Artiphix: An Ever-Present Art Gallery 

Art has hit the streets in Artiphix, an initiative spearheaded by Alex Schultz who also serves as president of the arts advocacy organization Sculpture Valley. 

Artiphix gives art lovers the opportunity to purchase original, locally-made art from a vintage 1970s-era cigarette machine. Schultz bought the machine during an auction at Shenanigans in Sherwood after it went out of business. The idea to repurpose it as a vending mechanism for art was inspired by a similar machine at a gallery in Hilbert. 

To play off the machine’s history, all art is dispensed inside unbranded cigarette boxes. Schultz says the project’s name is a play on getting an “art fix.” 

The machine will vend the work of 10 different artists, one per slot. Each slot holds 50 pieces. Eventually Schultz plans to add a mystery slot where buyers will be surprised by the artist and the box’s contents. 

“The biggest thing is that these are one-off, unique pieces the artist spent time doing,” Schultz says. “They aren’t reproductions or prints. You are getting a piece of actual art.”

All art pieces sell for $20, with a portion of proceeds benefiting Sculpture Valley. Art buyers swipe their credit or debit card like they would at any electronic pay station. Once approved, they can make their selection and pull the corresponding knob to dispense their treasure.

The types of art for sale include everything from paintings to sculpture to ceramics. Artist Rob Neilson produced a series of nine 4-inch sculptures based on his large scale work. Mud & Prints owner Linda Schrage created essential oil ceramic medallions. Other participating artists include Tony Conrad, Cori Bartz and Leif Larson, among others. 

The machine will change locations, but was first launched at McFleshman’s Brewing Co. during Mile of Music in August. It is currently located at Foxley’s Gallery on College Avenue with plans to move it to a central location for Octoberfest on September 28 and 29.

The affordability and availability of the original works being sold are a major win for consumers, Schultz says. 

“Lots of people can’t afford a $3,000 Tony Conrad piece, but they can afford a $20 Tony Conrad piece. That’s what excites me,” Schultz says. “People get to have an original piece of authentic artwork for $20.” 

Stay updated on the machine’s location by visiting Artiphix on Facebook. 

Arts & Culture

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