The artist employs combinations of etching, aquatint, drypoint, and mezzotint techniques on his copperplates. A range of warm tones and an electrifying edge he brings to his subject, in part link Kissmer's art to a long tradition of realism in northern European painting. For this skill Kissmer has built a solid reputation, an avid following in Europe and a rapidly expanding interest in North America.
The foundation of Kissmer's art is in his passion for the still life, combining elements of the female figure, everyday objects, and residential architecture. A disquieting sense of heightened observation, limited palette, and refined simplicity create moving works that are not conventionally pretty, but compelling and confrontational.
Kissmer's expressive and exaggerated interpretation of detail is a trait that permeates the body of his art, which has been described as sensual, provocative, technical, and mysterious. The interplay of folds, texture, and light have the effect of transforming a commonplace subject into something extraordinary.
A catalogue of Kissmer's work from the last twenty years is available through Avalon Gallery.
Willi Kissmer was born on December 24, 1951 in Duisberg, Germany. He decided at an early age to become an artist, concentrating on music at first. He played guitar in a rock band, recorded three albums and gave lessons to help support himself. In 1971 he entered the Folkwang Art School, where he studied graphic arts for five years under Herman Schardt, the founder and director of the school. He credits the school and its director for allowing him to develop his own style of creation and choice of subject matter. Willi has his studio and residence in an old industrial tower in Duisberg. Although he has travelled extensively throughout Europe, Asia and the United States, his subject matter is always drawn from close by. He prefers to present simple objects and locations and is most interested in relating the qualities of light and its effect upon objects as well as the folds and creases of fabrics. "Everything comes out of my personal living environment. That is a result of my laziness. I look around enough to find something worth representing. Throughout his career as a visual artist, Willi has maintained his love of music. He continues to play in a rock band and instruct younger players. Willi Kissmer's art has been described as sensual, provocative, mysterious and erotic. Through the manipulation of light and shadow, he is able to convey a sense of touch, as well as sight.