Button-O-Matic Artist Series

It all began in 2001 in New York. Busy Beaver’s owner, Christen Carter, was hanging out in NYC with her friend Allen, an avid manhole cover collector who also ran a vending machine route. They had what Christen calls “a peanut butter and chocolate moment” when the two of them realized buttons and vending machines could really work together! Christen designed a series of buttons which Allen then distributed to record stores across NYC.

Christen and her friend and artist, Rosie Sanders decided to set up their own button machine route locally so they could distribute limited edition art buttons. Rosie and Christen spent the summer of 2002 buying and rehabbing old vending machines. Their first curated series included 96 different button designs created by friends, co-workers, and local artists. They named the project “So and So’s Button-O-Matic” as an irreverent nod to the fine art world where gallery owners often named their spaces after themselves. It wasn’t until 2008 that the project was re-branded as the “Busy Beaver Button-O-Matic”.

See all of the past series below featuring nearly 200 artists. Some artists are well-known some aren't as known - all the designs are wonderful!
Button-O-Matic Artist Series

2024: "Favorite Foods"
Curated by Pilot Light

Featured art by Pilot Light Students: Miriam from Chicago, Riley, Francesca, Khloe, Summer, Valori, Sterling, and Claire from San Francisco, and Grace and Krisley from Gurnee

Button-O-Matic Artist Series

2020: “The Time Is Now!”
Curated by Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC)

Designed by Studio Number One (SNO)

Learn more about the 2020 series >

Button-O-Matic Artist Series

2018/2019: “Paws and Pin-Backs”
Curated by One Tail at a Time

Featured art by Jessixa Bagley, Hallie Bateman, Mariel Bayona, Kevin Budnik, Ali Cantarella, Rachal Duggan, Liz Elston, Colleen Hardison, Blake Jones, and Leigh Luna.

Learn more about the 2018/2019 series >

Button-O-Matic Artist Series

2017: “Buttons Over Bullets”
Curated by Everytown for Gun Safety

Features art by Wayne McNeil, Sirron Norris, Vichcraft, Cecile Vidican, Melissa Diperi, Jennifer Kinon, Bobby C. Martin, Tiffany Mallery, Andrea Pippins, Libby VanderPloeg and Ronny Quevedo.

Button-O-Matic Artist Series

2016: “Happy Hour”
curated Clay Hickson of Tan & Loose Press

Featured art by Annu Kilpelainen, Liana Jegers, Nathaniel Russell, Adi Goodrich, Pete Gamlen, Rachel Howe, Brie Moreno, Ryan Duggan, Gabriel Alcala, Ben Marcus and Clay Hickson.

Learn more about the 2016 series >

Button-O-Matic Artist Series

2015: “Bestiary”
Curated by Tony Fitzpatrick

Featured art by Duncan Anderson, Mariano Chavez, Dawn Hancock, Julia Haw, Kelly Houlihan, Jared Joslin, Jessica Joslin, Tyler Krasowski, Damara Kaminecki, Julie Murphy, Nate Otto, and Renee Robbins, in addition to students of Yollocalli Arts Reach.

Button-O-Matic Artist Series

2014: “Smiley Buttons”

Featured art by Tuesday Bassen, Laura Berger, Cortney Cassidy, Anya Davidson, Penelope Gazin, Phil Guy, Tim Lahan, Jay Lynch, Chris Uphues and Carrie Vinarsky.

Button-O-Matic Artist Series

2013: “This Button Is Just an Attempt to Communicate”

Featured art by Milton Glaser, Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum, Ann Friedman and Dylan C. Lathrop, Margot Harrington of Pitch Design Union, Cyrus Highsmith of The Font Bureau, Inc., Marieke McClendon, The Office of Jason James, Plural, Starlee Kine, and Fred Sasaki of The Poetry Foundation.

Learn more about the 2013 series >

Read more about Milton Glaser's button design >

Read more about Ann Friedman and Dylan C. Lathrop's button design >

Read more about Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum's button design >

Button-O-Matic Artist Series

2012: “Printmaking”
Curated by Delicious Design League

Featured art by Anne Benjamin, Aesthetic Apparatus, Burlesque of North America, Doublenaut, Hero Design Studio, James Flames, Kevin Tong, LandLand, Spike Press and Two Arms.

Button-O-Matic Artist Series

2011: “Superhero!”

Featured art by Box Brown, Jeffrey Brown,, Lilli Carré, Abbey Hambright, Denise Gibson, Erik Harms, Travis Lampe, Anders Nilsen, OhNo!Doom, Laura Park, Jay Ryan, Shawnimals, and

Button-O-Matic Artist Series

2010: “Souvenir”
Curated by the Button-O-Matic locations

Featured art by Joe Lauer, Supercorn, Chris Corbalis, Jason Hammel, Edie Fake, Angela Finney-Hoffman, Russell Etchen, Melissa Grubbs, Mei Stewart, Cody Hudson, Brett Manning, Tae Won Yu, and Alicia Hermanny.

Button-O-Matic Artist Series

2009: “Currency”
Curated by Dustin Hostetler

Featured art by Spacesick, Tim Biskup, Damien Correll, Jennifer Daniel, Nicholas Gazin, Ginette Lapalme, Travis Millard, STEAK MTN, Luke Ramsey, and Geoffrey Todd Smith.

Button-O-Matic Artist Series

2008: “Glow”

Featured art by Jay Ryan, Johnny R., Julia Rothman, Derek Erdman, Jacob MacGraw, Alex Jovanovivch, Kenny Hooyman, Quietlife, Sonny, and Little Friends of Printmaking.

Button-O-Matic Artist Series

2007: “Audience Voted”
Curated by the public

Featured art by Byron Flitsch, Maz, Alex Synge, Mike Hensel, Russell Etchen, Disposable Hero, Rich.vom.Dorf, Tiber Scheer, Justin Langlois, Ross Leaver, Lena Tatar, Sam Eames, Mark Mothersbaugh, Róisín, Mel Kadel, Ruggedwoodsman, Pierre Hourquet, Rachel Domm, Veronica Semeco, Jen Frank, stunts, Jorge A Herrera, Sandra Martin, Ryan Gonzales, Michal Zak, and Tom Stack.

Button-O-Matic Artist Series

2006: “Imaginary Friends”
Curated by Emily Counts

Featured art by Melina Ausikitis, Ezra Li Eismont, Andy Moran, Miel Margarita Paredes, Jon Santos, Bwana Spoons, and Jonathan Van Herik.

Button-O-Matic Artist Series

2005: “Summer Love”

Featured art by Deanne Cheuk, John Parot, Maya Hayuk, Michael Schmelling, Royal Art Lodge, Rob Syers, Sayre Gomez, Scott Lenhardt, and Steve Harrington.

Button-O-Matic Artist Series

2004: “Patterns” and “Stinky, Hairy, Scary”

“Patterns” series featuring art by Brandy Agerbeck, Christian Arrecis, Guy Burwell, Milton Carter, Cat Chow, Emily Counts, Krista Babbit, Kelly Mulloy, Anders Nilsen, Kelly Riek, Kim Soss, and Theo Katsaounis.
“Stinky, Hairy, Scary” series curated by Arthur Jones and Christen Carter featuring art by Jad Fair, Katy Fischer, Jeff Kleinsmith, Jesse LeDoux, Kathleen Meaney, Ben Olson, Clare Rojas, David Shrigley, Shawn Smith, and Francine Spiegel.

Button-O-Matic Artist SeriesButton-O-Matic Artist Series

2003: “Song Lyrics” and “Portraits”

“Song Lyrics” series featured art by Alexis Wilson-Castaldi, John Esguerra, Teo Griscom, Cody Hudson, Terence Hannum, Tony Sunby,Tod Trainer, and Norah Utley.
“Portraits” series featured art by Kelly Marie Breslin, Emily Counts, Rob Doran, Arthur Jones, Nathan McKee, R-n-R, Chris Uphues, Jessie Vala, and Chris Ware.

Button-O-Matic Artist Series

2002: “The Beginning”
curated by Christen Carter and Rosie Sanders

Features art by Jessica Abel, Kim Ambriz, Krista Babbitt, Emily Counts, Fay Davis-Jeffers, Jaie Devore, Rob Doran, Butchy Fuego, Teo Griscom, Keith G. Herzik, Arthur Jones, Paul Koob, Andy Moran, Marko Neely, Ariane Nelson, Matthew McClintock, Hilary Olson, Archer Prewitt, Kim Soss, and Jessie Vala..