Peter Longstaff, 1961–

Peter is a foot painter. He creates all of his artwork using just his feet, having no arms. Peter’s disability stemmed from the drug thalidomide, which was prescribed for morning sickness until it was discovered that it caused deformities fetuses. After living most of his life without arms, Peter considers his right foot to be like the right hand of most people, using it dexterously to open doors and perform many other everyday tasks.

Peter Longstaff was born without arms as a result of his mother being prescribed the drug Thalidomide during pregnancy, but Peter has never considered himself as being disabled. This is due to the refusal of his family to single him out as being different and led to the unusual choice of farming as a career. Inspired by his uncle, a pig farmer in Norfolk, Peter successfully ran his own pig farm for twenty years. Wearing boots inhibited the necessity of using his feet to drive the tractor and carry out other tasks on the farm so Peter spent every winter with his bare feet freezing cold and muddy, but he loved the outdoor life and his business flourished. However, at the end of the 1990’s cheap imports of foreign bacon led to the near collapse of the British pig industry and with Peter’s business no longer viable he was forced to sell up.The transition from a full time, seven day a week commitment to being redundant was difficult, especially since Peter had a young family to support, but he decided to revisit a childhood hobby and enrolled in an art and photography course. Advised by a Thalidomide friend, Peter contacted Tom Yendell who encouraged him to submit his work for assessment by the MFPA, leading to the award of a scholarship in 2002. Since then Peter has applied the same discipline and hard work that he devoted to farming to his new career as an artist. Peter’s goal is to be accepted by society as a professional painter, the philosophy of MFPA founder Erich Stegmann. Peter has a son, Milo, and lives in Norfolk.

Peter’s paintings – click on an image to enlarge

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