Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Re-purposed Vintage: the Art-o-Mat Vending Machine

Restored vintage cigarette machines + art = the Art-o-Mat!
Art-o-Mat at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. 
Photo via Facebook
I do believe this is one of the coolest re-purposed/recycled vintage projects I have ever seen.  These former cigarette machines now vend a cellophane-wrapped carton of art!  The Art-o-Mat is the brainchild of Clark Whittington from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  He refurbished his first cigarette machine in 1997 and now there are over 100 machines nationwide in the United States (you can find one near you by clicking here). 

Over 400 different artists now participate in the Art-O-Mat project.  On a recent trip to Northern California I had the opportunity to spend a a couple of hours at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento.  I spied the Art-o-Mat machine near the gift shop on the first floor when I first entered the museum:

A closer look at the contents:

I had planned to purchase the origami pack and visit the museum gift shop after visiting the exhbits but I completely ran out of time (I had a plane to catch). So I went hunting on the web for some of the art and artists in the different machines. This textile design by Aimee Alexander is pretty cool:

via the Art-O-Mat website

I also like this pinhole camera and print set by Rebecca Sexton Larson:

via the Art-O-Mat website

The restored machines are works of art themselves. Here are a couple of my favorites:

At the Emerge Gallery in North Carolina
photo via the Art-O-Mat website

At the Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem, NC
photo via the Art-O-Mat website

Find out more about the Art-O-Mat project at their website. I think it's a fun way to discover new artists and collect original art, and I hope to visit more of them in the future.  


  1. That is seriously cool! I love that the original integrity of the machines are preserved (in the sense that one can still very much tell what they were back in their former lives). How fun that you got to see one of these awesome pieces in person.

    ♥ Jessica

    1. I thought it was cool too! And a really wonderful and fun way to promote art in unexpected places (some of the machines are at everyday places like grocery stores).
      Thanks for leaving a comment!


I love to read your comments! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

If you have a question for me or would like a personal response, be sure to allow email replies in your Blogger profile or just leave your email address in your comment.

Have a great day!