The inspiration for Art-o-mat came to artist Clark Whittington while observing a friend who had a Pavlovian reaction to the crinkle of cellophane. When Whittington's friend heard someone opening a snack, he had the uncontrollable urge to have one too.
After moving to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Whittington was set to have a solo art show at a local cafe, Penny Universitie (now Mary's Of Course Cafe). This is when Whittington used a recently banned cigarette machine to create the first Artomat. The show opened in June 1997 and the original machine was installed along with 12 of his assemblage paintings. The machine sold Whittington's black & white photographs for $1.00 each.
This art show was scheduled to be dismantled in July 1997; however, Cynthia Giles (owner of the Penny Universitie) loved the machine and asked that it stay permanently. Clark felt that the machine would create a conflict in the space unless it was open to artists in the community. Giles then introduced Whittington to a handful of other local artists and Artists in Cellophane was formed. Today, there are 90 machines around the world and over 400 artists involved. Six of the machines are featured at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
- Freund, Charles Paul (June 2003). "The pull of culture - Artifact - Clark Whittington's Artomat - Brief Article". Reason. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- "Art-O-Mat Aims For Collectors". CBS News. February 25, 2003. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
- "INSERT MONEY, RETRIEVE ART, ART-O-MAT MACHINES OFFER MINIATURE PAINTINGS, SCULPTURE". Charlotte Observer. March 5, 2003. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- Clark, Kathy (March 2, 2006). "DISPENSABLE ART". Greensboro News and Record. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- Flannigan, Kathy (October 23, 2003). "Artists offer eye candy at low cost". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- Miller, Nicole M. (June 14, 2001). "Warning: Contents May Be Habit Forming". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- Roberts, Frank (July 20, 2008). "This vending machine artwork is really smokin'". Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- Elder, Robert K. (2003-03-05). "It's Art! ; It's Cheap! It's . . .; At five bucks a pop, anyone can be a patron of the arts". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/dec/16/cosmos-art-o-mat-machines-offer-5-works-art/. Missing or empty