ArtVndngMchn 2 - Art Breakdown

I have always thought art in vending machines was a cool idea after first hearing about it. I became aware of this phenomenon during college in the early oughts.  Of course I wanted to submit for this project which was called “Art-o-Mat”,  I even went as so far as to cut out my cigarette pack sized block but didn’t quite get it together to submit my sample art.

I originally thought that the ArtVndngMchn Project was following in the tradition of the Art-o-Mat project which dates back to 1997. Clark Wittington first reused a cigarette vending machine to vend art at his solo show. This project has grown significantly since then and still has many active machines throughout the country.

When I asked the creator of ArtVndngMchn, Joe Chiappetta if he took inspiration from Art-o-Mat or other projects like it, he explained that he was more inspired by comic book vending machines in the 1970’s.  I had never even heard of these, but definitely see how they could have planted a seed in his mind especially since his own personal art style is so heavily influenced by the classic comic aesthetic.

This nostalgic vending mechanic actually translates perfectly to the world of crypto art.  Where a project like Art-O-Mat only sells one physical piece of art for $5, the ArtVndngMchn project, bundles crypto art in to randomized packs of 4 ($10) or 8 ($100) with varying rarities. In the name of research, I bought 2 packs from the first iteration of this project to see how this mechanic played out, I wasn’t disappointed.

Upon opening the pack I was greeted with a delightful animation of a coin going into a digital vending machine and then spitting out some art. Then I collected my randomized mints…then I bought 2 more packs just to be thorough.

The art itself that is included within the project is pretty varied. The number of pieces the creator and his artistic family members have in the project is pretty high compared to the other artists, but Joe explained this was a way to have more of a financial stake in the project while still paying all the artists for their work.  I am all for creators having skin in the game, and actually find it somewhat suspect if they choose not to.

Joe’s art itself is deeply informed by classic comics, but that would be reductive to say that’s all it is.  I also see sprinkles of Fauvism and, since Joe is an O.G. of the space, he is also quite familiar with Trash Art and has also incorporated a lot of elements from this movement into his work. But I think the most defining quality is his lighthearted playfulness in his work.  My favorite work of his, which I feel embodies this spirit is the 1/1 mythic “You Light Up My Life” which is actually a collaboration with Denise Chiappetta, his wife.

There is a good amount of meat when I am just getting around to mentioning there are some really other notable O.G. artists in this project along side some early career artist.  The indelible father of trash art, Robness, has a 1/1 Mythic  “Doggo Fio” which is a negative sketch drawing of his dog. It’s interesting and somewhat uncharacteristic to see something so personal from the controversial artist who made a name for himself by reigniting the classic art argument over whether a readymade object (or in Robness’s case an image of a garbage can) could be considered fine art. (Full disclosure, I am a fan of his and own several of his works)

“Bitcoin Utopia” a 100 edition rare by mBlue, the founder of the Uplift World, is worth mentioning. I am a newcomer to the uplift metaverse, through Yoshidrops and wasn’t familiar with this work.  The description for the piece is pretty comprehensive and says,  “In mid 2020, mBlu embarked on a journey of creating an NFT drop that could help build schools in Haiti. Bitcoin Utopia is an un-released piece from the "My Bitcoin Bull" genesis collection that will forever be a special piece of history in the Uplift.Art journey to making the world a little bit better.” This animation piece has a lot of dynamic active elements, but I didn’t quite understand it without researching the original project. If you are already a collector of “My Bitcoin Bull” you probably don’t want to miss out on this work.

My favorites from this collection are both from artists a little more under the radar. Isa Kost’s contributions to the project are beautiful, heartwarming, and a bit weird all at the same time.  Somewhat to my surprise I realized that I already own a piece from her HEN #objkt4obkt drop, Isa is now on my radar twice and I plan on following her more closely. Isa has contributed a cohesive series of 8 animated works - 1 Mythic (1/1) 4 legendarys (edition of 9), 2 epics (edition of 35), and 1 rare (edition of 100)

Another artist I was very happy to discover in this project is Ilan Katin. His whimsical, animations of geometrically-abstract creature standout. He contributes 5 legendary and 2 epics all which seem to exist in a parallel universe where euclidian geometry has conspired with mystical creatures to create something entirely new.

There is a lot more to this project and I have only cherry picked some highlights.  I look forward to cracking some packs when this project drops and probably picking some of my favorites up on the secondary market if they are affordable.  Joe, the creator of ArtVndngMchn, hopes to one day have these vending machines as freestanding functioning 3D objects in the meta-verse and I am certainly looking forward to that. Launch: July 10th, 2021 at 9am PST

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