Hi, my name is Robyn and in addition to being an Inspiration Junkie, I’m an Artomat addict. I am not only a collector, I am a member. My heart races when I have the prospect of visiting a machine. Right now my mantel is covered with my collection of about 30 artomat pieces by other artists, to keep me inspired. The photo above is a small portion that includes my favorites.
Are you familiar with Artomat? It’s an ongoing art installation, since 1997. Directly from their website; “Art-o-mat machines are retired cigarette vending machines that have been converted to vend art. There are over 90 active machines in various locations throughout the country.” Contributing Artists (called Artists in Cellophane) provide a variety of work from 2D, 3D to functional art. Machines can be found anywhere from school and cafes to art galleries. Look here to find a machine near you. Side note, if you live nearby (Northern Illinois) there is a machine at Kishwaukee College and I am proud to be involved in helping attain this machine in honor of a former Art teacher of mine.
Because there are so many machines nationwide, there is always a high demand for contributing artists as well. To become an Artist in Cellophane you must first send in a prototype, have it approved and then submit a minimum of 50 pieces. Here is a link to the guidelines and submission process.
I started out this year saying I’d like to put out another series, as it’s been a few years since I’ve done it. I love contributing to Artomat, but my pieces are a bit more intensive and time consuming than the average Artomat piece. When I first decided to become an Artist in Cellophane I knew I wanted my pieces to be the types of pieces that I would LOVE to buy and collect myself. I have completed 2 series in the past (first and second). The first series were just random paintings I made from images and the second series were based on collages I made first. You can see the example above with a page of collages next to a page of paintings.
Artomat pieces are an unbelievably affordable route to buying and collecting art. However, this also means it is not a really lucrative method for selling art. It’s more about participating in the project and being able to get your work out into the world. The pieces that I sell in the machines are much less expensive than the pieces I sell on my own. Each piece of art through an Artomat costs the buyer only $5. Artists see half of that, the rest is then divided between Artomat and the owner of the machine. There’s an exciting element of surprise, being an Artomat collector. You never really know exactly what you are going to get.
The other day I was overcome with inspiration to play and experiment with painting in a new way. I had already started assembling frames for a new series, which would be based on small collages. Then, all of a sudden it hit me. Why not start experimenting while working on real pieces for Artomat? Instead of making the collages first, I’d dive right in and just start painting. I’m really excited to do this. This does not mean that I want to give up the collage based paintings. Maybe I’ll be super ambitious this year and finish TWO series to send in.
And, for your further interest and education: I just came upon this cool page that gives a whole background history to art vending machines. The article doesn’t touch on it, but I’ve heard that they have art vending machines, resembling snack machines, in Japan now.
One of my many little canvas paintings from my 2008 series.