Revered Bonsai Artist Tony Tickle Visits Canberra National Arboretum, April 2017
I recently enjoyed an action packed afternoon at National Arboretum Canberra’s Bonsai Week, listening to and meeting enigmatic bonsai personality Tony Tickle, winner of multiple Ginkgo awards and ‘Best Deciduous Bonsai’ at the prestigious Noelanders Trophy in Belgium 2017.
Tony began working with bonsai at age 27 as an escape from a demanding job. Things got serious after he attended a high profile bonsai show and realised just how much this age-old art form entails. His specialty is European trees, particularly Yews, Hawthorn and Pine. Tony’s personal collection consists of 15 trees, which he knows intimately and maintains at an exceptional standard.
Tony considers bonsai grounding, enabling one to step outside the stresses of everyday life. He also appreciates that Bonsai gives artists the ability to bring the landscape into their homes, wherever that may be.
Bonsai for Tony is a creative release. He gleans great pleasure and fulfilment creating art from seemingly nothing, and is known for his skill of recognising a tree’s potential. For him it’s about the process and story of his work; from collecting the plant from nature and nurturing it over time. Tony also thrives on his capacity to shock people, as well as being able to share his passion with others.
Tony describes his work as non-traditional, engendering ‘controversy and praise in equal measure’. He strives to imitate nature and style trees according to their characteristics in the wild, while still maintaining the integrity of the tree.
Tony’s inspiration is drawn from natural landscapes and the unique trees within them. Tony is an advocate for working with native trees as they are readily available & will live happily in one’s local environment.
The following are but a few of the many bonsai tips Tony gave on the day:
For more on NAC’s Bonsai & Penjing Collection, see: