The release of Busy Beaver’s 2014 Button-O-Matic Artist Series has us grinning from ear to ear, because this year’s designs celebrates one of the most iconic buttons ever created: the smiley!
The smiley button has existed for over 50 years and been used to convey feel-good messages like “Have a nice day,” hippie psychedelia, all the way to Nirvana’s dead-eyed smiley logo. To continue this tradition of smiley reinvention, we invited ten designers and artists to update and add their spin to this iconic design. The results are a mix of smileys that range from cute to creepy, nostalgic to contemporary.
2014 Button-O-Matic artists include Tuesday Bassen, Laura Berger, Cortney Cassidy, Anya Davidson, Penelope Gazin, Phil Guy, Tim Lahan, Jay Lynch, Chris Uphues and Carrie Vinarsky.
Button-O-Matics are gumball-style vending machines that dispense 1-inch buttons at shops, venues, and cultural institutions across the country. The Artist Series began in 2002 to champion buttons as tiny works of art and create a dialogue between fine are and everyday objects. See this post about the history of Button-O-Matic series, and some of the amazing artists we’ve had a chance to work with.
Today, with 15 Artist Series machine locations (and growing!), the project “spreads button love” to over 10,000 people each year.
We’ll be running features on each of this year’s Button-O-Matic artists and their smiley designs over the next few weeks, and in the meantime, make plans to join us at the Button-O-Matic Smiley Buttons Release Party in Chicago on October 3rd!