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this is quite possibly the coolest thing i've seen in a long, long time. and all thanks to tammy deane of va beach, va. aside from giving me a tour of her dwell-worthy home, tammy introduced me to artomat a program that rehabs old vending machines and fills them with original, affordable art. if you're not intrigued already, read on:

"The inspiration for Art*o*mat® came to artist Clark Whittington while observing a friend who had a Pavlovian reaction to the crinkle of cellophane. When Whittington's friend heard someone opening a snack, he had the uncontrollable urge to have one too. The year was 1997, the town was Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Whittington was set to have a solo art show at a local cafe, Penny Universitie (now Mary's Of Course Café). This is when Whittington used a recently-banned cigarette machine to create the first Artomat. In June 1997, it was installed, along with 12 of his paintings. The machine sold Whittington's black & white photographs for $1.00 each. Artists in Cellophane (A.I.C.), the sponsoring organization of Art*o*mat®, is based on the concept of taking art and "repackaging" it to make it part of our daily lives. The mission of A.I.C. is to encourage art consumption by combining the worlds of art and commerce in an innovative form. A.I.C believes that art should be progressive, yet personal and approachable."
i'm so in love with this idea that i'm going to make a trip to my local artomat at the whitney this weekend. click here to find one near you (they are all over the country, and one in england!) and support artists in the us. you can also click here to find out how you can have YOUR work in an artomat. enjoy! [thanks, tammy!]




Anonymous joy said...

VERY cool! what a great idea...

10:06 AM  
Anonymous mirdreams said...

These are a great a idea and have been around for a while. I remember seeing one at the NewMuseum in NY during the Pierre and Giles show they held during 2000.

12:43 PM  
Blogger magpie & cake said...

They have one of these in the Casa del Popolo in Montreal, if you're ever up there. I don't think it's a brand-name art-o-mat; just a revamped cigarette machine dispensing zines and tiny artwork. Plus the Casa's tofu sandwich is amazing.


12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought some art from a machine in Houston a couple of years ago. It is sitting on top of my monitor right now. So fun, very cool!

~ sarah

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Shannon said...

These are awesome....I actually saw one in the little college town of Boone North Carolina of all places.

1:11 PM  
Anonymous ann said...

here is an art-o-mat(@ austin, tx) in action... just copy and paste the link below.


1:20 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Um, not to burst any bubbles, but I got some "art" at the Whitney two weekends ago. Yeah, the place was crazy busy, and almost every single thing was empty. We'd already put in our $ and had our toddler pulling the levers -- she was excited. Finally, ONE of them produced some art. It was the crappiest piece of crap, and I had really low expectations to begin with b/c we'd done one of these in Ithaca several years ago. I want to support this, and would do it again, but just realize you could easily be out $6.50 for something that is, well, crap. I guess I was expecting something clever.

2:32 PM  
Blogger design*sponge said...

wow ouch- what was this crap? im dying to know...


3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also in Montreal, there is one in Cafe Campus on Prince Arthur, at least it was there the last time I stopped by a few months ago.

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Norma said...

I tried to comment yesterday, but my computer wouldn't let me! I first experienced Art-o-mat at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC when my sister was having heart surgery. I love my little piece of thought-provoking art ... just wish I had a card or something that told me who the artist was. I remember (this was several years ago) that they had a notebook beside the machine with a brief description of the art, but nothing to take with you.

7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know an artist named Michael Leavitt (site below) who sells little Van Gogh heads in the Art*O*Mat machines. The idea is very cool, and a heck of a lot healthier than cigarrettes.

copy and paste:

12:47 PM  
Blogger swaglamp said...

Great minds think alike, only some come up with the idea years earlier. Visual artists AO1 and Jamie Osborne realized this concept in Toronto in 1988. They bought a vending machine, called it Art-O-Matic, and initially installed it in the foyer of CITY TV. It had a diverse array of small edition multiples, including an audio cassette of mine. I think I sold two copies. Perhaps it was ahead of it's time.

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

psst: artomat started a year earlier in 1997.

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I buddy of mine has one in his art gallery "the pop shop" in lakewood, ohio. This is the only other time I've heard of others, pretty cool...

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

psssssst, anonymous: need to get yourself some reading glasses... swaglamp claims the Art-O-Matic was created in '88, not '98. that's 9 years earlier than artomat. sorry to burst your bubble.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Im Tammy Deanes best friend!! She Is Awsome! She is also a great artist and you should really check out both her sites www.Vittles.com + www.tammydeane.com.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm an artomat artist from Texas. This comment is for Sarah. You should contact Clark at Art0mat and tell him about your unpleasant experience. I know he only wants people to enjoy the Artomat experience. I'm going to the 10 year anniversary this weekend and will pass on your comments.

8:49 AM  

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