The beginnings of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists go back as far as the year 1956 when German painter Erich Stegmann and a small group of physically disabled artists from eight European countries created a self-help association called, by their german acronym, VMDFK or Vereinigung Mund- und Fussmalender Künstler in aller Welt.
A victim of polio, Erich Stegmann grew up without the use of his arms and, in spite of this, he was able to achieve a successful career as an artist in Germany by using his mouth to hold the paintbrush. He always thought that if he was capable of painting, others with physical disabilities similar to his could also do this. If they could also unite and form a cooperative, they could live with the earnings of their paintings and experience economic security and independence.
This objective could be achieved by reproducing and commercializing his original work through greeting cards, calendars, posters and books with illustrations. The result of this initiative has been transformed into an exclusive global movement.
One of the premises by which Stegmann created the Association was to not accept charity. For our artists, the word "charity" is unwelcome, as well as the word "pity", despite the fact that many are confined to a wheelchair or a hospital bed.
A.E. Stegmann, the founder
The goal of the Association members is to be able to live exclusively from their efforts and their work through the acceptance and recognition of their work.
From its beginnings, the Association members have had total control of the same, thus allowing them to have and enjoy a quality of life, despite their disability.
Many of our artists have attained international recognition through their paintings created by holding the paintbrush with their mouth or toes.
Christy Brown, renowned for his book "My Left Foot" (Mi pie izquierdo) and one of the first members of the Association, described what it meant to a disabled person to have the power to communicate through art with the following words: "Painting means everything to me. Through paintings I have learned to express myself in subtle ways. I have been able to convey all that I have seen and felt, all that is inside my mind and has been kept inside my useless body as though I was a prisoner confined in a world that was not real to me."