Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Cigarette Prices Rise, But Cigarette Machine Art Still Five Dollars

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Wireless Flash - FlashNews) – A North Carolina man has been dispensing art out of old cigarette machines for eight years now, and while cigarette prices continue to skyrocket, he’s still selling original artwork at five bucks a pop.

Clark Whittington uses beautifully restored cigarette machines all over the U.S. to sell various artwork – from sketches to jewelry to mini-sculptures – from more than 400 artists.

His Artžožmat machines work like this: You buy a five-dollar token, put it in the machine, pull a knob, and out pops your chosen piece of art.

Whittington agrees that artists could use more money than the $2.50 they earn per sale, but thinks charging more than five dollars for the artwork might scare away potential buyers.

He jokes, “There’s not many ways you can split up five bucks,” but adds, “We did turn a profit last year for the first time. My salary was $3000.”

What really makes him happy, though, is knowing, “Some artists are getting commissions or shows based on the Artžožmat.”

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