Archive for the 'Artomat' Category

Art-o-mat Series III, paintings 1-10


I’m participating in the 100 Day Project again this year, after sitting out last year. I’m doing a similar theme asto what I did 3 years ago, and trying to finish up a lot of big projects that I’ve had in progress for a long time. It’s been about 20 days and I’m still feeling very excited and energized. The first major thing checked off my list was wrapping up Pattern January, which I let drag out for almost 4 months. I also finally ordered fabric samples from Spoonflower with my original designs, which was a BIG part of the 100 Day Project for me 2 years ago, but that I never actually finished. I also want to post more to my blog, AND give it a facelift, but more on those things soon.

In the meantime, I need to catch up on sharing my current Art-o-mat series, as promised a few posts back. Here are the first 10 of 50 acrylic paintings, made on handbuilt and stretched tiny canvases. When I started this (my third Art-o-mat series) I really wanted to go super fast and explore all sorts of things and try different ideas to hopefully develop as an artist. In the end I went through a handful of purely experimental pieces, but with 3 solid mini series/styles (grass quote paintings, blades of grass, and paintings of collages made from my own designed and decorated papers (gelatin prints made from handcut paper stencils).

Art-o-mat Series III
Art-o-mat Series III
Art-o-mat Series III
Art-o-mat Series III

And after I finished all my paintings I had the idea of taking a picture of each piece with a different and unique background.
Artomat series III painting number 1
Artomat series III
Artomat series III
Artomat series III
Artomat series III
Artomat series III
Art-o-mat series III
Art-o-mat Series III

Thank you for reading! Here is the introduction post for this series.

If you are interested in seeing the paintings from my previous 2 Art-o-mat series, you can click through the Flickr collection and albums here


Chugging along on my latest artomat series

I mentioned before, how I was inspired to start a new Artomat series in a new style. I decided, instead of practicing and perfecting it before beginning, that I would just start playing on real canvases.

Well, the new style I’m trying to move towards for this series is just really loose and more painterly. I want to use lots of color, but also that they shouldn’t be mixed thoroughly and should be streaky. More expressive and abstract. I’m having to jump some hurdles with this.

I always remember my friend Bri sharing advice from a teacher of hers that you should NEVER use paint straight out of a tube, you should always mix your own colors. It’s great advice that I agree with, but normally my method for painting has always been to mix colors on my palette so that they are very consistent, no streaks. The same with watercolor. Even when I was trying to loosen up, I realized putting paint on my palette and mixing minimally caused the color to be too uniform by the time I spread it on my canvas. So, I jumped this hurdle and have started just applying paint straight to the canvas and not using a palette at all. No mixing colors, until I’m already painting. It’s new to me and kind of cool. I like to work super fast, and going for this painterly approach is causing me to speed up even more. Granted, my canvas is the size of my palm. I’m sure it would be very different if I was painting a huge, or even average sized canvas.

I’m not exactly sure where this will take me, but I’m having fun playing.

Artomat art vending machines

About a third of my #artomat collection
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.

collages and paintings artomat
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.

I'm beginning to start on my next series of artomat pieces. Here are the frames, ready for canvas.    Third artomat series under way

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.
2.16 artomat painting
One of my many little canvas paintings from my 2008 series. 

Day 18 – Mini Collages for paintings

Day 18 Thing-a-Day.

While I was working on these mini collages, I was struck with inspiration. See, I really want to do another series for artomat this year and so I need to crank out the collages before I can begin on the paintings. (I make little canvas paintings based on collages that then are sold in art vending machines, you can see more about it here).

The thing is, when making the collages I’m really limited to very simple and basic shapes and images because I know they will eventually be painted. It takes a lot of time to do those paintings, so a really complex collage = a lot of time spent. I love artomat, but it’s really all about promoting my work, and artomat, and not so much for any financial gain. I only make $2.50 on each piece sold. Yeah, a painting I would normally sell for around $30 is sold for $5 and my cut is half of that.

Back to the inspiration that hit me. As I riffled through bits of paper, I kept finding pieces I’d want to use, but then realize it was too complex of an image. I thought, I’d really love to just collage without the pressure of knowing I’ll need to paint it. I decided to allow myself to make some mini collages with no purpose other than for fun. I liked that idea, but it didn’t last long because then I had another idea that sounded like even more fun.

For a long time, years maybe even, I’ve been wanting to create some collages that I’d turn into stickers and then post graffiti-style, out and about publicly. Shhhhh! I know graffiti is illegal, just don’t tell anyone, k? I thought this would be an awesome project for Found Art Tuesday and it’s been a while since I’ve participated in that. Sooo, check back here on Tuesday to see what I’ve created and where I’ve posted pieces.

Oh, and before I head off to start my graffiti-collage-sticker-art, I keep forgetting to mention the “Drawing THIS LOVE” project. My collage style contribution made it to their email and website as a Frame of the Week. Thank you everyone who sent me a heads up. I took that as a great sign that a bunch of you are also contributing. Yay!

2.18 Drawing THIS LOVE - Drawing of the Week

If you haven’t signed up to do a frame, I’m pretty sure there are still frames left so head on over and sign up. I can’t wait to see the finished video.

Congratulations and to-do lists

Congratulations to Shelly of Green Chic for winning the stationery and print giveaway over on Bicoastally! And great thanks to Claire for offering the giveaway. I’m so glad to have crossed paths with her and her wonderful, inspiring blog. She has out-done herself, time and time again, in support of my Etsy shop. Hugs ((Claire))

It’s been a whirlwind month. I can’t believe it’s almost over. I have so many things on my to-do list and I’d like to post some of them here to share with you:

-I bought fabric to make a halloween costume this year. It’s a HUGE project and we’ll see if I actually get it done. I’m horrible about costumes and usually wait till 6 p.m. on halloween to start constructing something. And while that has worked in the past, that will not work this year.

-I have so many things to list to my etsy shop. Including, more paper pendents, my yoyo zipper pouches, and hopefully, if all goes well, a poster (yay!) I’m pretty sure I have other things to list as well, but I’m drawing a blank right now.

-I really, really, really want to finish my second zine. The two things that are holding me back are the comic and the “interview a stranger”. I know both of these things are a challenge and that is why I HAVE to do them. The comic, because I feel a lot of pressure that it has to be PERFECT, and live up to the previous two. AND the interview, because I’m pretty shy, and introducing myself to a stranger, and also asking them if I can interview them and publish that interview is a terrifying thing.

-For my birthday my sister bought me a complete letterpress set. So, I’ve been doing some research on letterpress plates. This has been a dream of mine since I was in high school. My grandma used to have a subscription to Victoria Magazine and she would give me her old issues. I remember reading and saving an article in Victoria about a woman who started her own niche business of designing and printing invitations and cards on letterpress. At the time I was taking all sorts of graphic arts classes and really just obsessed with everything PRINT. At the same time letterpress was seen as an absolutely obsolete method. That got me even more excited because I always want to learn all the old obsolete ways of everything. Since then, wonderfully, letterpress has made a big comeback and now I finally have my own chance to design and create my own work.

-It’s also been a long while since I produced and contributed for Artomat and have been itching to begin a new series. ONLY, if one series (50 pieces) wasn’t a large enough undertaking, I actually have plans for 3 different series. One would be my mini canvas paintings, one would hopefully incorporate the above mentioned letterpress and the last would be another printmaking series, but in a different method.

-I also need to complete this painting of a dinosaur that I’m painting on my nephew’s wall. He’s inspired by the apatosaurus, aka the brontosaurus. He’s part Jurassic Park, part Land Before Time, part stuffed animal my brother had as a child, and part roadside attraction :)

Road Trip Weekend

This weekend should be called Road Trip Weekend.

On Saturday my sister and I drove up to Madison, WI, in our bajillionth attempt to get cornish pasty from Teddy Wedgers in Madison. We used to get them when we were kids, remembered them fondly and wanted to see if they were as good as we reminisced. We’ve gone up before, only to find that they were closed. Another attempt we did end up getting pasties, but from another place entirely, and they weren’t as good as we hoped. What is Cornish Pasty, you might be wondering? Well, if I remember correctly, they were a regional pocket dish cooked for the working miners, cooked early, and kept warm in pockets till lunch time. Imagine a pie crust filled with meat, potatoes and veggies. It’s kind of like a calzone, but less bready, more pie crusty goodness. yummmm. I can cross off an item on my 2010 list of things to do.

The drive up was about 2 hours and I called beforehand to make sure they were open. When we got there the guy told behind the counter told us they just sold out of the traditional (meat and potatoes) pasty about 15 minutes ago. We were crushed. But then he explained if we REALLY wanted some they would have some done cooking in about 15 minutes. He acted if that wait was a deal breaker. He did not know how far we had come, lol. While we waited we shopped. I remembered they had an Artomat, so we tracked that down, which led to several AWESOME stores.

Madison is really an awesome town. It’s a beautiful capital city and their downtown shopping around the capital looks so cozy and small town. But the shops, well, they are no sleepy small town shops. The ones we went into were right up my alley. It was like the renegade craft fair in chicago, but in a store. I know renegade has a craft store in chicago, but I’ve never gone in, so I can’t compare it. But the items in these stores were often artists I’ve seen representing themselves at the renegade craft fair and elsewhere in the craft/indie internet world. We stopped in Pop Deluxe, which also had the Artomat, and I bought two pieces (seen in the top picture with the pasty) and a bunch of fun items including a key chain light that looks like a match and is turned on and off by blowing on it. We also stopped in Anthology. This is the kind of store that sells everything from “$1 do it yourself button badges” to finished altered art books, japanese stationery, and it looks like they also offer crafty classes, as there was a table of ladies decorating easter eggs while were in there.

After our delicious lunch we headed back home, but not before an obligatory stop at the Cheese Chalet to pick up cheese, cheese, cheese!

Yesterday morning I did a harmless google search for “Huffy Verona Craigslist” and low and behold I found someone selling my old bike (that was ruined in the accident last year) 2.5 hours away in Peoria, IL. Some of you might remember that I just purchased my same bike a few weeks ago on Ebay. That was also a huffy verona, but it was the female version in gold. My old bike was the male version in a burgundy color.

I messaged the owner and arranged to pick it up today. This was my first time ever using craigslist so I was a little nervous and knew I really shouldn’t go alone. My sister was the hero today and drove 45 minutes to my house, just to take me 2.5 more hours to Peoria to pick up the bike. This was a LOT of driving for her this weekend and anyone else in my life would have just called me insane.

The History

On the way down I was thinking how this would actually be the FOURTH! Huffy Verona bike I have officially owned. That is a testament to this bike. The first one was when my “to-be” sister in law and I went to walmart, tested them out and immediately fell in love. This was probably in 1999 or 2000. She bought the girls version in gold and I bought the male one in burgundy. They are just Huffy, so they weren’t expensive, maybe $140. They look and feel like comfort bikes, BUT they have real brakes and speeds, unlike the jamoke “retro” comfort bikes out now, where you have to peddle backwards to brake and there is only one speed – “how fast can you peddle?”. Hello elementary school!

I loved this bike from the beginning because not only was it supremely comfortable, but it also had that retro look, way before that retro look was as popular as it is today. I called it my PeeWee Herman bike. After owning and riding it to work for less than a month, I came home one day, parked it on my parents back yard patio and within probably 15 minutes someone stole it. I was heartbroken. I hadn’t even had time to register it, so if it turned up abandoned somewhere I was out of luck. I went back to Walmart and bought another. This time I was careful to keep it in the garage. This bike stayed with me through 3 moves. At one point a peddle shaft cracked, peddle fell off and it was easily repaired by buying a new shaft. Then while locked up outside at my apartment, some idiot stole my bike seat, also easily replaced. Then the other peddle cracked off, but this one meant the whole gear mechanism needed to be replaced. It was taken to the bike shop to get fixed.

Last year I set myself a goal that I would walk or ride my bike to work for a month. After the first month was up, I was enjoying myself so much I continued on. Halfway through the second month tragedy struck when I was hit by an SUV pulling out of a parking lot and the bike was destroyed. I was equally upset by what felt like a broken ankle, as I was by my precious bike being crumpled. After I took it into the bike shop and they literally laughed at me for proposing it be fixed, I decided I’d find another bike just like it again. They obviously have stopped making them, but since they were sold at Walmart I figure there are probably thousands of them out there between ebay, craigslists, used bike shops, and garage sales across the country.

Bike three showed up on Ebay, but it was the female version. I didn’t care, both bikes were awesome, rode and felt the same. The only difference I can tell is the color and the standard higher male bar on the body. Bike three is great, works fine, if just a touch rusty.

This weekend bike four occurred through craigslist. Now, even if something were to happen to one my bikes, I’ve got a back up. Meanwhile, my sister in law is still on her first bike :)

It was a great weekend. Sunny, perfectly spring and a lot of miles covered.

matchbook tutorial

Today I assembled these little matchbook styled scrap-pads to add to my purchase packs that go out with every order. I used to have these quarter sized recycled scratch pads, but when I ran out I got the idea to revamp the plan and make matchbook styled scrap pads. And you know me, whenever there is an option, always go miniature!

While I was making them I thought it would be pretty easy to take a few snapshots and put together a little tutorial on making these easy-peasy pads. They are still made from recycled, hence the “scrap-pads”.

The materials are basic things everyone has in their home. Scrap paper, scissors or paper cutter, and stapler. If you’re feeling like getting tricked out, grab a ruler, glue stick and bone folder.

The paper size is 1/16th of an 8.5×11, meaning I halved, halved, halved and halved again, if you can keep that straight. Otherwise it’s 1.0625″ x 1.375″. That’s not based on real matchbooks, but just in the ease in halving over and over again. For the cover I just grabbed some 12×12 scrapbook paper, but you could also use any pretty paper you have lying around. I think I’ll use paper from old books for my next batch, then they will be truly recycled (aside from the new staple). I cut the scrapaper down to strips roughly the same width as the halved paper (1.0625″).

1. I used the halved paper in stacks of 10 since that seemed to be how much my stapler could handle. Placed my stack of paper face up with the decorative paper face down and stapled them together like shown in picture 1.

2. Slightly above the staple, I fold the paper back down. You should be able to see the decorative side of the paper now, like in picture 2. This way you can hide the staple.

3. Continue wrapping the paper around the back, creasing the folds, like in picture 3.

4. Now fold over the top, from behind to front, like in picture 4.

5. Carefully trim the decorative paper so that once trimmed the edge fits under the flap from the bottom as seen in picture 5.

6. Voila! You have a handy-dandy snazzy easy-peasy pretty scrap pad.

Use the bone folder to crease and fold and the glue stick to glue the back page to the back cover, if you like.

Throw a couple in your purse so that when your frantically riffling through your purse looking for a piece of paper to write down a phone number on, or to throw away the gum you’ve been chewing on for eternity, you are golden. I took mine a tiny step further and put my personal stamp on the inside cover, as seen in the first image. You could go to whatever lengths you want to gussy them up. They are fun to make, quick, cute AND functional.

Making these I was reminded that the Artomat machine at KCH has a “matchbook” slot, where a book would have dropped with every pack of cigarettes. I wonder if books like these would work in that machine. It would be a cool project for the students there to make their own “art matchbooks” that would drop with each Artomat sale.


If only I knew then, what I know now

This morning I woke up from a funny dream. My best friend and I were back in second grade. We didn’t have the same teacher back then, but neither did we in the dream, so she went to the classroom next door, like it was then. It was funny to me because of that saying “If only I knew then what I know now”, well it was like that. Let’s just say I totally ruled at second grade! The grammar lesson was a jamoke, and then this girl from second grade was telling me about how she wanted her own website, and I was all “been there, done that”. I’d be a second grader with an attitude if I knew then what I know now, lol.

In my last post, I shared a letter I received from someone who purchased one of my Artomat paintings. This week I have received a couple emails regarding Artomat. One was from someone wanting some tips on submitting and the other was this AWESOME picture from Marisa who purchased this painting from a machine at her school. I asked her if it was okay to share it on my blog because it’s my first picture from an Artomat customer and I was so psyched. Holla Marisa! How cute is she? With all the Artomat messages lately I think the world is trying to tell me it’s time to start my next series.

I just listed another reproduction print in my shop this morning. It’s from the photographs I took a couple years ago of snow falling through the tree branches. The thing that’s so cool about this piece is how it looks like a drawing or painting, but it’s actually an unaltered photograph.

This morning I had a great idea to create a “coloring book” style booklet to add to orders as an extra goodie. I’m excited to start working on this project.

Lastly, are you in need of some umph? Listen here.

Art-o-mat themed treasury

I’ve created an Art-o-mat themed Etsy Treasury

This honestly took me forever to create.
I exhaustively went through EVERY.SINGLE.CONTRIBUTING.ART-O-MAT ARTIST! listed on, clicked on their links, visited their websites, searched for their etsy shops. I actually compiled this over a month ago and have been keeping it in my poster sketch tool on my laptop waiting till one of the treasuries finally opened up and I was prepared.

Tonight was that night.

I’m sure everyone here already knows how much I love Art-o-mat, but please hop over and visit my treasury, click on the artists and check out there work, leave comments on the treasury and I’ll luv ya 4 evah!

Paintings in the shop

Last month during my “Thing-a-day” I shared a couple of collections of new collages.

I made these as a first step in what would be translated into miniature paintings similar to my Art-o-mat paintings. It’s a way to celebrate finally sending in my Art-o-mat collection. This way, anyone who might not have access to an Art-o-mat, or those who have purchased some of my work and would like to buy more, could do so from my etsy shop.
I have listed 3 “Art-o-mat” styled miniature canvas paintings to my shop so far.

Click on any of the images and it will take you to their listing page.