Normally one puts their work on a gallery wall and the work needs to carry the power to speak to the viewer, if it’s successful the work will ignite the viewer’s imagination and art is made. The only hint the artist gives is the title in this case “The Simplicity of Silence”.
Yet at DA we learn, we teach, we read, and art is discussed, and this having been a wip I’ll try and go over what has turned from a perceived 500 hour project to more than 1800 hours and why it was worth it.
Ever since getting out of art school years ago, I suspected that talent was a farce, sure there exceptions Mozart, Picasso, Joe Bonamassa and a few others but these are prodigies more so than “talented” people. For the rest of us “talent” is more an unstoppable interest and drive, a work ethic that at times seem almost obsessive. Once this practice gives you a foundation to work on, ideas and concepts make up the rest and none of this comes easy. When my students complain about their art assignments all have to say is; “suck it up, art is hard, get it done”. Yet time put into an individual project doesn’t mean 1800 hours-that alone has nothing to do with the success of a work. Kathe Kollwitz could do with a line in a very short time what 99% of people could never do but it took years of observation and repetitive technical study to get there. Personally I have to spend a lot of time on my work to say it in my way; in a nut-shell my fascination is with the complexities of nature, of the human face of a broken light bulb and so on. Simplification is not an interest nor do I feel that I have to avoid it when see a need for it. I go about my work in a simple formula, composition, concept, technique… success is never guaranteed for the viewer has to be moved to fill the artistic circle, after all art is still a form of communication.
“The Simplicity of Silence” was at times horrendously repetitive, I would sit at the drawing board almost on the verge of hanging it up, but I know at these time I have to rise to the occasion and work thought it. I took no short cuts, I stuck to every branch if they heighted the vision and left out only the ones that took away from the flow. I have experienced every snow flake every twig and branch every shadow and highlight this is a journey that taking a photo could never give me. Because of this hyper-involvement I hope to share my visions with the viewer in a way that a photo cannot do. This obsessive act translates to the viewer in a complete different manner. I’m not interested so much in any particular “ism”, photorealism or hyper-realism per say, but I am interested to show the viewer just how I see my world. Technicality I used about one hundred photos as references, I used real branches and twigs that I had in my studio and went to the original place many time although that changes daily, winter turned to spring, to summer to fall and so on. What I do not want to do is just copy a photo but translate and reinvent it with my knowledge, imagination and artistic language, the photo is only a map, finding the treasure is within me.
I want to thank all who have commented on this long wip, I thank you for the question and keeping the discussion going. My hope is that it inspired people the way you all inspire me.
“The Simplicity of Silence” is dedicated to my dad Fritz Mersmann who passed away during this project, he was my only teacher.
To get an idea of how large this is here is a link
This is quite and honor for me, the Grand Rapids Art Museum has chosen this work to show for a year in an exhibit “ArtPrize Encore” I am one of thirteen artists chosen.
Sold as of 12,12,12
did that take? seriously. more than a year?