Hand painted block of wood for Art-o-Mat machines that sell artwork.

What is Art-o-mat?

Art-o-mat® machines are retired cigarette vending machines that have been converted to vend art. There are over 100 active machines in various locations throughout the country.

To learn more visit their website.


Why would I want to be an Art-o-mat Artist?

Being an artist I love to work in different mediums not just gingerbread. (Shocking I know) I have created in one way or another my whole life. My dad is an Art-o-mat artist, Harold Fravel, and has been for many years now. (https://www.instagram.com/fellsmeresfriends/) I love “hunting” in different machines for his artwork and wanted to be part of the fun. I like to paint/draw many different things and how would I find that perfect thing to put on a block or make? Then a light bulb went off with my love of gingerbread and I thought what fun it would be to create different gingerbread people to paint on each block.

If your goal is to one day be an Art-o-mat artist as well then you need to submit three blocks using their prototype kit. Please see these guidelines for submission. https://www.artomat.org/guidelines/

When can I start?

Once approved you can start creating! You can purchase a box with 50 wood blocks already cut to the required size to work with each machine. Some artists purchase boxes the appropriate size as well and insert a handmade piece of artwork like a piece of jewelry. (you do not have to paint on blocks, many other artists create with other mediums for Art-o-mat)

What is my process?

My process starts by painting the face of the blocks different solid colors, leaving the other sides of the block raw wood. I then paint all the edges, around the face, of my blocks black. In doing so I am able to to keep a more constant look to all my pieces. Then I trace a gingerbread man cookie cutter onto each block with a pencil to keep the shape uniform across all my blocks. I fill in the gingerbread man bodies on each block different colors. Then the fun part for me starts and each “gingy” gets a personality. I take my time giving each one a different hobby or interest, I don’t like to paint them all the same. Some of my “gingys” are similar but each one is truly unique.

Where does my artwork go?

As the artist you do not get to select which machines will host your artwork but I personally think that is part of the fun. You will find out what machines your artwork has sold in when you receive your paycheck. It was so fun comparing paystubs with my dad to learn that my dad’s artwork is in a same machine my gingys in Arizona. You can look on the Art-o-mat webpage to find machines located near you. https://www.artomat.org/locations/ Happy “hunting”, and please let me know if you find my artwork in a machine near you. You can email me or DM through Instagram. I would love to share a picture of which block found.


“Always Have Fun”