Does your city have an Art-o-mat? There are about 90 of them in the United States. Atlanta used to have one at a Whole Foods but it disappeared without notice. The only one I am likely to encounter now is the one at Sam Flax in Orlando Florida. Art-o-mats are retired cigarette machines; thats right, in case you didn't notice there are no vending machines for cigarettes anymore. When you insert 5 dollars in quarters you get to pull the knob and receive an original work of art wrapped in cellophane and about the size of a pack of cigs.
I love this for so many reasons. The recycling of the machines themselves for starters. These old mid- century designs are still very cool with their funky peg legs, chromey looking hardware and old school advertising designs. Check out this page of machines. I love the idea of looking in the windows, making a selection and pulling the knob and having something new to unwrap and examine. You cant really know what's inside, you gotta hope the packaging is a solid clue.
I've been thinking about submitting a design for Art-o-Mat, which would clearly be a labor of love and just for the sheer novelty of it. Of course, I would enjoy figuring out how to make something unique and desirable and designing equally as cool packaging for it.
You know who is an Art-o-Mat artist? Alicia Griswold, who does the judging of Haiku Monday when I host. Here is her piece:
Alicia's is pretty sophisticated with the plexi cover bolted on. Some are just little canvases with paintings, others are photography and there's a lot of collagey works. Some of them are awful and I would be very disappointed to have chosen wrong and end up with some of the weak work I've seen. But here are two that I really like:
Here is a short news story on the Art-o-mat:
What do you think? Would you buy art from a vending machine? Have you ever seen an Art-o-mat? Should I do a photography piece or a little painting? (There are a lot of both already) Maybe the "Creaturas" I used to make as my guerilla art: those little fetishes that I would leave in the trees at the park or on a table at a cafe. Why did I do that? Just so that whoever found it would have a little mystery for the day. Same thing with the Art-o-mat. It is not something you do for money. To make these fetishes for an Art-o-mat, Id have to make a mold first for the skulls. Or else, it would be way too much time. But Ive got plenty of sticks, feathers and alpaca fur to git-r-done.
|A bit labor intensive for this project|
I don't know. But I'm pretty sure I am going to submit something to Art-o-mat this fall. Maybe a tiny accordion book. Maybe a tiny wooden folk art chicken. Maybe some cool gift tags or something to be used and not just kept. What would you pull a knob for?