While many old cigarette vending machines have become banned as of late, North Carolina-based artist Clark Whittington has found an all-new purpose for them. These former tobacco product dispensers have been renamed as “Art-o-Mat” machines, named after their sole purpose: To dispense mini-sized works of art to the public! In a world dominated by traditional drink and snack vending machines, Whittington’s work proves that there is always room for some retro-themed innovation.
This project started gaining steam around 1997, when Whittington installed his first machine in Winston-Salem in 1997. His re-purposed cigarette vending machines dispense black-and-white photos the size of cigarette packs for about a dollar, allowing just about anyone to enjoy the results of this unique art vending machine. Whittington has turned over 100 cigarette machines into Art-o-Mat devices since he began the project, and he now has works featured everywhere from the Whitney Museum in NYC and Washington D.C.’s National Portrait Gallery. These vending machines have since expanded to feature everything from wearable art, notepads, small cartoons, and more.
We are constantly surprised and delighted whenever the vending machine business produces unique products like this, and we look forward to seeing the trend continue. Of course, if you are looking to enter the industry at a more base level, our vending machines for sale are a great place to start!