Presenting a complimentary exhibit to our student art exhibitions through March 31st: Callithump! is an art vending machine project by Jess and Matt LeClair of Bangor. Since 2006 Callithump! vending machines have distributed thousands of creative works by dozens of creators in locations in Maine and New Hampshire. Their latest releases are The Protos and Art This, both available now at the Harlow Gallery.
Callithump! is an art vending machine project started by Jess and Matt LeClair in 2006. Their mission is to explore new ways for artists and audiences to connect by breaking down the barriers of the art gallery. Typically, in an art gallery art is passively experienced as something viewed from a respectable distance as it hangs on a gallery wall. By putting art in a toy capsule vending machine it becomes something that can be touched, owned, shared, and played with. Toy vending machines are an immediately approachable medium. They tap into childhood desires, creating an almost visceral response that has one fishing around for quarters without even thinking about it. The name Callithump! (which should always be in italics with an exclamation point, even when said out loud) comes from ancient word for a parade that anyone could join in, which perfectly encapsulates what Jess and Matt feel the creative experience should be. For more information visit callithump.org.
Art This – 50 cents each
Art This is an invitation. Intended for those times when you’re feeling creatively stuck, each capsule contains an object and a phrase. These are your creative prompts. Will you react in a classical manner, using the object as the subject of a still life drawing or painting? Maybe mixed media is more to your liking and you’ll incorporate the object into a larger piece. Perhaps you’ll write a poem about it. Or maybe the object is already art, a Duchampian readymade, only needing to be put on display. It’s your choice. Sales limited to ages 12 and up; these are works of art which may contain small parts and are not intended for small children.
The Protos – 50 cents each
Meet the Protos! Created in a laboratory to be perfect life forms, they were discarded when they failed to meet expectations. Now these flawed creations of an incompetent creator wander the Earth, looking for love, acceptance, a safe place to call home…The LeClairs created the Protos in contrast to the toys one finds in commercial vending machines: designed in the US, produced in sweat shops in China, technically perfect but completely disposable and utterly soulless. We intentionally started with little to no skill or prior knowledge of sculpting or casting. Our lack of ability is obvious, but the flaws bring a humanity, humor and uniqueness to the figures that is completely lacking in commercial products. As this project continues, the Protos will evolve, becoming more perfect but less human in the process, while the original Protos will discover their true strengths. Conflict is inevitable! Sales limited to ages 12 and up; cute as they are, these tiny works of art are not intended for small children.