Awesome news to share!

About six weeks ago, I was perusing the forums at Etsy.  I did a few searches for “art” and “artists” just to see if I could find any hints or advice from other artists. Maybe learn something new.  I came across a thread about something called an Art-o-mat.  My curiosity was piqued, so I took a look.

What are Art-o-mats?  I learned that they are old cigarette vending machines that have been repurposed to vend miniature works of art instead.  (They have a website at, check it out!)  How cool is that???  There are over 90 machines and for $5 at most locations, you can buy a small piece of art, jewelry, or even a little sculpture, for example.  I was enchanted by the idea, absolutely smitten.  What a creative way to recycle and put these old machines back in use.  And I love how it makes art friendly, accessible and affordable for people.

I spent some time browsing Art-o-mart’s website, Facebook ( and even a group on Flickr where artists submit photos of their work and people who have bought some can post their pictures, too.  I studied the artwork and realized that my art might be a good fit for this.  Feeling energized and inspired, I went for it.

I ordered a sample of the wooden block (pre-cut to the exact specifications they need) that they have available.  I love painting on wood, so that was the perfect choice for me.  While waiting for it to arrive, I started working on possible designs.  The painting must measure exactly 2 1/8″ x 3 1/4″ so I created a template in Word with 8 squares that size on a page, then printed out multiples copies and started sketching my ideas in the squares.  I also developed and created the designs for the promotional card to be included with the work and the placard that they would use to advertise my art on the machine itself.

Art-o-mat prototype, placard and leaflet

Once the block arrived, I decided on the design to use, then transferred it and painted.  Then I covered the sides and back of the block with black gesso and then, after letting it dry, I sprayed it.  Then it was time to put it all together.  Your submission must be complete and vend-ready.    For the back of the block, I printed out a label with the title of the painting, my name and my email address.  Then I wrapped the block and the promotional leaflet I had designed with the strip of acetate.  I packaged that up with my application and placard and sent it off around the first of the month.

Then I waited.  That was the hard part!  It was only three weeks, but it felt like three months.  :)   But while I waited, I continued to sketch out more ideas in case I was accepted.  I’m unbelievably thankful now that I did that.

This morning I arrived at work before it was time to punch in.  So I decided to finish checking my email.  And there it was… the email saying that they had accepted me!  I was giddy all day.  :)   Made it very hard to concentrate on the day job!  But now the fun part of gathering the supplies and finishing up the designs commences while I wait for my package of 50 blocks to arrive.  (Plus I have to finish the pet portrait!)  I’m going to be a very busy painter, but I’m so excited to have this chance.

I’ve not yet had the opportunity to visit an Art-o-mat in person yet, but I’m visiting relatives in Seattle come November and there is one there!  I will be visiting it and starting up my own Art-o-mat art collection.  I’ll also be in Hawaii, but Kailua Kona.  The Art-o-mat there is in Honolulu.  Oh well, one day.  :)   They have a list of locations on their website.  Check it out… maybe you’ll discover one in your hometown!


Diane said...

What a very, very cool idea!and congratulations!! Thanks so much for the link.

Julie Behm said...

Thanks Diane! I just love the idea and it's such a fun way to get my art out there. I can hardly wait to see the one in Seattle. :)

DianasWonderworks said...

love it, I have to check it out!

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