive

Hello Ross,

 

Welcome to the forum and many thanks for your post.. you apparently agree wholeheartedly with the point I was making.. that Natasha's recent netsuke could not the worn without the risk of it them breaking.

 

However since Janel, the forum owner and administrator has stated she does not want disagreements to be publicly aired on her forum, might I respectfully suggest that you discuss this matter privately with Natasha as she seems to believe that they could.

 

Kindest regards

Clive

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Hi Clove,

 

I don't think that I ever said that they couldn't be worn without breaking, I said that they would NEVER be worn, just the same as all contemporary netsuke. Perhaps I'm wrong, please post lots of pictures of people wearing YOUR netsuke. This is such an interesting subject, I'm always learning something new, I honestly believed that the wearing of netsuke had died out at the end of the Edo period.

 

Ross

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Guest Clive

Ross.. just so we're absolutely clear.. do you believe that Natasha's recent netsuke could be worn without the risk of them breaking? Although I'm loath to suggest how somebody might answer, a simple YES or NO would certainly clarify your position.

 

Clive

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Welcome to The Carving Path, Ross!

 

Janel

 

Hi Janel and thanks for the welcome. I promise not to be a nuisance, just felt the need to defend my favourite artist ;)

 

This whole subject of contemporary netsuke is so confusing isn't it ?. I've had a few "discussions" both on the INS forum and at the Miami Convention when discussing the whole subject of contemporary netsuke and modern carvers but I'm surprised that the carvers are ready to criticize each other in quite such a public way. I do agree that if people put their work up for review then they should expect (and accept) criticism. Illustrating an argument by showing a picture of a netsuke that was carved to order for a client is not the same thing at all and I was quite upset by that criticism.

 

Incidentally, I know that Natasha is very happy to carve intricate pieces, she feels that it adds to her skills. Maybe her netsuke are not carved in the "traditional" style but as I said in an earlier post, I'm not looking for somebody to carve replicas of 18th century netsuke, I'm proud to own modern versions which are much more detailed and intricate than anything produced in the past.

 

I think that I'll now let the whole subject drop, thanks for allowing me to vent ;)

 

Best Regards

 

Ross

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Guest Clive
Ross.. just so we're absolutely clear.. do you believe that Natasha's recent netsuke could be worn without the risk of them breaking? Although I'm loath to suggest how somebody might answer, a simple YES or NO would certainly clarify your position.

 

Clive

 

Ross.. before you "let the whole subject drop" would you mind answering my question as it's pretty fundamental to the origanal discussion you felt the need to comment on.

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... We shouldn't be arguing about whether something would be strong enough to swing around our head with a cord threaded through it, we. the general public, should be admiring the skills exhibited by all of you carvers that frequent this board. ...

That might be right Ross, but I like to know why.

Construction is an element of design, design is what this topic originally is about.

So we can talk about the importance of construction for collectors:

Should a ryusha netsuke be constructed in a way that it "kills itself instaid of the inro"?

Should there be himotoshi in modern netsuke?

(I'm wondering about this one long time:) Do collectors want the artists to sign with Kanji?

Lots of questions, please join in.

 

 

Hi Leon, remind me not to buy anything from you :D:)

That's fair enough. Remind me to send you a mail when I made something that nobody wants to buy! ;) ;)

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Guest Clive

Interesting quote that Leon...

 

"We shouldn't be arguing about whether something would be strong enough to swing around our head with a cord threaded through it, we. the general public, should be admiring the skills exhibited by all of you carvers that frequent this board."

 

One naturally wonders why the only person contributing to this thread that could actually be regarded as the general public (not a carver) is making the statement in the first place... ??

 

Why doesn't he follow his own advice.. stick to admiring the skills and let the artists get on with the original question asked by one artist of his colleagues.

 

He comes on there with the noble intent to defend his favorite artist from my "criticism".. presents an argument that seems only to support the point I made.. then defends this action by indicating it was not his intention to discuss the actual subject of this thread and then when pressed he makes a quick exit saying he now wishes to drop it all.

 

Quite funny really.. the customer in this case is clearly very strange. ;)

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Guest Ford

Hello again Ross,

 

and welcome now to the world of artists ;)

 

Nothing ought to be taken for granted nor should this world be regarded as some sort of garden of Eden. ;)

 

As for Vasari's comments on the Mona Lisa...The fact is it isn't a fresco at all...nor it the technique in any way similar. The Gioconda isn't really all that unique at all. He applied his innovation ( debatable) of "smuffato" , smudging....to create an ambiguous outline but other than that the painting's fame rests more with history than pure artistry.

 

but I digress...

I wonder how many of those artists that went against the wishes of their patrons died penniless ?

 

At this stage of the discussion I find this statement by yourself to be remarkably insensitive, arrogantly provocative and distasteful.

 

You appear to be trying to validate your earlier assertion that the customer is always right. In other words; "do as I command... or starve."

 

While you may be quite correct in purely commercial terms, this approach ultimately denies the autonomy and integrity of artists...your favourites included.

 

While we're about it you may as well put me on that list of artists who's work you'll never buy....not because the work isn't good enough but only because we disagree with your intellectual position. :D

 

Namaste,

 

ford

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thanks for articulating that so well Ford. It's almost as if the Harrods' customer attitude should be validated everywhere.

 

@ Velin... Thank you for the assistance ;)

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Guest Ford

thanks Hyllyn ;)

as artists....it's far more important to die on your feet than live on your knees. With sincere apologies to Emiliano Zapata.

 

 

 

-

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Guest Clive

Ahh Bro.. I hate all that face painting malarkey.. it was a right bugger to get off the last time and was just awful for my sensitive skin.. never mind those idiots shooting all them arrows.. could have had somebody's eye out!! You know that's precisely what happened to old Harold in 66.. got him right in the mince pie one did.. caused all types of trouble... can't we just pretend for awhile.. or maybe just kinda of hop around on one leg until we got a few more pennies.. although you know.. I just love being on a list.. especially a blacklist. ;)

 

Are we going to have a flag?

 

post-2059-1259801529.jpg

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Ford, I think "sfumato" is the term... from "sfumare" (to evaporate as smoke). Anyway.

 

Is it just me, or is this simply a discussion of form vs. function? If netsuke are no longer functional, then form should be accentuated. That's just my two cents, and by no means am I even relevant, lol. Just wanted to throw that out there.

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Do Ethics, Aesthetics and Respect mean anything in the Art world?. Do people say hurtful things only when hiding behind a keyboard?. Would they be as rude if the discussion were taking place in Janel’s living room rather than on an impersonal web site in hyperspace?

Leonardo Da Vinci was a genius, but he has nothing to do with Ryusa netsuke! Or has? ;) Leonardo looked at the world by child’s eyes, everything was interesting for him, he began a project and put an unfinished project aside, Michelangelo told him: “You never finish your work!” That’s why I always prefer Michelangelo! ;) Probably it is an unknown fact for you, Ford, but almost all projects of Michelangelo were custom-made. (A lot of artists created and creat for their patrons very successfully). Without Michelangelo’s patrons we would never see his masterpieces, sculptures, building, fresco done by Michelangelo! They could be never created! – An awful thought!!! If your customers ask you to create what you don’t want to do, it doesn’t mean that I’m in the same situation. I began as a sculptor in classic/fantasy style, the netsuke world was unknown for me, but very interesting, reading a lot about Japanese kinds of Art, Philosophy, I wanted to open this world for me. I was happy to have this possibility to carve Ryusa style netsuke. It is very difficult kind of netsukes, takes more time than another kind, I have to remember every line and where it’ll end on another side of Ryusa, but it gave me a lot, from many new tools to better skill. I felt it when I carved ”The first Breath”, there were some nuances which couldn’t be done without Ryusa style. Piece by piece I try to work better and better, more knowledge, more experiments and techniques, higher skill. It is so rare to meet so understanding patron as Ross. We look at an idea the same adding each other. I’m a happy artist – I have the patron who understands me and doesn’t break my inner world, lets me to be myself and to carve what is interesting for me! Who else can boast the same? :D

Carving Ryusa netsuke is not a question of money, I’m not a poor girl, I can do nothing, spending my time on fitness club, hair-styles, shopping, sofa, TV, endless talks with friend and etc. But this way of Life is not interesting for me! Once I opened the world of Art and now I cannot imagine myself without carving. Please, don’t pervert the truth, a patron is a human who gives bread to an artist; but only an artist decides what and how to do. If you don’t like an idea of a patron, look for another patron. Misunderstanding is an ordinary situation; everyone has to search understanding and not to be so aggressive as unlucky person. If you cannot find understand it may mean that something is wrong with you, not with a patron! :)

 

First of all Ryusa netsuke carved by me are pieces of Art, they are not simple and ordinary pieces for every day. How strong they are? And what are you going to hang up instead a lacquered Inro? I’m working on every Ryusa netsuke for 2 months, I know and feel the limit of possibility of every piece, balancing on a thin border between function and art, my pieces look fragile being enough strong. I can continue this discussion endless, but what do my words mean for you, Clive?

 

For Leon, buy more books - there are a lot of answers, read more – you’ll like it! :)

 

Now you can continue to discuss with youselves!

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Guest Ford

Hi Natasha,

 

I'm pleased you've added your thoughts to the discussion and I'm happy to learn about how you feel about your interaction with your patron. :) I should explain though, that I wasn't really referring to your own relationship with your patron, that's your business, not mine :) . I was, rather, commenting on the attitude Ross seemed to be trying to justify; ie that the customer is always right.

 

Also, this discussion isn't in Janel's hone at all...it's a public forum where it was Ross who started shouting by making statements in big, bold type...and heading his very first post with an angry smiley

 

I'm sorry that you find this sort of discussion "rude" but it is only so if you take everything personally. In my view, these sorts of debate should be approached with a degree of objectivity. After all, we're discussing ideas and opinions. These are things that have no feeling so nothing gets hurt. Good ideas survive and bad ones get criticised....it's what the whole intellectual tradition of the West has been about ever since Socrates.

 

I too prefer the work of Michaelangelo to Leonardo and I'm very well aware of the important role of the patron during the Renaissance...and their vital role today. My point was not to deny their importance but merely to highlight the potentially dangerous aspects of such relationships to the artists. Ross made some fairly hard points about who is in charge....ie; the man with the money, the customer. He may well have been half joking, although he did go on to ask how many artists died poor because they didn't do as they were told ;) ...that's not so funny. :D

 

 

I am quite fortunate, at the moment, to have the support of a remarkably understanding patron myself. He is probably the most sensitive person I've met, in relation to his interaction with me and my work. We've had many, very open discussions, just like the one there, about our relationship.. I've been absolutely clear that in my view the artist can only really give of their best if they are not interfered with. I think it a bit odd that people who are not fully immersed in a day to day struggle to find an authentic expression as artists feel that their input is all that valuable to the artists process. Observations and suggestions from others are worth considering at times but there lies the real trap....especially when the "suggestions" come with money. To remain true to your own artistic journey is difficult at the best of times. My comments were more of a plea to allow artists to do their best for the patron...by trusting the integrity of the person doing the real work, the artist.

 

The relationship between artist and patron can often be a very unequal one when the artist is poor and needs to feed their family. That inequality must be balanced by a respect for what the artist does. The most sincere respect is shown when the patron is content to gently support the artists journey and to enjoy and appreciate where the artist takes them both. A good artist will always take you on a far more wondrous journey than the non-artists could ever imagine...that's their job, after all.

 

Can you begin to imagine what Michaelangelo might have made if he was allowed to do exactly what he wanted? I like to think that his own imagination would have given us far more wondrous things than the conventional tastes and sensibilities of his patrons allowed.

 

Anyway, as individuals we are all free to enter into those relationships that work for us...I always find it best to open about who we are and how we would like to be treated. In business and in personal matters, and the making of art is a messy mix of both.

 

Professor Rhubarb,

 

thanks for the correction, my Italian is rubbish ;) and I did get the jist of Vasari's comment the wrong way round, but that's probably because I tend not to place too much faith in his opinions because he had a habit of "inventing" stuff.

 

regards,

 

ford

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For Leon, buy more books - there are a lot of answers, read more – you’ll like it! ;)

 

I think this is very insulting! The answers I seek are not in books, believe me I know because I have quite a "few".

Please explain yourself!

 

(no smileys)

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