There is a particular something that goes on in Michigan that is world known. It's world known because of the amount of prize money that is involved in this competition, and large prize money usually brings in exceptional art. It's big - enormous, actually. It's kind of life changing big if you win. But that's the crass side of me talking (the side that longs for free lottery money - LOL). The art entered in Art Prize is just incredible on so many levels. It's street art, it's high class painting, it's performance art, it's just such a myriad of possibilities that it's just beyond pigeon holing into a category. And you most certainly can not beat a half a million in prizes.
Check out this art: Entries for Art Prize
What I'm here to tell you about is this particular drawing. I've seen a lot of Armin's drawing over the years. In fact, I've seen a lot of drawings throughout my career. Art shows, museums, books, and classes. There is NO ONE who does this better than Armin. Really!!! You simply can not believe what you are seeing. It's like hyper reality at times. It's all the things you see and then those things you fail to hone in on when you are looking - really looking.
This year he entered an interesting piece. It's called Gabriella. Gabriella is the receptionist at the Midland Center for the Arts. It's nice to run into the actual person in the drawing...and such an honor to have been drawn by Armin. Armin is the Art Director and teaches drawing at the center. Talk about a "die for" class - his classes fill to capacity every time he teaches. And he teaches far and wide.
This is Armin with the drawing...and the drawing itself.
Armin Mersmann (photos taken from the Art Prize site)
This is what Armin has to say about the work:
"Gabriella fascinated me as a bit of a conundrum a woman in the prime of her young age, poised, universally timeless and vulnerable. But it’s the complexity and rhythm of the hair that fascinated me, (I was not prepared for a possible 900 hours of drawing time) I do however think her story emanates from her eyes which reach deep in a more mysterious place. My work has been about nature taking back and this drawing is no exception it is the beginning of the process when all is right with the world yet the slow aging process has begun. Whether I’m drawing trees, or the human form I celebrate the circle of time and nature. I have been drawing the human face for forty years; in the last ten years I marvel at aging skin and the breadth of textures that give a hint of a life lived. My goal as a realist is to understand complexities and details; my interest is how the human eyes perceives not how a camera sees, I transform not just translate what I am observing When I complete the work, I develop an understanding of the subject that's both universal and deeply personal."
As a side note to all of this art and especially to this drawing. This is the second one of Gabriella. This past winter at the Winter Art Fair at the center Armin was there working on this drawing for the patrons who come to the fair. It's a treat to see him work. Some "patron" (and I use that very tongue in cheek) decided to have themselves a closer look while Armin was away from his drawing board. What anyone can think is that they had a cup of coffee in their hand and as they bent over the table to get a closer look at work the coffee tipped with them and was spilled all over the drawing. It was still dripping off of the board when he returned. It ruined the work - I had not seen it - and did not get to the fair this year. The first drawing had to be scrapped and it was my understanding it was pretty much along in the process. So seeing that Armin has placed in the competition is especially poignant this year. Not only does he deserve the recognition but after the original had to be scrapped and he had the courage to start all over....well, you know what I mean. I hope he wins the top prize.