ELMA, NC -- The shocking image bouncing around the Internet of what looks like a bulk vending machine fashioned from a shrunken head is actually art. It is the work of artist Thomas Kuebler, who calls it the "Geinball Machine" -- named after the 1950s Wisconsin serial killer.
"I consider myself a kind of storyteller. I create something or someone and let the viewer imagine the story behind it," Kuebler told VT. "It's usually an interesting, rather macabre, juicy tale. I love P.T. Barnum for that reason. He could take some guy from Brooklyn, NY, with an odd-shaped head and turn him into the last of the ape-men from Borneo. It was all about the story. That is what really engages people. It wasn't that his head was weirdly shaped; they wanted to believe he was the last ape-man. The viewers got a chance to exercise their imaginations."
Part of a limited-edition series, the Geinball Machine is really a resin sculpture. While each one in the series differs slightly in accessories and other details, it is a fully functioning gumball machine.
"A piece like this would have a hell of a back story, don't you think? A mummified head? An old glass Jar? Old rusty license plate? What the @$%&^!," Kuebler exclaimed. "That's the makings of a real bizarre conversation. And, that is what makes it fun for me. I'm really not out to shock anyone. I just believe we all have a certain degree of morbid curiosity and it needs a place to play. You get to write the story behind a piece like this."