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Rick Cain's "The Hill" and the advent of "Des

This is one of my favorite tanks of the 2003 AGA Contest, and one that still really resonates with me. In my opinion, this is a truly progressive and groundbreaking aquascape. It has greatly contributed to my thoughts on a whole other aquascaping style that I am for now calling "Design Style"- for lack of a better term. It does not seek to recreate a scene from nature like Amano/Nature Aquarium style, nor does it follow any "rules" of gardening like Dutch Style or to a lesser extent, the still embryonic American Style. These aquascapes push the current boundries of what we expect to see when looking at (or judging) planted tanks because their effect is more like that of other types of art. For example, different painting styles- when Picasso with cubism and Matisse or, the Impressionists first came onto the scene, many in the "established art world" rejected, denounced or otherwise disapproved of the work because of its complete break with convention and what painting was supposed to be. Much of the critique I hear of aquascaping pertains to the aquascapes ability to look like Amano, or convey a particular type of depth, or look "natural". That's all fine if that's what you really like in an aquascape, but I'm for expanding the horizons and stylistic potential of our artform and to me, Ricky Cain's tank here effectively opens the dialog.
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