View Full Version : Monsters and Robots: Lessons and Sequels

04-25-2009, 08:35 AM



Title: Monsters and Robots: Lessons and Sequels
Year Created:
Medium: Acrylic
Surface: Wood
Dimension: 2 1/8 x 3 1/4
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!


I'm posting no new image here. I am using the post to share some reflections on Artomat, on line selling and the doing of a series rather than just random works. There has been general and continuing interest from many forum members on my unusual (to say the least) monster fest so here's a lot of information in one place:

Artomat explained

It's a small art business that refurbishes abandoned cigarette machines and places them in art venues like museums. There are presently 83 machines around the country, one in Canada, one in Austria. Artomat has about 400 juried, contract artists who prepare art for the machines. The art must be the size of a cigarette pack to vend and is generally either an object in a chip board box or a decorated MDF cigarette size block (the case with me). Each artist has a "placard" on his row in the machine with explains what he does (monsters and robots in my case) but the buyer does not get to see the actual work. The buyer pops in $5 (not too different from buying a cigarette pack and there's no cancer risk) and gets a piece of original art. The artist is eventually paid $2.50 so you can see this is not a way to pay for that Ferrari but it is a way to get your name spread around (I include a business card and hope for monstrous commissions). I haven't heard of any other forum member applying to become an artomat artist but I hope someone does it. What (for example) if Varna joined for "flourescent cats"? It would be a hit. For more:

Why monsters?

I like 'em. They're fun to paint, fun to explain. Based on the reactions from the forum and from local folks who've been seeing my output, they resonate with many people. Most artomat artists have some sort of interesting concept behind their art and maintain it as a series. A number are artistically cooler than my monster series (as I see it) but I feel like the process of selecting and explaining my monsters (each painting is accompanied by the write ups I've been posting) will be fun for the buyer and will stack up ok against all the other stuff being offered.

How to paint wood blocks

Considering the meager revenues for these puppies and the need to produce a lot, you've got to get fast at making them. I used three white gesso coats and employed Atelier interactive acrylic paint. I didn't want to wait for oils to dry. I prefer Golden Open acrylics these days because they blend much better (dry the next day) but I wanted to use up my Ateliers (Still got a lot left tho). I have mixed feeling about this strategy. Even painting at warp speed, I still had problems with too fast drying and know I'd have made better paintings with Golden Open. Well, I reasoned I don't want to give anyone a heart attack so I stuck with the Ateliers. The white gesso was, however, a mistake. I'd often have areas which showed little white dots and these were hard to knock out and also chewed up time. Next go I'll try gray or ochre toned blocks. I did finished with a quick varnish.

Supplied with the painting

I include the monstrous write up on a slip of paper, and a two sided artomat business card. I've posted both sides of the card and a graphic of my "placard" which appears on the machines where the cigarette ID used to sit.

Artistic benefits of painting 50 little monsters

Hey, it's great practice. Most of my images function as portraits and while I'm no Mikey, I'm sure my non monstrous portraits will start coming out better. And each painting requires the artist to quickly solve compositional, hue and value issues without blowing a month on making a huge canvas.

On line selling

I sell in some local galleries and at shows. Oddly, while my paintings have been getting better, my sales have been getting worse. Talking to other artists, it seems that the economy is beating us all up. I've been wishing to sell on line but it's intimidating because there are soooooo many works for sale. Inspired by Spyderbabe, I've been putting my aceo's up on ebay and have sold 16 (I think SB's done hundreds) but this is just dribs and drabs. My monstrous idea is to replicate the series by posting the images in an ebay store (and/or other site) and offering not to sell them (they're already sold) but to repaint them for a buyer in larger formats at different prices. When I get this rolling, I'll report on it.

The Sequel

It will probably take a few months for my stuff to be placed and get moving. But as it sells, I've got to make more. The series will never end: HOOOOOHAAAAH. I'm not quite sure if some artomat artists make repeats, but I won't. Hey, I've got integrity.


For the many members who've enjoyed the series and had some laughs, I've assembled a PDF graphic file of all the monsters with comments. Email me, if you want one emailed to you.

[email protected]

04-25-2009, 08:49 AM
The link is wrong unless you want bathroom mats.


Thanks for the summary, its almost tempting to have a go and its a shame they dont do something like this in the UK!

04-25-2009, 09:36 AM
Good Luck with your monsters Bob :thumbsup: ....they shall be missed here!! :(

04-25-2009, 10:16 AM
Whoops my bad, my bad
www.artomat.org (http://www.artomat.org)

04-25-2009, 10:27 AM
Hi TG. I admire you for venturing out into new areas. I can imagine you were a successful go getter on your job before retirement. I appreciate all the information you have provided.

I would offer the suggestion of painting your blocks with regular acrylic house paint, I see it done in the acrylic forum a lot to prep the wood. I have found the only way to get acrylic to work here in Arizona (dry ) is to run a humidifier while painting. That would also let you use up the old acrylic paints.

Looking forward to your next series, those tractors and equipment would make a good series..................Yes the link is wrong......... Keep having fun............Lenore

04-25-2009, 07:48 PM
Sniff..sniff... I saw the word 'sequel' and thought there were going to be more...:crying:

04-25-2009, 08:55 PM
:clap: :clap: I appreciate the info,just one question? Do the customers get to pick the artist they want or is it random? And as I already mentioned in another thread I really enjoyed your series and I must say I am impressed with your stamina at completing such a big series in a record time! And the info you gave with each piece made a big difference for the appreciation of the work!Again Bravo!

04-25-2009, 11:19 PM
If by customer you mean the person who puts money in the machine to get the art piece, the do pick the artist by reading the placard (posted above). The actual artwork is a surprise to them which is part of the fun. If you meant the machine owning institution, they can ask for certain artists to stock their machine. It's rather a negotiation and depends somewhat on the timing and what Artomat has available.

04-26-2009, 12:46 AM
GREAT idea - very best wishes tgsloth :thumbsup: