Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Art-O-Mat

Look what I bought today. An original piece of handmade art for only $5.00.

This "Bearded Bunny" is by artist William Hessian, and the coolest thing is that I bought it from a vending machine. An organization called Artomat or "The Artists in Cellophane" has been turning old banned cigarette vending machines into dispensers of extremely affordable handmade art since 1997 and the whole thing started right here in Winston-Salem, NC, the town I recently moved to. There are seven machines right here in Winston-Salem and over 90 throughout the country. They are also in many other countries worldwide.

I bought my "Bearded Bunny" from the machine at Secca, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, which currently features an exhibit talking about the history of Artomat and showcasing some of the best Artomat art from its permanent collection. I think the refurbished old cigarette vending machines are works of art themselves.