Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
   

Very interesting interview by dasghul.deviantart.com/....is about my “two” personas Armin Mersmann photographer, Armin Mersmann Graphite artist and why I have need to keep them separate  

 

dasghul.deviantart.com/journal…

4 Sentinel by arminmersmann22-10-16 by arminmersmann2
Armin Mersmann Drawing                                                                                                                                               Armin Mersmann Photography





Finally after thirteen long years I am able to get rid of the DivantArt name “nimra” it was Armin backwards thought it was a good idea at the time (not thinking of obvious “nimrod”) so now its arminmersmann sounds so damn good to me!      now to do something with my other DA site   Gerald-Bostock  the one i use for photography,   that's the next thing ill change 

Armin Mersmann

This is a television interview I did a few months ago. I want to thank Junia Doan and Midland Center for the Arts.  I thought it came out great it answers a lot of the questions that I often get so if you have some time check it out.   

www.youtube.com/watch?v=NykBwa…

I give more than my share of interviews this one had some poignant questions that where a bit different....hope you check out  

www.passionhow.com/armin-mersm…


 




Through the Iris I by arminmersmann



Through the Iris IV by arminmersmann
I want to thank everyone for their great comments on my eye study in graphite, if you had questions I tried my best to answer them, as always I'm truly grateful to have all of you take a look, fav the work and give some comments.  There is always a few who think I'm a fraud.  It doesn't piss me off but makes me wonder if  it's  the same ilk that think aliens built the pyramids, like we humans are not capable of dedication, drive and knowledge to further and advance our craft and crating great things. The bigger question; I can't figure out why one would lie and stick a fraud on DA in the first place… to what end.  

Anyway thanks to all my friends here on DA for ten years I always appreciate the conversations, questions and best wishes- I even like the debates that happen form time to time, calling me a liar…not so much

Armin

free counters
Every once in a while I get a note that I would like to pass along, this made me think.

Great work!

I can feel a conflict here about your DA followers not really accepting your versatility. You shouldn´t mind, actually if you keep up submitting abstracts -or any other style which I'm sure you're good at- you'll find there is a DA public too willing to see more of that, though at first it may seem less numerous  

And of course there are "the loyal ones" who will favorite your new trends and try to understand them even if it's not really what the expected in the first place  

scubapainter.deviantart.com/


Teresa, I appreciate the sentiment. I do expect this kind of reaction or more "non-reaction" to these works after all it took me years to be able to think and express myself in this manner. What some fail to realize is that working in abstraction makes one a better realist, it frees your concepts and compositions, which in turn clarifies   that the "art" of just copying is anything but.

I'm a realist that's where my heart is,   I freely chose to intermittently experiment with abstraction for clarity sake, this "ism" lets me see within therefore I can better relate on how I see the world with my own artistic language.  After all, my goal is not just to transfer but to translate and reinvent what I observe.  The few who like these works make my day just as much as a thousand who like my graphite work.  For me it's all one and the same, for others it seems like a wide chasm of styles which I do understand.

Thanks

Armin

free counters
In the last week I have received a few notes and emails from people who seem concerned that I'm walking away from graphite realism.  Nothing is further from the truth; it will always be the main focus of my work.  But I have to say work like "Waking up the Ghost' and "Fence Line" is just as significant to me, they give me creative outlets that drawing alone could never provide. Abstraction in a sense is more "real" then the illusion of realism could ever be.  These works are about material, paint, composition, color, construction, and a strong feeling of discovery it's not an illusion-it is what it is.  For me, this kind of work is not so much a narrative as it is a starting point for the imagination of the viewer. These works are not meant as "easy" to grasp, such as realistic drawing of Johnny Depp where the viewer only needs the ability to recognize and only thing that get stimulated in  the viewers mind  is the "wow it looks just like a photo" remark. As an artist that's not enough, that's why I draw things that are heavily symbolic or intensely complex, I still enjoy rendering in hyper-detail but it has to be more than copying a photo and of much more interest to the viewer. It has to be a depiction of something that most people would never notice unless presented in a drawing and that still rocks my world.

Abstraction gives me a sanctuary where I can create with fortitude. There is an unbelievable freedom by not sticking to a script but letting the work itself bring in new ideas and ways of seeing that were never planned.  This is not a new way of working for me, I have always gone back to this freedom and it always strengthened my drawing and realism in ways that would never have happened in any other scenario.

So for my friends who asked me, are you quitting the drawings? Absolutely not, but I'll never be a one trick pony either. Art is a passion that's fulfilled by different "isms" and ill continue to explore…Thanks for asking.

Armin Mersmann

free counters
(An artist statement is constantly evolving and even changing.. This is a updated one for a book that features my work)


Drawing gives me the opportunity to truly see. As an artist, I do not casually observe my surroundings nor take them for granted, but rather view the world as a creator and architect of my own artistic vision. I have never been interested in simplification-on the contrary it’s the complexities and how we see them that drives me to spend countless hours on a drawing. This act of drawing enables me to gain insight and understanding of intricate structure, whether it is a human figure, face, an isolated eye or a tempest of trees. Drawing pushes me to examine every aspect of what I see – every pore and hair follicle, every leaf and branch. I become immersed in my observational skills and depict my vision in a way that a casual observer could not.

Once a drawing is complete, it is no longer related merely to the artist, but becomes a starting point for the viewer’s feelings and imagination. This alignment hopefully transcends the ordinary and the overlooked to something approaching the metaphysical and sublime. Photo-realism itself does not interest me in the least; realism does, details and textures do, ultimately seeing what others fail to see, until they see it in my work. When this is achieved, the collaborative relationship between the artist and viewer reaches its climax. Ultimately, and interestingly, the climax is a humble interpretation of the greatness of nature.

“A good “rendering” represents what a person sees, but “a work of art” illuminates what others do not.”

Armin Mersmann

free counters
Blues for Mama


It’s almost impossible to put my feeling into words on another Mothers Day without her, my mom passed away in my arms August 31, 2006

I will miss this very “look” the look that confirmed she was very proud of my artistic achievements but more than that, she was proud of the man I’ve become. I will miss, the love she had for my little boy Ean, he was so special to her and gave her a chance to see life again from the eyes of a child, where all things are possible and fantasies become real once more. I will miss the special relationship that can only be achieved between a son and his mother, the trust and un-judgmental faith we had in each other. I will miss her gentle nature, a kind, positive woman who lived by the basic code of loving her fellow humans.


About the drawing:

Three weeks after her death I started this drawing; it’s been an emotional roller coaster of unimagined lows and highs. When her first eye was completed I felt her presence, when the face was finished it almost knocked me over with grief and yet there was the reassurance of her watching over me, sitting on my shoulder. The background was unyielding in its symbolism and intensity, the flowers that she always wanted me to draw but never got around to, patterns her blouse. The rose silhouettes carved in the aging stonewall, speak of a commemorative wall of ageless markings, and finally the moon filled with personal symbolism addressing amongst other things birth, life, death…and rebirth. My hope that this drawing would be cathartic was not to be, but now that this is completed maybe I will attain some inner peace, after all she still sits on that shoulder.

Happy Mother’s day Dear Lady and Gods Speed.
Armin




30” x 40” Graphite drawing on Acid Free Illustration Board on left on my page

free counters
Sometime last night I hit a half million page visits, that's amazing  just eight years ago that was unheard of.  When I first started drawing and I would show in a gallery (which was a success in itself) if I got 100 people at the opening and 300 more during the show this was a very good run, after all 400 people saw my work. Even great artist before the internet never had a half million people see their work in a lifetime- not even close.

No doubt DA is responsible for a heightened success in my career and the ability to discuss and critique what I do and what other do on literally a worldwide stage is something that continues to amaze me. Of course some of you have a million plus hits and I am humbled by those kinds of numbers yet there are even more people who have very few hits but whose work is top notch. The numbers game at DA can also be a negative it's certainly not the mark of who is good or not.

I want to thank all that have visited my page and left messages and or questions I hope to continue to converse with as many people as possible and for sure to enjoy all your fantastic works and be inspirited by it.

Armin Mersmann  

free counters
Drawing gives me the opportunity to truly see. As an artist, I do not casually observe my surroundings nor take them for granted, but rather view the world as a creator and architect of my own artistic vision. I have never been interested in simplification-on the contrary it’s the complexities and how we see them that drives me to spend countless hours on a drawing. This act of drawing enables me to gain insight and understanding of intricate structure, whether it is a human figure, face, an isolated eye or a tempest of trees. Drawing pushes me to examine every aspect of what I see – every pore and hair follicle, every leaf and branch. I become immersed in my observational skills and depict my vision in a way that a casual observer could not.

Once a drawing is complete, it is no longer related merely to the artist, but becomes a starting point for the viewer’s feelings and imagination. This alignment hopefully transcends the ordinary and the overlooked to something approaching the metaphysical and sublime. Photo-realism itself does not interest me in the least; realism does, details and textures do, ultimately seeing what others fail to see, until they see it in my work. When this is achieved, the collaborative relationship between the artist and viewer reaches its climax. Ultimately, and interestingly, the climax is a humble interpretation of the greatness of nature.

“A good “rendering” represents what a person sees, but “a work of art” illuminates what others do not.”

Armin Mersmann




free counters

realism-good or bad?

Fri Oct 15, 2010, 7:50 AM
Just a note the first part is not written by me but by Gashu-Monsata
The second part of this is written by me when I say “my rebuttal”



This news article was pointed out to me and I thought she brought up some great points, Kodus to ^Gashu-Monsata gashu-monsata.deviantart.com/

Something clicked in my head this week, and I thought I should share it with you guys (no, I didn't break my neck or anything like that XD).

Have you ever looked at your art, and thought to yourself; "This just isn't me?".

Have you ever looked at other people's work, and instantly seen such character, life and soul that just draws you in and want to get to know the artist more?

I've been feeling this for the past few months. Heck, I've never actually been really "happy" with my art to be honest. I just... did what I did and that's it. To me, my art has none of that character and life that I feel is really vital for an inspiring and pleasing peice of art. The way you feel when you draw channels through your work and the viewers can pick it up.

Being on a Foundation Art course with fantastic teachers has really opened my eyes to true "art". Our teachers are near experts at what they do, and this week, we had a drawing session. First, I found out that all my life, I had been drawing wrong :facepalm:

The right (or easiest) way to hold a page when you draw is up semi-straight (like on a easel for instance). This allows you to draw from your arm and not your wrist, hence alot more freedom and expression in your art.

I also found out that drawing fewer details can the picture more interesting  Sounds weird, huh? Well, put it this way. When I do digital painting normally, try to overload the painting with every single detail, and it never ends up looking good. Hmmm.... let me show you an example.

Which of these images has more character? Which of these images tell you more about the artist?

fav.me/dla11u

or  

fav.me/du8pij

Sure, the photo realistic drawing is amazing and whatnot, but that's pretty much all it is. A photorealistic drawing. What's the point of reacreating something exaclty as it is? You may as well just take the photo XD
The second image may look simple, but which of these pictures would you actually be more likely to remember? Not for the image, but for the style?

This gave me so much hope. That you don't have to be an amazing artist to make your work unique. Of course, there is a line that defines a good drawing from a plain bad drawing, but when you draw an image, you'll know in your heart whether it's good or bad.
And when you finish your drawing... carry it on! Don't just draw a person standing there... add something else! You haven't finished a drawing until you've done all you possibly can (and I don't mean fill the whole page, haha XD).

For me, I'd rather look at a drawing that was perhaps drawn with the hand that you don't usually draw with because when you do that, your concentration levels intensify and you focus more on the lines you place that you would if you just drew with the habd youre used to.

Also... try drawing and not using a rubber! Rubbers make you lazy, without one, you have to think more about the lines that you place. Or just simply draw with a pen  

This is just something for everyone to think about. Good art doesn't mean drawn to perfection.
In my eye, good art is art that asks questions, but doesn't neccessarily give you the answers.
Also, good art is drawn for a reason. Maybe you just drew it because you like to do it, or maybe you want to bring attention to an issue. But when someone asks you "Why did you draw this", you should be able to answer without hesitation  

So, go for it! Do something unique and different that you haven't tried before! Bring some character into your art (if you haven't already :derp: XD). And even if you have your own set style, still try something different, you may like it  

If you do, be sure to show me, I'd love to see people breaking out of their comfort zones and testing new waters.

So, if you want to take this up, my first challenge is:

DRAW A PICTURE WITH YOUR OTHER HAND USING A CONTINUOUS LINE.

I've done it, but it's in college, haaha XD I'll have to upload it when I can get hold of it. No prizes here, I just want to see which one's strike as the most unique and intersting ^^ Also, when you link the image to me, write in the artists comment on the deviation WHY you drew it. Not just because I told you to, haha XD I mean, what made you draw that particular piece?







My rebuttal

Bravo for pointing this out, this is what I tell my students and believe it or not this technique was part of my journey as well.    I suppose where we differ is what you think my intent is and that like all art forms there are many ways to express one’s self. It’s not the ism that’s bad but the artist practicing it.  

In a foundation class the instructors will brake you down and build you up, the idea that the more “real” something is rendered the better is for noobs and students need to see things in a different light.  Yet also in a foundation class you need to teach observational skills from the live model this cannot be overstated, even if your heart is one of pure abstraction. Isms will come, isms will go but learn to see inward and outward.

I guess let take the image of Frank, that I drew, this was a commission how far would the Picasso-ish image have gotten me, not too far. I don’t do commissions much and this was one of the few, the model knew my artistic language and that that language is about naturalism, not cubism, abstraction or primitivism.  My work deals with more then what’s in this drawing, which is pure representation  and it does not delve into symbolism as most of my work does, so in fairness to me please look at my other work and if it sill boring, that’s ok as well.

If copying without change, construction and re-invention, be it form a photograph or from life, then the creative process is not addressed, in this case I agree there is a useless element about it, it becomes a fundamental exercise at best. There is nothing wrong with these exercises if it improves your knowledge and skills as a technician. But if your aim is only to draw like “a photo”, I’m afraid you will never attain what “art” has to offer. Also I think too many photo-realists rely on technical eye candy alone, with no imagination, in some sense just a limited skill in observation and a stunted creative process. Working in this manner should be a foundation to build on not an end goal.

My goal as a realist is to understand complexities and details; my interest is how the human eyes perceive not how a camera sees. The hallmark of photorealism is capturing distortion and out of focus areas precisely how the camera does, I’m aware of these things and eliminate most of them. My journey begins at the first look of my model the drawing process then becomes an all consuming study. When I complete the work, I develop an understanding of the subject that’s both heightened and very personal. After spending hundreds of hours drawing a person’s face all the while observing the small details that cause “likeness” a journey takes places that cannot be achieved by any other means. I don’t draw just what I see; it’s a combination of facts and feelings that would not work from just a snap of a shutter. I change and alter many thing from the reference photos to me they are just a blueprint an informal guide at best, I transform not just translate what I am observing. I look at small particulars of a person that cannot be seen or deciphered by “normal” cameras. I delete, enhance, elaborate, exaggerate, alter and reinvent, and I do this with putting it through my own psyche. I change what’s in front of me, not for the sake of change but because it’s inevitable and expected, it’s filtered through 40 plus years of living. I have 100% control of every aspect of the final image can this be done with a photo and Photoshop? Maybe but not with my unique technical and artistic language. In the end, it’s a matter of the artist-viewer   connection this will not happen every time, maybe not even most of the time, but when it does that’s the magic.    

When I got out of art school I was an abstractionist, and asked myself the same question “this just isn’t me” Gashu, thank you for bringing this up its important to all of us, I don’t take offense on the contrary as an artist I better know why I do what I do.  I’m not trying to get you to like the work just understand my intent.  One thing just don’t get bogged down in art school dogma it is a time in your life to listen, and discover there are many good art forms find it in you to celebrate  the best in all of them from abstraction to hyper-realism.  

Armin Mersmann



free counters

(An artist statement is constantly evolving and even changing.. This is a updated one for a book that features my work)


Drawing gives me the opportunity to truly see. As an artist, I do not casually observe my surroundings nor take them for granted, but rather view the world as a creator and architect of my own artistic vision. I have never been interested in simplification-on the contrary it’s the complexities and how we see them that drives me to spend countless hours on a drawing.  This act of drawing enables me to gain insight and understanding of intricate structure, whether it is a human figure, face, an isolated eye or a tempest of trees. Drawing pushes me to examine every aspect of what I see – every pore and hair follicle, every leaf and branch. I become immersed in my observational skills and depict my vision in a way that a casual observer could not.

Once a drawing is complete, it is no longer related merely to the artist, but becomes a starting point for the viewer’s feelings and imagination. This alignment hopefully transcends the ordinary and the overlooked to something approaching the metaphysical and sublime. Photo-realism itself does not interest me in the least; realism does, details and textures do, ultimately seeing what others fail to see, until they see it in my work. When this is achieved, the collaborative relationship between the artist and viewer reaches its climax. Ultimately, and interestingly, the climax is a humble interpretation of the greatness of nature.

“A good “rendering” represents what a person sees, but “a work of art” illuminates what others do not.”

Armin Mersmann

free counters
I might have had this on my journal a few years ago but I have been getting a lot of questions why I don't make a living doing commission portraiture?

When I was in art school I my goal was to make a living from my art. I thought it would be wonderful to get up in the morning and just paint and draw. At first I supplemented my income by, teaching and working in picture frame stores. Soon I started to get lots of portrait commissions, at first just in here in Michigan, then Chicago. So my wife and I packed our bags and moved to windy city. Portraits Chicago a very exclusive agency for commission portraiture represented me. I started making great money, and for the next two years I was never without work, but I was miserable!

Art, my sanctuary, the very thing that gave me such pleasure was now reduced to paintings of corporate bigwigs wanting to look important in cliché posses, pipe in hand, arm on an overstuffed chair and so on. I had very little input on the creative side. I was told to make the subject look younger and thinner and I would "rake in" the cash. Soon I started cutting corners in my work (the faster it got done, the more money I made). I lost the will to improve and actually my work started to suffer and I had no energy to do "fine art" in my spare time. I had to get out of this, I told Portraits Chicago that I am no longer available for commission portraiture, and got a job in an art supply store. In the evenings I started to work on my art again, every night I painted, the enthusiasm was back! I worked forty hours a week in the store and did my art for thirty hours. I made less money, and I was much happier. Now I am the director of a small art school back in Michigan, my work is still growing and the excitement has not diminished. I sell my work just fine now, but under my terms. I don't need to make a living off of it; I never want to lose that artistic freedom that I enjoy now. Art is so precious, and I almost lost it.

Every once in a while take on commission if I know the person, if I respect the person, and if I have total control, then its rather fun. Saying all of this, I know many artists that love commission work and thrive on the challenges of it, and they are happy. I just was not one of them.

Oh one more question I that I often get; why don't I draw cerebrates? well I only work from the live model and from photos I personally take of the live model, so….when Angelina Jolie calls me up, ill be there in a flash suffering for my art…

/\

www.fortwaynereader.com/story.…


free counters
Reviews of one’s exhibits are always a strange animal; most often a mixture of news-release hype and tepid opinions.  This one is very well written and I must say complementary, thanks Dan! Also PBS in Fort Wayne  did a half hour interview if I can figure out how to post it I will  So lets continue the shameless plug,  here it is….



www.fortwaynereader.com/story.…


free counters
Every once in a while I get a question like this:

Hello, I'm doing some research (not very scientific, I just need some opinions) on photorealism and I'd like to ask you a question if you don't mind: "why not simply take a photograph or use a 3D program?   

It’s a good question and one that needs to be thought through by every realist.

If copying without change, construction and re-invention, be it form a photograph or from life, then the creative process is not addressed, in this case I agree there is a useless element about it, it becomes a fundamental exercise at best. There is nothing wrong with these exercises if it improves your knowledge and skills as a technician. But if your aim is only to draw like “a photo”, I’m afraid you will never attain what “art” has to offer. Also I think too many photo-realists rely on technical eye candy alone, with no imagination, in some sense just a limited skill in observation and a stunted creative process. Working in this manner should be a foundation to build on not an end goal.

My goal as a realist is to understand complexities and details; my interest is how the human eyes perceive not how a camera sees. The hallmark of photorealism is capturing distortion and out of focus areas precisely how the camera does, I’m aware of these things and eliminate most of them. My journey begins at the first look of my model the drawing process then becomes an all consuming study. When I complete the work, I develop an understanding of the subject that’s both heightened and very personal. After spending hundreds of hours drawing a person’s face all the while observing the small details that cause “likeness” a journey takes places that cannot be achieved by any other means. I don’t draw just what I see; it’s a combination of facts and feelings that would not work from just a snap of a shutter. I change and alter many thing from the reference photos to me they are just a blueprint an informal guide at best, I transform not just translate what I am observing. I look at small particulars of a person that cannot be seen or deciphered by “normal” cameras. I delete, enhance, elaborate, exaggerate, alter and reinvent, and I do this with putting it through my own psyche. I change what’s in front of me, not for the sake of change but because it’s inevitable and expected, it’s filtered through 40 plus years of living. I have 100% control of every aspect of the final image can this be done with a photo and Photoshop? Maybe but not with my unique technical and artistic language.

In the end, some still call it photo-realism; it’s something as an artist I have to accept. We tend to put things in categories, I just have to keep on this road and be true to my vision and artistic language and it’s that honesty that will let me connect with some and not with others.

free counters
Here is an update for my solo exhibition at The School of Creative Arts at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne Indiana.


The Veiled Narrative:
Drawings and Paintings By
ARMIN MERSMANN

January 23 – February 28, 2010
Opening Reception January 23, 7-9
John P Weatherhead Gallery
Mimi and Ian Rolland Art and Visual Communication Center

University of Saint Francis
2701 Spring Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46808

www.sf.edu/sf/art/events/galle…


Lecture by Armin Mersmann January 14, 2010 at North Campus Auditorium - USF



Looks like I will have about twenty drawings and seven paintings in the show, if you can make it great! It would be great to put some faces on all the DA people who I get a chance to communicate with.

Armin


free counters
Some might of read this earlier but since its starting this Wednesday ill post it again.

This is an interview that I recently did for ArtPrize a major international exhibition in Grand Rapids Michigan September 23 – October 10.  I’m not sure how many DA artists are exhibiting in this show but it would be great to know. So far I know of just one Todd Burroughs a great painter.  taburroughs.deviantart.com/

First prize  $250,000 that kind of money has never been seen in the art world.

ArtPrize link:   www.artprize.org


AP Since both your parents were artists, how have they influenced your career and your work? Did they always encourage your talent to become your career?

Both my parents were artists and they each saw the world from a unique perspective. The main lesson I learned was that I could communicate my feelings and ideas through my own artistic language. I learned that I didn’t need to internalize and bottle up the difficult feelings I struggled through as a teenager and young adult. By the time I was 10 years old, I was painting the backgrounds of my father’s oil paintings for $50 per piece and was teaching art to kids five years my senior at the local YMCA.
My parents also made me aware that a life in art doesn’t come for free; it takes a great work ethic, passion, desire, and a consistent drive to learn and grow. They stressed that you need to have a good technical foundation, an imagination, the love of process and the willingness to sacrifice menial relationships and material things in order to make time for my art.
Time is the most precious gift for an artist.

AP When did you start drawing portraits?

When I was a kid it was hard for me to draw faces so my dad “suggested” that that’s all I should draw for a few years, I would sit in his studio at my own drawing table and draw from life and photos until it was second nature. I found portraits to be a great vehicle to translate my thoughts and feelings.

AP How did these first portraits and also those from when you were working as a portraitist in Chicago influence and evolve into your narrative portrait series?

When I was in art school, my goal was to make a living from my art. I thought it would be wonderful to get up in the morning and just paint and draw even if that was commission portraiture. I started to get lots of drawing commissions, at first just in here in Michigan, and then Chicago. So my wife and I packed our bags and moved to The Windy City. “ ortraits Chicago,” a very exclusive agency for commission portraiture, represented me. I started making great money, and for the next two years I was never without work. But I was miserable!

Art, my sanctuary, the very thing that gave me such pleasure, was now reduced to paintings and drawings of corporate ‘bigwigs” wanting to look important in clichéd poses, pipe in hand, arm on an overstuffed chair, and so on. I had very little input into the creative side. I was told to make the subject look younger and thinner and then I would “rake in” the cash. Soon I started cutting corners in my work: the faster it got done, the more money I made. I lost the will to improve and my work actually started to suffer, and I found I had no energy to do “fine art” in my spare time.
I had to get out of this. I told Portraits Chicago that I was no longer available for commission portraiture and got a job in an art supply store. In the evenings I started to work on my art again, painting every night and the enthusiasm came back! I was experimenting with abstraction, which I love, but after a few years I realized it wasn’t my natural language; the work was very derivative and I slowly started working with the human figure again. I chose the model, poses and concepts, and every portrait, no matter who I was drawing, became a self-portrait.

I have nothing against making money from my work but I don’t need to make a living off of it. I never want to lose that artistic freedom that I enjoy now. Art is so precious, and I almost lost it.

AP Although you have dabbled around with oils, it seems as though graphite is your most common material used. How does this contribute to your overall style you wish to be portrayed?

Actually, I spent many years working in oils and recently I started to work with them again. These paintings come from another place; a place where romance, hope and beauty reside, a place that’s devoid of politics and social issues.
The oil paintings read kind of poetically, about small ideas, like the segmentation of color, dappled light and subtle abstractions. The graphite drawings are more akin to a novel telling a story, usually a somewhat dark story, or descriptive allegory of the subject I’m drawing. Both are equally important to my well-being as an artist and for my creative language.

AP How did you select these works to be shown for ArtPrize?

My main concentration is the Narrative Portrait and I feel I have made some great strides in drawing with pencil in the last ten years. The three works: “Beyond the Pale,”, The Waking Edge,” and ‘Blues for Mama,” are each an incredible journey that each took about a year to draw. They were major undertakings, to say the least, and I hope viewers can feel the passion I put into them.

AP Although you respect the viewer's "story" that they take from your work, what do you hope to convey in your portraits?

To represent the everyday non-glamorous person as a catalyst to tell a particular story. But the “story” doesn’t need to be illustrative; it can and should be hidden among many veils and have a sense of mystery. It’s more important to open up the imagination of the viewer than to dogmatically rant about a particular political, religious or social view, yet that’s the catalyst that gets me into the work. If the viewers stand in front of the work and all that they notice is technique, then the work is a kind of failure. Then again, if the technique draws them in and they get an emotional reaction out it the drawing even if it’s different than mine, then it’s a success. I believe it take two to produce a work of art: the artist and the viewer. When the viewer translates the work into their own personal vision, sparking their imagination, then a work of art is created.

AP I have read about your passion for artistic freedom, is this your personal driving force to be continue as an artist? What is your greatest pleasure from being an artist?

What’s it like not to be an artist? I can’t imagine that really Even the few times I wasn’t creating art I was thinking about it, new concepts, new technical methods and so on. Right or wrong, I define my life on this planet as being an artist (and father, husband, sure). I think about it first thing in the morning and the passion for it hasn’t waned. I still am thrilled by the smallest compliment and somewhat irritated by apathy and take criticism with a grain of salt. My wife Valerie Allen shares my world and is a great artist in her own right; she understands how I feel because she feels the same way. Being an artist is all I ever wanted and it’s the life I live.for my art…

ArtPrize start September 23, 2009
Armin Mersmann is from United States and in time, experience filled his spirit, but his drawings are talking for themselves. After we met Lama Khoja and Jose Carlo Mendoza I considered that we should know from one of the best, more details about this style and about the fact that talent most not be wasted. The talent should mantain creativity at the highest levels.

First of all, what made you choose this style? Where from this passion for drawing?

I love abstract art, I was and abstractionist when I got out of art school, but not a good one. I am a drawer and draughtsman at heart that’s how I think and it’s my natural artistic language. Today I’m still influenced by abstraction in a conceptual and emotional sense but stay true to how I choose to represent my personal vision.

What are you trying to catch and what’s the importance of the portraits?

Life, a thought, a moment in time wrapped around boundless passions. I use symbols both personal and universal; I try to transfer a seed, a starting point for the viewer to begin their journey that for a small moment is inspired by my drawing. I do not however have any interest in passing my exact concept to the viewer not in the way an illustration does. I am much more fascinated by what a person feels, sees and reacts to with just the title as a hint of my thoughts.

Many people see this as copies of photos. What do you think? And is it more than that?

I think my work makes more sense by seeing the original drawing and not a copy on a monitor, the pencil mark remains king, you see marks in a very un-photographic like manner yet appear photographic form across the room. They are drawn from a combination from life, from hundreds of reference photos, from a mirror, memories and my imagination. A photo is taken in an instant but when I work a journey takes place through the models character. I spend hundreds of hours analyzing and translating, I find the clues within the face that I than reinvent on paper changing even the likeness to suit my concept. I am aware of photorealistic techniques I am also very careful not to use a lot of them, photorealism doesn’t interest me in the least realism does.

Why do you think that artists like you choose to draw such realistic images?

I don’t know of whey others do it. In the beginning just being able to draw in this manner was very exciting lots of ooohs and ahhs, yet that got old very fast I quickly came to the realization this is not art but more akin to technical masturbation! I had more to say then hay I can draw, I wanted to build onto my technical knowledge and try to use it in a more personal and interesting manner. Details are of great interest to me; I love complexities and pattern I am intrigued how light and shadow works to capture an illusion. Within this technical prowess I must be able to share ideas, feelings and emotions in what some conceder a dead “ism” that is way I do it.

Do you need a certain mood for drawing or you can draw anytime?

Nope anytime, anywhere…it’s all about a great work ethic which is more important than talent, whatever that is.

Are you choosing a specific size when working or you have it depending on the model?

The work has gotten larger in the last five years, when the face becomes five times or more the size of a real human face there is a surreal feeling within its reality, they grab the viewer from across a room and when standing in front of these large drawings you feel curiously small, they can be unsettling.

And about the compositions… they’re so much like etchings. You also use symbols. What are they meant to be?

Compositions comes from my love of abstraction. Symbols, for instance take the light bulbs; they harness energy, a symbol for life, once broken they are swept away not unlike an old ancestor and soon will be forgotten. Yet it’s unlikely that’s how they translate to others, and that’s fine. Most backgrounds are to some extent symbolic they also feel very industrial and add to the tension of the work.

Is there a favorite piece that you created?

I don’t really some grow on me some don’t, I never live with my own work other than when I am working on it. Once it’s done I don’t like being influenced by them, I like seeing the work in exhibits or if they sell I like seeing them in someone else’s home. When I am not showing or they are not in galleries they go to storage. The drawing of my Mom called “Blues for Mama” is the only one I won’t sell yet I can’t even live with that one.

How does it feel to be able to work with such details and also have this ability to create and play with the ideas,Cause most of the young artists that started this style of drawing are only reproducing other images?

It feels like a challenge to work in an art form that by its very nature can be rather useless (why not just take a photo). This fact invigorates me into saying more, trying to go in different directions then a camera could, beyond a photo, translating and transforming an image where the photo can only play a small part. I stopped reproducing from photos a long time ago but don’t regret learning from this process.

And do you have any advice for them?

Don’t work from someone’s else’s photos for the art is done for you, just work from your own, it’s better to use mediocre photographs because it makes you invent more than just copy. Say more about larger topics or small intimate things not just that you can draw; for many here at DA can draw very well. Try to work from life at least some of the time, if you don’t reference photos will become a lifelong crutch. In the end your goal should be to create art and not another copy of Angela Jolie or Johnny Deep this kind of drawing misses that mark, unless of course you can get them to model for you in person than you might haves something

sssfinxxx.wordpress.com/2009/0…


Profile Visitor Map - Click to view visits
Create your own visitor map
This is an interview that I recently did for ArtPrize a major international exhibition in Grand Rapids Michigan September 23 – October 10

Http://artprize.org/artist/id/2885



AP Since both your parents were artists, how have they influenced your career and your work? Did they always encourage your talent to become your career?

Both my parents were artists and they each saw the world from a unique perspective. The main lesson I learned was that I could communicate my feelings and ideas through my own artistic language. I learned that I didn't need to internalize and bottle up the difficult feelings I struggled through as a teenager and young adult. By the time I was 10 years old, I was painting the backgrounds of my father's oil paintings for $50 per piece and was teaching art to kids five years my senior at the local YMCA.
My parents also made me aware that a life in art doesn't come for free; it takes a great work ethic, passion, desire, and a consistent drive to learn and grow.  They stressed that you need to have a good technical foundation, an imagination, the love of process and the willingness to sacrifice menial relationships and material things in order to make time for my art.
Time is the most precious gift for an artist.

AP When did you start drawing portraits?

When I was a kid it was hard for me to draw faces so my dad "suggested" that that's all I should draw for a few years, I would sit in his studio at my own drawing table and draw from life and photos until it was second nature. I found portraits to be a great vehicle to translate my thoughts and feelings.   

AP How did these first portraits and also those from when you were working as a portraitist in Chicago influence and evolve into your narrative portrait series?

When I was in art school, my goal was to make a living from my art. I thought it would be wonderful to get up in the morning and just paint and draw even if that was commission portraiture. I started to get lots of drawing commissions, at first just in here in Michigan, and then Chicago. So my wife and I packed our bags and moved to The Windy City. "Portraits Chicago," a very exclusive agency for commission portraiture, represented me. I started making great money, and for the next two years I was never without work. But I was miserable!

Art, my sanctuary, the very thing that gave me such pleasure, was now reduced to paintings and drawings of corporate 'bigwigs" wanting to look important in clichéd poses, pipe in hand, arm on an overstuffed chair, and so on. I had very little input into the creative side. I was told to make the subject look younger and thinner and then I would "rake in" the cash. Soon I started cutting corners in my work: the faster it got done, the more money I made. I lost the will to improve and my work actually started to suffer, and I found I had no energy to do "fine art" in my spare time.
I had to get out of this. I told Portraits Chicago that I was no longer available for commission portraiture and got a job in an art supply store. In the evenings I started to work on my art again, painting every night and the enthusiasm came back!  I was experimenting with abstraction, which I love, but after a few years I realized it wasn't my natural language; the work was very derivative and I slowly started working with the human figure again. I chose the model, poses and concepts, and every portrait, no matter who I was drawing, became a self-portrait.

I have nothing against making money from my work but I don't need to make a living off of it.  I never want to lose that artistic freedom that I enjoy now. Art is so precious, and I almost lost it.

AP Although you have dabbled around with oils, it seems as though graphite is your most common material used. How does this contribute to your overall style you wish to be portrayed?

Actually, I spent many years working in oils and recently I started to work with them again. These paintings come from another place; a place where romance, hope and beauty reside, a place that's devoid of politics and social issues.
The oil paintings read kind of poetically, about small ideas, like the segmentation of color, dappled light and subtle abstractions. The graphite drawings are more akin to a novel telling a story, usually a somewhat dark story, or descriptive allegory of the subject I'm drawing. Both are equally important to my well-being as an artist and for my creative language.

AP How did you select these works to be shown for ArtPrize?

My main concentration is the Narrative Portrait and I feel I have made some great strides in drawing with pencil in the last ten years. The three works: "Beyond the Pale,", The Waking Edge," and 'Blues for Mama," are each an incredible journey that each took about  a year to draw. They were major undertakings, to say the least, and I hope viewers can feel the passion I put into them.

AP Although you respect the viewer's "story" that they take from your work, what do you hope to convey in your portraits?

To represent the everyday non-glamorous person as a catalyst to tell a particular story. But the "story" doesn't need to be illustrative; it can and should be hidden among many veils and have a sense of mystery. It's more important to open up the imagination of the viewer than to dogmatically rant about a particular political, religious or social view, yet that's the catalyst that gets me into the work. If the viewers stand in front of the work and all that they notice is technique, then the work is a kind of failure. Then again, if the technique draws them in and they get an emotional reaction out it the drawing even if it's different than mine, then it's a success. I believe it take two to produce a work of art: the artist and the viewer. When the viewer translates the work into their own personal vision, sparking their imagination, then a work of art is created.

AP I have read about your passion for artistic freedom, is this your personal driving force to be continue as an artist? What is your greatest pleasure from being an artist?

What's it like not to be an artist? I can't imagine that really Even the few times I wasn't creating art I was thinking about it, new concepts, new technical methods and so on.  Right or wrong, I define my life on this planet as being an artist (and father, husband, sure). I think about it first thing in the morning and the passion for it hasn't waned. I still am thrilled by the smallest compliment and somewhat irritated by apathy and take criticism with a grain of salt.  My wife Valerie Allen shares my world and is a great artist in her own right; she understands how I feel because she feels the same way. Being an artist is all I ever wanted and it's the life I live.