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Re: AGA conference report and pics


I'm sorry that I wasn't able to meet you at the
conference.  I was hoping you would be there.

I enjoyed your response to my report.  And it fits
exactly into the sort of conversation I am interested

With regard to the future rights of images...I don't
know what ADA's policy is, but it shouldn't be too
hard to find out.  But assuming you are right, that's
the sort of bargain you make when you have the
opportunity to win thousands of dollars.  After all,
how many of us are actually ever going to make money
on the photos of our aquariums?  Hmmmm, now that I
think of it, maybe TFH could use some sprucing up...

I understand that the entry fee for the next ADA
contest will be 18$, with the top 300 placers
receiving a published copy of the top aquariums.  In
2001 that was a 1/6 chance if you were American, but
approx. 3/5 chance for all entrees.

But having said that, I don't wish to defend ADA, or
don't even mean to imply that ADA has anything to
defend.  *My guess* is that ADA is not making much if
any money off of their contest.  But that is just a

When I criticized the AGA contest (which in my opinion
was pretty meek criticism) I didn't mean to imply that
I didn't 100% appreciate the efforts of everyone that
made it happen.  The contest is exactly what we need. 
And the point I want to make is that we can all work
together to make the contest better.  We can raise the
level of our own art.

And one note on the ADA contest:  there were many
styles included in the contest.  Amano-style,
Dutch/European, and also an immaculately manicured
figurine/models style.  I believe the third place
winner was a pretty barren river-biotype tank.  There
was definitely inspiration beyond just pure Amano

Now, to the subject that is more interesting to me. 
Art vs. plant collection.  Or the way I would put it: 
art vs. hobby.  Stamp collecting is a hobby, and not
an art.  Oil painting is an art, if it is approached
in the correct way.  If you are a "hobbyist painter"
without pretense to art, then you are not really a

There is room for hobbyists in aquatic gardening. 
They are mainly interested in collecting new and
interesting species, describing their growth
requirements, experimenting with new
equipment/technology, etc.  Aquarium layout and
presentation is not a priority.  On the other hand,
artists wish to make statement and impact with the
visual presenation of their aquariums.  They develop
an aesthetic, they are concerned about style.  The
process of setting up their aquarium is a creative
matter, that brings the satisfaction inherent in all
creative activity.  To them, it's art.

My feeling is that North Americans are hobbyists
first, and artists second.  Perhaps this is because we
are newer to the hobby.  Or perhaps there is something
in our culture that lends itself to more of the
hobbyist approach.  More likely is that many folks
have jumped into planted aquaria from fish-keeping (a
hobby), and do not have the mindset of creating art.

As to the oriental approach versus European style. 
Yes, my personal preference is the nature aquarium
style, although I keenly appreciate the beauty of
dutch-style tanks.  But beyond that, I would like to
create my own unique style.  I hope that others on
this list push the boundaries and create styles that
are interesting, motivating, and provoking.

To my taste, dutch tanks are too regulated.  Like a
sonnet.  Amano-style tanks have a serene beauty, but
sometimes I find the zen-style a little suffocating. 
Haiku.  I was discussing the issue of an American
style with Mike and Jeff Senske.  What would that be? 
Is it even necessary or useful to have one?  Could
such a thing exist?  My current idea is that an
American style would adopt the core tenet of "freedom
without restriction and boundless energy."  Free verse
poetry.  Now how that translates into actual
aquascapes is something that I have not settled.

I plead guilty to pushing my idea that we should be
more concerned with the art of aquascape than we
currently are.  But that's what happens in art
communities.  Someone lays out their views, and we
discuss them.  Not everyone will agree.  Such is the
nature of the beast.


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