OK ... I've known about the Art*o*mat® machine down at the Chicago Cultural Center for quite some time ... but I've never really delved into the concept/reality of it, nor, for that matter, ever purchased any art from it. Well, today I was downtown for a hair cut and a meeting with the new Career Services person at Chubb and decided to drop by the CCC to take a look at the "grass photograph" wall installation they had on display. On the way out, I went down to the gift shop, hoping to find a post card of it (they didn't have any in yet). However, outside of the CCC gift shop is one of these magical Art*o*mat® machines (one of the rare not-on-the-East-Coast ones ... of the 49 machines out there, only 6 are west of Pennsylvania!). For some reason I felt like "treating" myself today, so bought a $5.00 token for the machine and went to make a choice from the 22 available art packs. What I ended up getting was "Amulet Art" by Linda Ward Selbie which was print-outs of some of her graveyard photos (yeah, OK, so I got the one Gothy-looking one!) glued like a little book over two (wood?) rectangles, with a bit of thread and a bead through the binding to create an "amulet". In the pack was a full page "artist statement" which discussed her work and gave URLs for more info. Unfortunately she's not on the "sample" pages at the site (see http://www.artomat.org/artists.html for a big list of others' work) or I'd drop in a pic of it here ... but check out that page ... they have all sorts of things in there, from little playing cards, to small oil paintings, to mini-books, to "business card" audio CDs!
I just wish I had "money to burn" so that I could go down there and get one of everything out of the machine ... I mean, after all, it would only be $110.00 for one of each! I've been raving about this to just about everybody ... as I think the whole concept is great ... the marketing, the pop-culture iconography, the "affordable art", etc. etc. etc.! Do go check out their site!