A spruced-up, old-school vending machine at Artize Gallery in Palm Springs makes artwork more accessible than ever. Insert $5, pull the knob, and — presto! — out pops fine art.
“It dispels the notion that a person cannot afford original art,” says gallery owner Kelly Truscott. “I had my youngest guest try it, and his family was so excited about the experience. I had guests coming back to get more art to give as gifts … It is a true delight to watch the responses.”
The Art-O-Mat is a trendy refurbished cigarette machine with a sci-fi vibe that matches Artize’s unconventional art collection. The machine holds one-of-a-kind artwork contained in small boxes made of cardboard or wood. Each pull of the knob entails an “element of surprise,” Truscott explains. There are 200 works of art available by 20 different international artists: bent fork sculptures, monster figurines, slab-built pottery, lino-block prints, and origami mobiles are just a few of the offerings.
“It captured my attention because I love vintage treasures like jukeboxes, pinball machines, and rotary phones,” she says. “Here was a vending machine from my past that now dispenses art … It cast a spell on me.”
Truscott first encountered the Art-O-Mat 12 years ago at the Crocker Museum in Sacramento; she saw the machine again in 2018 at Meow Wolf, an immersive art space in Santa Fe.
“It’s so nostalgic for those of us that can remember how the machines used to be used, but now they expose people to art in a very novel, approachable, and fun way,” she says. “It’s triggering many sensations — pulling that knob, recalling past memories, and hearing the kerplunk of the box being delivered into the tray; it’s a true experience. With Art-O-Mat art, people can share their love of art affordably with others. One grandmother bought souvenirs for her grandchildren. Some folks add to their existing Art-O-Mat collection.”
Artize Gallery, located in Palm Springs’ Backstreet Art District, exhibits the work of emerging and established artists specializing in landscape, fantasy, sci-fi, collages, mixed media, and abstract and whimsical paintings and sculpture. “Now,” Truscott enthuses, “the Art-O-Mat experience adds a whole other dimension to enjoy.”
Artize Gallery, 2600 Cherokee Way, Palm Springs; 760-835-1866,
“Now the Art-O-Mat experience adds a whole other dimension to enjoy,” says Artize Gallery owner Kelly Truscott.