An art vending machine is, you guessed it, a vending machine that sells art. Vending Machines have been around for well over 100 years and are an integral part of getting food and drinks on-the-go, and recently art vending machines have allowed a new avenue for artists to sell their work.
From the lowly Soda Machine to the complex snack dispensing goliaths found at stadium foyers, vending machines deliver what we want when we want it.
The same can be said of artists. When people want art, they turn to artists they know or reach out to galleries to find an artist who can provide them with the art they want.
In modern days, artists tend to find like-minded individuals on Facebook and Instagram who are passionate about collecting art. Therefore, they utilize social media to promote their art and services to connect with art collectors.
If you’re an artist, you’ll be delighted to discover a new way to sell your art — via vending machines and Micro CRE. The concept is innovative. Artists now can make money and get more exposure by selling their art through this unique new venture.
Art-o-mat Machine: Vending for Arts
The Art-o-mat machine is a repurposed cigarette vending machine. It features small art pieces that are either drawn on the cigarette boxes or are inside the box.
Over 200 Art-o-mat machines have been installed in the US, and over 400 artists from various countries have contributed to the Art-o-mat project.
How Art-o-mat Works
To purchase a token, buyers can use the website or the vending machine’s QR code. They can then deposit the token into the machine and receive a small piece of art.
After the piece caught the public’s attention, it became an international project. Through the machine, artists from all around the world have participated.
To participate in the project, artists should first submit an application to host an Art-o-mat. They should then receive a shipment of their art pieces.
Art-o-mat Machine at Price Gilbert Library’s Tech Library
The Price Gilbert Library’s Tech Library added an Art-o-mat machine to its Grove level. This machine is located adjacent to the Sideways Café.
After the library was selected as a host organization, a team of staff members worked together to determine the model of the Art-o-mat machine. They chose the Space Monkey.
The Space Monkey was chosen because it represented the Tech community’s interest in space exploration and science. The themes of technology and science were also very popular with the students.
The Art-o-mat machine is part of the library’s efforts to increase the students’ exposure to the arts. This program is also part of the university’s public art displays and creative programming promotion.
The university’s arts program, the Arts Initiative, also aims to encourage faculty members to integrate art into their courses. In 2022, the program will be known as smART.
The library is also excited to introduce an artist-in-residence program in the spring of 2022. This will be part of the university’s ongoing efforts to promote creative programming and public art displays.
Art Vending Machine North Adams
The vision of artist Nico Dery was realized when he partnered with the Mass MoCA to create Art Vending North Adams. Since its debut over Memorial Day weekend in 2021, the project has attracted a wide range of visitors.
Dery proposed the idea of a vending machine in North Adams last year after the local artist impact coalition issued a call for grant proposals.
Origin of the Art Vending Machine Idea
The idea came from a video of Clark Whittington’s Art-o-mat project, which featured vending machines repurposed to sell art. At that time, the US was considering banning the sale of cigarettes, and many of these machines were being used to sell art.
During the height of the pandemic, she decided to proceed with the project. She initially thought that the project would be a way to introduce people to art without any contact, but as the project has evolved, it’s now more fun and accessible.
When Dery first heard about the project, she didn’t know where it would end. After consulting with Tracy Moore, the museum’s interim director, she learned that the machine would be placed in the museum’s courtyard.
How Much Were Artists Selling Their Art?
The vending machine features a variety of artwork made by local artists, ranging in price from $2 to $50. Some of the pieces include small paintings and sculptures and hand-made items such as bottle openers and masks.
The vending machine website features a tab that lists the artists whose work is currently on sale.
One of the most fun aspects of participating in the project has been seeing the customers interact with the artwork through social media. According to Coon, she enjoys being able to see how people respond to her work. She also said that she is grateful for the opportunity to connect with the people interested in her work.
The majority of the machine’s money goes back to the artists. However, the other portion goes toward the project’s sustainability.
The limitations of the kind of art that could fit into the machine inspired her to create a more expansive piece of work. In addition, the various factors that went into making the piece fit into the machine helped her narrow down her options.
Was the Project Worth It?
The most rewarding aspect of the project has been the connections that Dery has made with the local artists. She said that she could connect with them and the people who were interested in her work. She also said that the project has been very beneficial to the community.
Lucid Vending’s Refurbished Art Vending Machine
Lucid Vending is a company that places the repurposed vending machines in different establishments, such as bars and restaurants. The machines are made to order and have their unique design.
St. Petersburg residents Kayla Cox and Chance Ryan got an old vending machine from a local junkyard and turned them into works of art. They then sell the pieces to local artists. Aside from art, the pair also sell various items, such as dog treats and hangover cures.
Origin of Lucid’s Art Vending Machine Idea
The idea behind Lucid Vending came from Cox, who said that selling her small pieces at markets can be time-consuming. She thought that she could make more money by incorporating the creative vending industry into her business.
How to Get the Machine
The artist or business owner has to fill out a form and provide the details of their location. If the business fits the “entertainment” demographic, the machine will be placed in their establishment free of charge.
The owner of Lucid Vending and the business that uses the machine split the monthly profits. The company also promises to promote the business on social media.
The Ideal Location
Since the company was first established nine months ago, Lucid Vending has already been in seven different locations. The company owners believe that their machines could become tourist destinations.
I think the ideal location is right next to a beer or alcohol vending machine and a pick and place pizza vending machine. When you’ve gotten a little tipsy, watched a robot make your food, and had your fill of pizza, it’s nice to look at art!
A vintage cigarette machine can be transformed into an art-to-go vending machine, allowing creators in Colleges to sell their work for a low price.
The machine features 22 slots filled with different art types, such as jewelry, ceramics, and puzzles. All pieces are made from scratch and sell for around $15 a pop.
Origin of the Idea
The idea behind the project came from Verdon’s experience at the Whitney Museum in New York. During the pandemic, she and Holland decided to launch the vending business (there are so many types of vending businesses!) to help local artists.
Verdon and Holland came up with the idea for the project while their businesses were temporarily closed due to the outbreak of the pandemic. They had been brainstorming business ideas for a long time, and the idea of selling their goods from a vending machine was an outlandish one.
Initially, they thought it would be a daunting task to create a vending machine that would function properly. However, after realizing that they had the necessary skills to make it a reality, the project has become a favorite of Verdon.
How Art to Go Has Helped Local Artists
The Art to Go project has allowed local artists to receive much-needed support during the holiday season. It has also allowed them to expand their reach and sell their work online.
Verdon and Holland would not have been able to launch their project without the support of 3 Dots Downtown. The organization gave them the grant to help get the project off the ground.
She credited 3 Dots co-founder Spud Marshall for helping her and Holland find other potential partners. Through Marshall’s connections, they were able to create a strong and mutually beneficial partnership with the local arts community.
If you are an artist interested in selling your work in the Art-to-Go vending machine downtown, you can email Verdon directly.
However, the sales potential is dependent on your plan since not all vending machines go through inventory at the same rate.
You don’t need to be a famous artist to sell your art – you just need a sales technique that’s a bit more creative and interesting than the typical art sales open house format. It could even be digital art or augmented reality based art.
Just make sure that you’ve found a suitable location (maybe even use a vending machine locator), got a vending machine with a credit card reader (since no one under 35 carries around cash), and got some insurance for you machine and your art.