Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Artist Blows Smoke Up Traditional Ideas About Art

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Wireless Flash - FlashNews) – An adventurous artist in North Carolina is blowing smoke up people’s preconceived notions about art.

Clark Whittington is the man behind Artžožmat – old cigarette vending machines which are restored and used to dispense various artwork – from paintings and photography, to puppets and mini-sculptures, all for five bucks each.

There are 90 Artžožmat machines all across the country, and while folks can fork over a five for drawings and jewelry, Whittington also stocks his machines with weirder work, which he hopes will smoke away art’s stuffy stereotypes.

One contributing artist makes styrofoam sculptures, called Styrogami, and Whittington even got in on the action himself, making what he calls, “premium quality dog-chewed matter” – items like remote controls and water bottles that his dog chewed up, which Whittington painted gold and sold through the vending machines.

He explains, “People have preconceived ideas that this art isn’t worth much. Some people don’t understand art unless it’s dumbed down or high-priced. What we’re selling is an experience. And we sold 25,000 pieces this year, so someone’s figuring it out!”

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