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Alyssha Eve Csuk
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New Use for Vending Machines - Art O Mat

Pallette Cool News is a compiler of interesting trend setting news bites and they recently published a blurb about Art O Mat vending machines that sell art. Nice idea! Read more....

Clark Whittington is refurbishing vintage cigarette machines to dispense "original artworks, drawings and photography," reports Nick Haramis in the Wall Street Journal (4/30/11). He's been at this for 13 years now, and currently has about 1,000 of his Art-O-Mat machines installed at locations worldwide. The artwork costs between five and seven dollars apiece, and includes both on-spec and commissioned pieces. Corey Hengen is among Art-O-Mat's best-selling artists, and naturally loves the idea. "Art-O-Mat brings art to people who might never go to a gallery," he says.

Art-O-Mat is one of a number of vending machines dispensing surprising wares: "In the Netherlands, vending machines birth rental bicycles ... In Los Angeles, you can buy Quiksilver brand bikinis and board shorts ... In Miami's Catholic-heavy Little Havana, they sell prayer candles from dispensing boxes stamped with an image of the Virgin and Child." In Nanjing, China, you can buy "live hairy crabs" from machines at subway stations. But Japan has more vending machines per capita -- 23 -- than any other country, selling "everything from live lobsters to lingerie, toilet paper to rhinoceros beetles."

Of course, it's not that unusual to find crawfish, crayfish, minnows or worms in American vending machines, courtesy of Live Bait Vending. The same machines also dispense cold drinks. Freshly prepared food is the thing in Australia, with a machine that serves up French fries. In France you can get wine and bread, while Italy has the famous Let's Pizza machine, which whips up a fresh pie. Abu Dhabi probably takes the cake, however, with Gold to Go, a vending machine that dispenses coins and bullion, "aimed at both private investors and tourists." Seventeen such machines currently dot the planet, with gold prices starting at $42. ~ Tim Manners, editor.

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