So you’re standing in front of a beautifully refurbished vending machine; you put in your golden token, make your selection, pull the selection knob, listen to the delightful “clunkity-clunk” that means your selection has arrived in the vending tray; you reach down and pick up your… art?
Yes, if the vending machine is one of the over 90 classic vending machines around the US and Canada that have been converted to Art-o-Mats, vending machines that dispense original works of art.
I first wrote about Art-o-Mat in 2006; the idea was started in 1997 by artist Clark Whittington. There are now over 400 participating artists, creating small cigarette-pack size works in various media, and selling them inexpensively (usually $5 US) in Art-o-Mats.
On the Art-o-mat website there is a list of machines by location, as well as a selection of images of various Art-o-Mat machines and a list of sample works by various artists, linked to pop-up images of some of their Art-o-Mat works.
There are also guidelines for artists who would like to participate.
For those who wish to purchase Art-o-Mat art, but can’t get to a machine, you can now order an Art-o-Carton of 10 works online for $99.
There is also now a Flickr gallery of Art-o-Mat related photos.
Hey, can I bum five bucks? I need to get a pack of art.
(Images above, below the machines: Lindsay Matthews, Paula Griffin, Lee Fenyves, Julie Armbruster, Asya Soloian, Janie Reavis-Cox, Carrie Price, Jessica Guptill)