Taking artsy to a whole new level

The receipt room at Artomatic in Virginia. Photo by Emily Kahn.

While walking up to this 11-story office building, nothing seems out of the ordinary.  The smell of food, the sight of bright colors and the sound of live music hit visitors all at once as they enter the building.

Artomatic, an art festival in Crystal City, Va., features all sorts of creative, out-of-the-box art.  From photography and painting to sculpture and other 3D art, Artomatic has it all.

This month-l0ng festival, which ended in late June, showcased the work of more than 1,000 artists, including musicians, actors and dancers who performed live. The Improv Imps attracted a crowd during their hourlong performance. They performed several short improv exercises, including one humorous bit where two actors acted out one actor’s future and another had to guess what the future was.

Artomatic features more than just traditional forms of art. One artist put a receipt machine in a room. The machine only had one button. Visitors pressed the button and a receipt with a random saying came out. A wall filling an entire room was filled with these receipts.

Another interesting take on art was from Jaryl Campos‘ iPhone photography.  “You don’t need a pro camera to take pictures,” Campos said in an interview. “The iPhone is right there.”

His exhibit was of pictures taken on the iPhone, and he described himself and his partner Melody as Instagram addicts.

In addition to the outstanding art, the restaurant, Busboys and Poets, catered the event with drinks and snacks. They offered several types of alcohol as well as lemonade and water. The pop-up cafe sold some vegan fare along with non-vegan fare, making for the best of both worlds.

Several artists were walking around the festival talking about their art and assisting visitors. Others were making art live next to their exhibit, such as painting the area around the display.  One woman was in the middle of finishing her huge wall mural.

Alex Brun, a student at the Discover the World of Communication at American University, said he was on the lookout for all types of art.

“This is the first place graffiti is expected,” he said.

Added Jeff Della Serra, DWC’s assistant director: “It would be hard to find somebody who wouldn’t appreciate something.”