Armin Mersmann was born in Remscheid, Germany in 1955. In1962, along with his parents he immigrated to the United States. Mersmann grew up in an artistic environment and was greatly influenced and tutored by his father, Fritz, a successful oil painter. Mersmann feels his career as an artist was inevitable; "I never made the conscious choice to be an artist, it’s just what I did."

After four years of college, Mersmann began a very successful stint as a portrait artist in Chicago, IL. Although financially rewarding, he stopped doing commission work and soon found more interest in the fine arts, work that at times is controversial, but more satisfying conceptually. "Art, my sanctuary, the very thing that gave me such pleasure was now reduced to making a living. Art is too precious for me to make decisions based on finances." This does not mean Mersmann will never do a commissioned portrait but it has to interest him conceptually, and he insists on total control over the image.

Although Mersmann is mainly known for his intense naturalistic graphite drawings, he also works in oils, which often have an element of wood construction. "My interests have become exceedingly experimental with more attention placed on the surfaces of the work itself. Discovering and rediscovering my chosen medium is the everlasting stimulus that keeps me interested and excited. Accidental process and meticulous planning co-mingle in all my work. Texture, either real or illusionary, and that one ever-elusive brush stroke, the one that says it all; this keeps me searching and exploring."

Mersmann lives in Midland, Michigan and shares a studio with his wife Valerie Allen, an accomplished artist in her own right. Mersmann’s works have been shown in more than 150 exhibitions regionally, nationally and internationally. He has won more than 30 awards, recently winning first place in the Second Annual National Drawing exhibition in Santa Fe NM.

Valerie Allen and Armin Mersmann


Artist Statement:

“My work has become increasingly narrative
. Symbolism, both collective and personal, is prevalent in my work as it deals with the evidence of humankind’s existence through artifacts. I am reacting to man’s preoccupation with cheating death and his creating representative objects, tokens and icons in an attempt to achieve this immortality. I am intrigued, amazed and frightened at the process of nature’s power to reclaim, and am dealing with my own mortality. There have been my main concepts of late. Although the “story” within the work is very important for me as a vehicle for pent-up emotions and impressions, I do not feel that it’s necessary that the viewer understand verbatim what I am portraying. It is, however important that the viewers’ own imagination gets activated, where my imagery and their exclusive translation bring a brand new meaning to the work, unique in that moment of time. These works are not meant to be illustrative, where all the information is laid out, but vague with a hint of surreal. I firmly believe the success of my work can only be attained through the unexpected nexus of thought and feeling between artist and viewer; this then becomes the ultimate artistic collaboration.  







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