|Sara Lynn Walsh's Artomat work|
What would you do with an old cigarette vending machine? At our last Miami Valley Art Quilt Network meeting, member Sara Lynn told of a surprising use. Clark Whittington, an installation artist, took a defunct cigarette vending machine and fitted it with boxes to sell his artwork. Originally intended as a temporary exhibition in a local cafe, the idea took off and Whittington started the Artomat organization.
Whittington gets artists to do small pieces of work which fit into a cardboard box he supplies.....the artist decorates the box and returns about 20 boxes with pieces of similar, but not identical work. Whittington loads the vending machines, over 90 active machines, with the artwork. Purchasers pay $5 and pull the knob to drop down their investment in a mini piece of art. The artist receives half of the purchase price. He calls his group "Artists in Cellophane." Please go to the website to see examples of the vending machines and the types of things he does as well as the entire history.
|Sara Lynn and the box provided to fill for the Art-o-mat|
What a cool idea. The machines are very retro looking and who doesn't like a grab bag? There's something that just makes you want to whip out your money and feed the machine so it can feed your soul.
On the other hand, one wishes that the price could be a tad bit higher...The pieces of art are about the size of an artist trading card. They must be 2 1/8" x 3 1/4" x 7/8" (54mm x 82mm x 21mm) in order to fit into the machine. I don't want to downgrade the art.
It is, a way to get your name out there...and it is a way to get people to take notice. But, does it demean the art? Does it give the concept that the pieces are just throw away?
On the other hand, it is just downright fun. I think, if I can get my head above water, I'll submit some just because I love the concept, and I love the old vending machines.
Sara Lynn is leaving our group and will be going to Winston-Salem to work for Artists-in-Cellophane. She's only been a member of MVAQN for about 2 years, maybe pushing three, but she's really fun and I love her funky ideas. Winston-Salem is such an artistically rich place, I'm sure she'll have a great time. I wish her well. Sara Lynn has an Etsy shop, but at the moment she has had to close it while moving. You can find it here, just check back occasionally to
find out when she's open again.