Tuesday, April 14, 2009

7 Years of Art-O-Mats

I started making artomat pieces back in 2002 when after complaining that there were no venues for very small art, a friend sent me the link to Clark Whittington's Artists in Cellophane project. (http://www.artomat.org/).

I'd be looking for a way to combine poetry and images, and, more important, a way to get my work out among the real people and circumvent editors of literary magazines (and I'd been one so I know whereof I speak). I hated, dreaded and feared the whole incestuous process of choosing and mailing off 3-5 pieces, waiting for the rejection and doing it again. That's 20% of a day gone. I knew from experience (Black Warrior Review, 1987-91) that most writers are not familiar with the magazines they send work to and even fewer people actually read them.

What a thrill it's been vending poems. I've sold the same half dozen over and over to hundreds of readers, one line of a poem at a time. And they get this absolutely nifty block of wood and plexiglas with a painted print to boot (and a copy of the entire poem, too) And I get to manufacture the whole thing. Since I also included contact info, I'd sometimes hear from a collector.

Our checks come with a list of places where the pieces were sold: Asheville, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Los Angeles...museums, Whole Foods, festivals, coffee shops (Mary's, Of Course).

Once, probably in 2002 or 2003, I received a request for a whole poem and delighted in creating the set. I often wondered how the buyer displayed my artomats. Today, I found out:

check out this uber-collector's photos! Thanks Joy, you are well-named.

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