Interview with Clark Whittington of Art-O-Mat

Since 2019, the store has hosted an Art-O-Mat Machine in the rear lobby. Art-o-mat machines are retired cigarette vending machines that have been converted to vend art. We talked with the founding creative behind the program Clark Whittington. 

How long have you been involved with Art-O-Mat?
24 years

Image of the Art-O-Mat logo

What gave you the ideas?

The concept for ArToMaT came from an observation. A friend would always go to a vending machine upon hearing the crinkle of cellophane. I decided to see if it was possible to create a pavlovian reaction to sell art.


How many and where are all these machines?
There are approximately 170 machines spread out across the US, Canada, Austria and Australia.

Is it getting harder or easier to find machines?
They're getting easier to find but Harder to afford!
How many artists have you all worked with over the years?
We've worked with thousands of artists. We regularly have 300-ish involved any given time throughout the year.


If someone would like to get involved, what should they do?
Visit to learn about the application process.
Besides Art-O-Mat, you have your own art practice?
This is my practice. I view all aspects of managing ArToMaT as art. However, I stopped doing paintings/installations in 2010 once the project had a major surge. The last decade has required my full focus. My plan is to produce exhibits again when time allows.

Black and white photo of a cigarette machine converted into an art vending machine

Seems like you are always working or creating, what do you do in your spare time? Any hobbies?
Cycling. Tinkering. Harassing my dogs. I enjoy fixing things to save them from the landfill. Prefer analog vs tech. Currently, I’ve rescued 3 bikes during the pandemic. I can send some stunning before/after pics upon request.


What is the busiest time of year for Art-O-Mat?
With the Holiday season it would be November to December. But, it seems busy all the time, lately.