“Graphite Realism” – Amazing Pencil Art by Armin Mersmann


Armin Mersmann, better known for pencil art, 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.” Currently, 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.


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


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, his sanctuary, the very thing that gave him such pleasure was now reduced to making a living. Art is too precious for him 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.