The Button-O-Matic provides a fun and easy way to distribute buttons. 1-inch buttons are placed in plastic capsules and dispensed via a coin-operated, gumball-style vending machine. You can purchase or rent a Button-O-Matic and fill it with our current curated artist series or with button designs of your own. To purchase or rent a machine, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Busy Beaver began its Button-O-Matic artists series in 2002 as a means to expand the community of button lovers and to promote independent artists and designers. With playful themes and surprise guest artists, each new series is truly anticipated by button collectors and independent arts aficionados alike. Featured artists have included Milton Glaser, Chris Ware, Mark Mothersbaugh, Julia Rothman, David Shrigley and more. For more information on past series, check out A Brief History of the Button-O-Matic.
Smileys are among the most iconic images in the century-long history of the pin-back button. While they originally encouraged the viewer to "have a nice day," the smiley was quickly co-opted to convey all sorts of sentiments, and sell all kinds of products. The 1960s and 70s saw the production of millions of smiley buttons, and the psychedelic smiley became an icon of the counter-culture movement, as well as hippie nostalgia of the 1990s. These days, smileys are ubiquitous in digital culture as emoticons and emojis.
For the 2014 Button-O-Matic artist series, Busy Beaver asked artists to re-imagine the smiley button once again. Over the past five decades, this design has been contemporary and nostalgic, trippy and conservative, simple and complex and this year's series continues in the eclectic tradition.
The series officially launches on October 3 and features artwork by Tuesday Bassen, Laura Berger, Cortney Cassidy, Anya Davidson, Penelope Gazin, Phil Guy, Tim Lahan, Jay Lynch, Chris Uphues and Carrie Vinarsky. The buttons will be available for just 50¢ each via 15 Button-O-Matic vending machines across Chicago.
Find a Button-O-Matic near you and join in the button fun!
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