Week Fifty Two

Art-O-Mat in Omaha

Posted in Art news by sarahbakerhansen on 23 March 2010




Above, Art-O-Mats in Chattanooga, TN; Washington, D.C; and Malta, IL. Photos courtesy of artomat.org.

Whenever I get an e-mail from Scott Blake, it usually means he’s up to something new. I got one earlier this week and it was no exception. Our local bar code artist is playing host to an Art-O-Mat machine in Omaha this summer. Art-O-Mats are retired cigarette vending machines repurposed to vend art. More than 80 machines are installed in venues around the U.S. and around 400 artists – Blake included – submit original artwork that people can buy from the machines. Blake sells his bar code temporary tattoos in the machines.

The machines vend all sorts of interesting stuff. A quick survey of some of the contributing artists’ items included toys, miniature portraits, puzzles, tiny ceramic bowls and wooden boxes.

Omaha’s machine will travel around to different locations and will begin vending art this June in the Bemis Underground. The Omaha Art-O-Mat will have a black and white paint job with red pinstripes, inspired by Blake’s bar code works. He’s looking for local artists who want to put art in the vending machine. There’s a few submission guidelines, and interested artists can contact Blake.

“I’m obviously biased but I still highly recommend the project,” Blake wrote. “I think it would be cool to fill up our machine with all Omaha artists.”

I do, too.