Kissmer was born in Duisburg, Germany in 1951. Multi-talented as a teenager Willi was undecided whether to dedicate himself to the visual arts or music. He studied at the Folkwangscule, University of Essen and later taught printmaking at the University of Duisburg, Germany. As for music, Mr. Kissmer is now an accomplished guitarist and has recorded three albums to date.
Although Willi’s art is relatively new to North America, the artist is no stranger to South America, Europe, Russia, and Asia through which he has traveled extensively. Described as a young contemporary master, Kissmer’s art has been the focus of numerous shows in galleries and museums from California to Siberia. The artist employs combinations of etching, aquatint, dry point, and mezzotint techniques on his copperplates. A ranges of warm tones and the talent to bring an electrifying edge to his subject- in part links Willi Kissmer’s art to a long tradition of realism in Northern European painting. For this Willi has built a solid reputation and an avid following in Europe and rapidly emerging interest in North America.
Still-life and an obsession with the qualities of light and its effect upon objects within them is the subject of Willi Kissmer’s art. Elements of his still-life include combinations of everyday objects, residential architecture, and the female figure. A disquieting sense of heightened observation, limited palette and shaker-like simplicity create moving works that are not conventionally pretty but compelling and somewhat confrontational. Willi’s expressive, exaggerated interpretation of detail is a trait which permeates the body of his art. The interchange of folds, creases and texture of draped fabric for example, have the effect of transforming commonplace subject into something extraordinary. The artist maintains that this surreal quality is not intentional . He says, ‘Clothes and fabrics emanate calmness, they have something meditative.’