Manifest Artist Residency
Armin Mersmann was born in Remscheid, Germany, in 1955. Along with his parents, he immigrated to the United States in 1962. He 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 six years of college, Mersmann began a very successful stint as a portrait artist in Chicago, IL. Although commission work was financially rewarding, he stopped doing it and soon found more interest in the fine art that at times is controversial but more satisfying conceptually.
Mersmann has taught drawing, the Creative Process, iPhoneography, and Advanced Critique at the American Academy of Art, Chicago, IL; the Colorado Academy of Art, Boulder CO; Northwood University, Midland, MI; the Midland Center for the Arts, Midland, MI; and many workshops within the United States. He lives in Midland, MI, where he has served as the Senior Visual Art Curator and Artist in Residence at Midland Center for the Arts for a number of years.
"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 brushstroke, the one that says it all; this keeps me searching and exploring.
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, its the complexities and how we see them that drives me to spend countless hours on a drawing. The fundamental design and the placement of objects are due more to my love of abstraction than sentiment. The act of drawing enables me to gain insight and understanding of intricate structure. Drawing motivates me to examine every aspect of what I see, every pit or scratch, the wonderful nature of rust, or every twig and branch. I become immersed in my observational process and depict my vision in a way that a casual observer could not by calling out every bit of detail my eye and experience allows me to see.
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 for its own sake 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."
The images pictured at right are a sampling of those submitted with Armin's application.
See more and learn about Armin's work here:
Information on how to apply for future MAR awards can be found here.