Dedicated to the principle that every individual deserves to realize his or her creative vision, MFSTO is a creative collective with a mission to inspire amateur artists through the promotion of diverse contemporary media by their more-experienced peers.
The MFSTO Exchange is the print publication designed to connect MFSTO’s network of contributors and readers. Each piece published in the magazine is a “Manifesto”—a statement about the artist who created it, the processes he used, and his aesthetic choices. The result is a magazine for self-made artists by self-made artists.
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The aspiration and theory which compel us off the couch, the methods of learning and production which guide our progress and the final presentation which realizes the meaning of our work cohere into what we term ‘manifestos’ - unique and profound expressions of identity. Artists define and are defined by their work. Separated, they are unintelligible; together, artists and their work are palpably real.
Art is the human expression of reality, but it has been an imperfect and incomprehensible one. Since the advent of humanity, self-styled artists have sought aesthetic perfection outside themselves, tilting at the immaterial nature of pure beauty, that great substance of which any one work of art can only model qualities. This perfect beauty failing to materialize, artists have forced themselves into mystical attitudes toward their work, and thereby denied their connections to the reality which they were struggling to express. Originality in art has been a displacement, a conception of artists occupying lonely places with unique perspectives of the single real and perfect substance.
When John Donne said that “No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe”, he noted how the conception of the incomplete individual leads to insular loneliness. He then offers an alternative conception: the individual is a piece of a continental “Mankind.” This collection of fragmented parts is, however, just another mystical way of stating the same problematic reality which is only partially available to any individual.
The time has come to leave our lonely archipelago, to experience reality firsthand. We have greater access to the resources we need for creative expression than we ever have. The same Internet which threatens the habitats of art, the museums and literary reviews, the publishing houses and galleries, also offers us new worlds to explore and conquer. Perhaps most importantly, the lack of money is no longer a good reason to abandon any dream.
MFSTO cannot claim to have discovered the inconceivably vast potential to promote independent work online nor to have begun the practice of sharing expertise remotely, but we’re taking full advantage of our position in the vanguard of the Information Age to collect all the parts of a complete understanding of reality. We believe that we can solve Donne’s dilemma by taking advantage of modern connectivity to help individuals collect within themselves all the missing elements of their understandings, of their art. One day we will each plainly comprehend what Donne meant when he said “Mankind” - that will be the perfection of beauty.
The faux-ethical language which values modern art ‘good’ by the metric of industry status is absurd and leads even the most well-intentioned explanations of art into baffling tautologies. Regardless whether the artists who happen to appear on gallery plaques and the indexes of quarterlies are any good (we trust that they are), we have no interest in valuing art by its success. MFSTO has a more practical way to evaluate art. We can begin by valuing the degrees that an artist has a will to connect with others, to exponentially develop his or her understanding, and to make manifest a personal vision of that understanding, and we can then judge to what degree he or she succeeded. That’s how we know whether art is ‘good’ and we invite you to decide whether you agree.
We seek artists who, like the members of MFSTO, are self-made and who are interested in the nature of art and its role in society. The MFSTO Exchange will continue to explore the terra incognita of the seven billion potential artistic minds on this planet, and we promise only the finest and most exotic exports to our interested readers.
You might be an island, but the choice is up to you: join the MFSTO today.