‘Cosmic Bonsai – Burton Style’ by Laurent Darrieux
This is not a book on how to create Bonsai, nor is it a book for anyone starting in the art-form. However, if you want to understand what goes on in the mind of the author, an artist that presents an image of the atomic bomb alongside a twisted Elm Bonsai, or a robot figurine squaring up to an equally twisted apple Bonsai then this is the read for you.
‘Cosmic Bonsai’ is like no other book on or about Bonsai that I have read, it is more concerned with an attitude, an approach and a realisation that there is something deeper to creating Bonsai than simply working with trees. We explore the conviction of the author to his craft, his influences beyond what one would expect from an artist working with a ‘traditional’ art form (if Bonsai can BE considered an art form)
I found the content to be fascinating, sometimes a little unsettling and surprisingly gentle in many ways. Where else would you expect to find in a book on Bonsai a coloration between, a Romanesco cabbage, Fractals and Ferns?
The Author champions other artists including potters, illustrators and Bonsai practitioners. The book charts the progress of some of the authors work, including the spectacular ‘Tanuki’ presented at the European Bonsai San Show, Saulieu, France.
One of my favourite comments in the book: “In the terms of Bonsai, the maturity of a tree, its moshikomi, its wabi-sabi is much more important than the external elements that you will add to your composition. This is the reason why we see so little progress in the world of contemporary Bonsai.”
I consider Laurent Darrieux to be a ‘Brother in Arms’ we share the same approach to our art, presenting Bonsai in such a way as to spark a conversation, to elicit controversy and to escape the confines of what is considered to be ‘Traditional’ display.
Should you buy this book?
If you wish to broaden your experience and explore new ideas and concepts in presentation, then this is the book for you. If you are a beginner, wait until you have worked with Bonsai for a few years before you delve into the mind of this amazing artist and his work. And as for ‘Burton Style’ You will have to buy the book to know why it’s called that.
You can purchase the book here: https://en.cosmicbonsai.com/