Bernson's Corner: Vend-a-Pin - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bernson's Corner: Vend -a-Pin


The highest price ever paid for a painting is $140 million for painting "Number Five" by Jackson Pollock.

However, in the Highland's neighborhood of Louisville you have the chance to start small.

David Buschermohle asked himself this question:  Why wear a mass-market Pegasus pin when you can decorate yourself with an artwork? 

"I've been doing the buttons for about five years now.  And I've always wanted to figure out a way to get art out to people," he said. 

At that point is when Buschermohle's one-man custom badge and magnet business, Royal Buttons, became an art dealer.  First, local artists provide colorful circular designs which Buschermohle prints out and turns into one-inch buttons.  The interesting part is they go into retrofitted gumball machines called "Vend-a-Pin" dispensers.  The public can find these machines in various locations around Louisville.  Fifty cents gets you one of twelve different pins.

Buschermohle finds it to be interesting because the artists have loved being able to see their art in locations that they wouldn't normally expect to see it.

Store owner Paul LePree thinks Vend-a-Pin is a brilliant addition to his shop that's already filled with cutting-edge kinds of products.

"I mean, I don't think there's anything else like it around the country. On occasion, a mini-van will pull up in front of the store, a couple of kids will get out with a handful of change, hit the Vend-a-Pin machine, get their buttons and then jump back in the van and take off down the street," said LePree. 

Buschermohle says his Vend-a-Pin dispensers are catching on with retailers. 

"I've got nine businesses, and I've got probably eight or ten more that have talked about wanting a machine in their shop.  So I've actually got to go and get more machines now," he said.  

Local artists like Justin Kamerer and Jeral Tidwell find it interesting. 

"It sort of challenges them, I think, in some ways, to look at their work in a new way, and approach it from the aspect that it's a one-inch wearable art that someone out in the street can walk around wearing their artwork," says Buschermohle. 

If you can't shell out a million dollars for a Picasso you can always start with art that is more affordable and definitely more portable.

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