2012 is the 100th anniversary of the birth of, Erich Stegmann, the founder of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (AMFPA) and one of the most remarkable and inspiring artists of the last century. To mark this milestone, Danish member artist, Ann Lund, will travel to the UK later this month to join member artist, Tom Yendell , to talk about the founder’s life and vision to the British media. Erich Stegmann formed the AMFPA in 1957 and from its small beginnings it has grown into an inspiring international organisation with more than 802 artist members in over 76 countries worldwide.
Born in Germany in 1912, Erich contracted polio at the age of two which resulted in him permanently losing the use of his hands as well as limiting his ability to walk. However, through sheer determination he taught himself to write and later to paint by mouth. By the time he was in his early twenties, he had become a highly accomplished artist and after years of selling his self-designed cards and prints at marketplaces in his native Germany, in 1956 he set up the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists, an international group of artists, who through various disabilities, were like him, unable to use their hands to paint.
Ann Lund commented: “ On Erich Stegmann’s symbolic 100th Birthday, all our artist members are keen to stress that Stegmann not only left behind the precious legacy of his stunning art but also the means, whereby, all of us mouth and foot painters can find hope and independence through our work. For this we will be eternally grateful.”
Erich’s greatest talent was in seeing the bigger picture that would go beyond his own needs. By the mid-1950’s his desire for independence was becoming an obsession and led him to formulate a business strategy that he and other like-minded disabled artists could benefit from. He believed that a group of artists could attain financial independence by pooling their resources and jointly reproducing their original paintings as greeting cards, calendars and other products and marketing them directly to the public
The Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists is a wholly owned, international self-help organisation providing artists with a means of creating and earning a living from their art, and to be self sufficient.