Author: johntunger

At Downriggers in Friday Harbor, WA, a Compass 37 inch Sculptural Firebowl plays a central role as a gathering place on the harbor front patio. Diners can watch boats come and go while enjoying regional Pacific NW American cuisine, innovative cocktails and gorgeous views. When I...

  Ingrid at Georgetown Brewing Company, in Seattle, WA sent me these great photos of one of my Big Bowl O’ Zen Sculptural Firebowls installed at their recently expanded tasting room. The tasting room features exposed steel and concrete, a bar-top fabricated with salvaged wood from...

Marble Mosaic of Table 33 of Eustachi’s Tabulae Anatomicae, 2019 Marble, Travertine, Onyx, Limestone, Rose Quartz, Star Ruby, Black Garnet, Gatorfoam substrate, Steel frame. 86.25" High x 50.25" Wide x 2" Deep This mosaic is part of a larger project I am building. Details of the full project...

Marble Mosaic of Table 38 of Eustachi’s Tabulae Anatomicae, 2019 Marble, Travertine, Onyx, Limestone, Rose Quartz, Star Ruby, Black Garnet, Gatorfoam substrate, Steel frame. 86.25" High x 50.25" Wide x 2" Deep This mosaic is part of a larger project I am building. Details of the full project...

[caption id="attachment_18688" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Photo by Janet Loughrey for Small Gardens Magazine[/caption] When Jeff Fisher ordered a Great Bowl O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl for his 60th birthday, I was happy to help him celebrate a milestone. I always like it when a firebowl has special meaning...

Jessica Leigh Hester wrote a fantastic piece about the Anatomy Set in Stone project for Atlas Obscura. This may be the best article written about it yet 2019 Hester, Jessica Leigh. “Turning Anatomical Drawings Into Mosaics, Stone by Stone.” Atlas Obscura, 8 Jan. 2019.   ...

  Dorn, Lori. “Life Sized Mosaic Recreations of 16th Century Anatomical Engravings by Bartolomeo Eustachi.” Laughing Squid, 8 Jan. 2019....

  2018 Kottke, Jason. “Life-Size Stone Mosaics Based on 16th-Century Anatomical Drawings.” Kottke.org, 18 Dec. 2018....

Doctorow, Cory. “Kickstarting Mosaics Made from Precious Stones and Marble That Replicate 16th-Century Anatomical Drawings.” Boing Boing, 17 Dec. 2018....

Smithsonian Magazine wrote an excellent, in depth article about my Anatomy Mosaics! You can read it here (and see giant images of all of the finished mosaics). Michelle Z. Donahue, the writer, did a great job of explaining the project and putting it in historical...

Using marble, stone and precious gems I am creating a series of 12 mosaics that replicate Bartolomeo Eustachi’s 16th Century anatomical engravings. As each mosaic is finished, it is added to the bottom of this page. Scroll down to see large photos of the finished...

Marble Mosaic of Table 21 of Eustachi’s Tabulae anatomicae, 2018 Marble, Travertine, Limestone, Blue Quartz, Rose Quartz, Star Ruby, Gatorfoam substrate, Steel frame. 86.25" High x 50.25" Wide x 2" Deep This mosaic is part of a larger project I am building. Details of the full project can...

Marble Mosaic of Table 23 of Eustachi’s Tabulae anatomicae, 2018 Marble, Travertine, Limestone, Gatorfoam substrate, Steel frame. 86.25" High x 50.25" Wide x 2" Deep This mosaic is part of a larger project I am building. Details of the full project can be found here: Anatomy Set in...

Marble Mosaic of Table 28 of Eustachi’s Tabulae anatomicae, 2018 Marble, Travertine, Limestone, Star Sapphire, Gatorfoam substrate, Steel frame. 86.25" High x 50.25" Wide x 2" Deep This mosaic is part of a larger project I am building. Details of the full project can be found here: Anatomy...

Marble Mosaic of Table 30 of Eustachi’s Tabulae anatomicae, 2017 Marble, Travertine, Limestone, Star Sapphire, Hardiebacker substrate, Steel frame. 86.25" High x 50.25" Wide x 2" Deep This mosaic is part of a larger project I am building. Details of the full project can be found here: Anatomy...

Marble Mosaic of Table 31 of Eustachi’s Tabulae anatomicae, 2017 Marble, Travertine, Limestone, Hardiebacker substrate, Steel frame. 86.25" High x 50.25" Wide x 2" Deep This mosaic is part of a larger project I am building. Details of the full project can be found here: Anatomy Set in...

Magen David mosaic for The New Reform Congregation Kadima, 2018 Sicis and vitreous glass tile, copper, GatorFoam and plywood substrate. 12″ H x 12″ W x 1.5″ D  This small mosaic will be used to create a sacred space when the Congregation Kadima is meets in spaces other...

  It's not revolutionary to tell you that if you have a big project in mind, you can save a lot of time and frustration by doing as much advance planning as possible. You'll still need to amend, revise, improvise and adapt as you go but...

  Loughrey, Janet. “Bright Magic.” Small Gardens, 2018, pp. 1, 18–25....

My Firefly Sculptural Firebowl™ is photographed and mention in this article about the renovation of a historic home in Greenville, South Carolina. Burnette, Stephanie. “Past Lives.” Greenville Journal, 20 Sept. 2017. ...

La Siren III, 2017 Vitreous glass, bottle caps, stone, copper, 15.65 carat emerald, glass eyes, plywood and Hardiebacker substrate 60″ H x 36″ W x 1.5″ D Commissioned by the American Museum of Natural History La Siren III was commissioned by the American Museum of Natural History for the...

    I'm so pleased to have my 2004 mosaic, La Siren II, featured in this beautiful book from the American Museum of Natural History! The museum also commissioned me to build a recreation of La Siren to accompany the traveling exhibit now on tour. This is a...

  A visit to the scrap yard inspired sculptor John Unger to create his iconic firebowls. "I saw them cutting a propane tank," he recalls, "they cut the end off and I saw this perfect bowl and immediately thought of cutting flames into it." That was...

  My mosaic of the Vévé for Erzuli was used for the cover design of Envisioning Black Feminist Voodoo Aesthetics by Kameelah L. Martin. Martin, Kameelah L. Envisioning Black Feminist Voodoo Aesthetics: African Spirituality in American Cinema. N.p.: Lexington, 2016. Print. ...

To celebrate eleven years of making Sculptural Firebowls™, I am introducing a new line of Exclusive Originals, custom fire features that are true one-of-a-kind works of art. My Classic Sculptural Firebowls are signed and numbered in an open edition. As the artist, I draw and cut...

Brian Clark and I became friends shortly after he first launched Copyblogger as a one-person blog in 2006. Both of us were very early adapters to marketing online and we were all learning from each other as we tried new ideas. We got to meet...

This lantern has such expressive character! The ears and nose are made from the handles used to lift heavy propane tanks by crane or chain hoist. The eyes, of course, are gears with a bit of the original red paint left on....

This lantern is a commissioned portrait of Fudo Myoo (also known as Acala). Fudo is one of the Five Bright Kings, powerful deities in Japanese Buddhism and folk religion....

This lantern is a reworking of an African mask design I previously used in my Face of Spades series. This lantern can be used on a table or pedestal and includes a battery powered LED light....

This lantern is a reworking of an African mask design I previously used in my Face of Spades series. Although the face is inspired by an African piece, the ears were inspired by the oversize earlobes commonly seen on sculptures of the Buddha....

This lantern is a reworking of a Chinese mask design I previously used in my Face of Spades series. The crown is made from a transmission housing. This lantern can be used on a table or pedestal and includes a battery powered LED light....

Ganesha is one of the best-known and most widely worshiped deities in the Hindu pantheon. Ganesha is widely revered as the Remover of Obstacles and as the Lord of Beginnings. ...

For most of us, gathering around the fire is a seasonal activity. In summer and fall a fire is a favorite way to spend an afternoon or evening. In spring, if it’s not too muddy or wet, gathering around the fire is a pleasant return...

  Larson, Jamie. “Hudson Sculptor John T. Unger Creates Great Bowls Of Fire.” Rural Intelligence, 14 Dec. 2015....

    As the whole Five-0 team gathers at Rumfire towards the episodes end, you can see one of the Great Bowls O' Fire in the background of several shots. “Ka Papahana Holo Pono.” Hawaii Five-0, season 6, episode 4, CBS, 16 Oct. 2015....

These three panels are each 50 x 50 inches and are installed on the wall of a roof-top garden in Pompano Beach, FL. The client had seen several of my other scrap fence designs and wanted something similar for her space. This was the first...

Discovery Playhouse commissioned this fence for their Children's Museum in Cape Girardeau, MO. The faces in the fence are glass mosaic, which were complete as a project with a local arts group....

Bittersweet Vine Steel and Copper Trellis, 2004 Steel, Copper 36" x 20" x 1" Private Collection This trellis was just an improvisation on a vine motif, but the peened copper berries remind me of Celastrus scandens, commonly called American bittersweet. Wild bittersweet was common where I grew up and...

Abstract Art Nouveau Garden Screen, 2004 Steel, copper 68.5" x 38.5" x 3" Private Collection Every now and then a piece surprises you, and that can be the best feeling in the world. This garden screen is one of those...

MacIntosh Gate, 2004 Steel 48" x 36" x 2" Private Collection This is one of my all-time favorite improvisational fences. I found the antique gridwork in a local scrap yard and knew immediately what I wanted to do with it. Inspired by the designs of Charles Rennie MacIntosh, the...

De Wal, Aletta, M.Ed. My Real Job Is Being an Artist: How to Produce a Body of Signature Art and Build the Foundation of an Art Business. Los Altos, CA: Artist Career Training, 2015. Print....

The Compass Rose features four layers of relief sculpture— The bowl itself, two layers of cut steel star designs, and hand made "clavos" (decorative bolts). The compass letters are cut out of the bowl so ire can show through them and so they will also...

Old Glory made the front page of the Columbia Paper and gets a nice boxed feature on page 16. Mayer, Debby. "Take 20,000 Bottle Caps…." Columbia Paper 27 Aug. 2015, Vol 07, No. 34 ed.: 1+. Print....

Blauweiss, Stephen. “ArtScene TV Episode 9.” Chronogram Magazine, 1 Sept. 2015. Blauweiss, Stephen. “ArtScene TV Episode 9.” Upstater, 2 Sept. 2015....

Offrenda for Those Who Died on the Road, 1997 Mixed Media Installation 84" x 64" x 31" Dismantled This altar was assembled for a Dia de los Muertes show at Jaqueline Ross Gallery. The central image above the table is wood, with slate carved into the shape of headstone;...

Carnaval, 1999 Wood, Steel, Stone & Mixed 25" x 18" x 4.75" Private Collection The central figures in Carnaval are Butoh dancers, while behind them mask makers in Rio de Janeiro show their wares. In the far background, a steel mill. The petrified hearts encased in steel mesh are...

Transmigration, 1995 Wood, Steel, bone & Mixed 17" x 16.5" x 3.75" Private Collection Transmigration was the one of the first of the 2-D Nkisi & is still probably my favorite. The central figure is a Butoh dancer. The eye or sun above her is a close-up of a...

Bound Nkondi, 1997 Wood, Steel, Paper, Glass & Mixed 19.5" x 14.5" x 3" Private Collection In addition to nails, Nkisi often have knotted rope, string or chains to bind or guide the spirits within. So this photo of a heavily tied statue on a loading dock was a...

Prayer for the safe return of conscripts, 1999 Wood, Steel, Mirror & Mixed 19.5" x 41" x 5.5" Private Collection The photo at the heart of this piece depicts chained men conscripted into military service. Various offerings are laid out to assist them in returning home. The small bone...

Rootworker, 1997 Wood, Paint, Pastel & Mixed 9.5" x 20.75" x 4" Collection: The Artist The portrait was done in chalk, conté & acrylic worked over a xerox of a photo taken by Sergei Eisentstein in Mexico. Nails adorn the figure as in an minkisi sculpture. The tarred knife...

Medicine Nkondi, 1997 Wood, Steel, Glass & Mixed 12.75" x 8.5" x 4.5" Private Collection It's difficult to see in the photo, but the figure in this piece is a transparency mounted below glass. The face is a shell cabochon I carved attached above the surface of the glass....

Underground, 1999 Wood, Steel, Stone & Mixed 27.5" x 17.5" x 6" Available The face in the top half is carved from roofing slate. The metal to the left is the running board of an ambulance found in Ypsilanti, MI. Mojo jars hang as medicines, covered in cloth bags...

Hunter Nkondi, 1997 Wood, Steel, Bone & Mixed 56" x 25.5" x 6.5" Available The image is carved out of the paint— I painted the whole sheet of steel, and then scratched away the paint to reveal the figure. What doesn't come through well in the photo is the...

Nkisi Corazon, 2000 Wood, Steel, Wax, Thorns & Mixed 47" x 30" x 30" Destroyed This piece was part of a assemblage/mixed media mural project, approximately 50' x 20' that I worked on with Juan Angel Chavez & Chris Silva....

Straightjacket, 2001 Wood, Steel, Bottle caps & Mixed 110" x 32" x 12" Private Collection Part of a series of large junk sculptures that I planned to guerrilla install in Chicago. The torso of this figure was a coin drawer. The head is a washboard and a cigar box....

Bride of Daly Plaza, 2001 Wood, Steel, Twine, Glass & Mixed 64" x 40" x 30" Private Collection Part of a series of large junk sculptures that I planned to guerrilla install in Chicago. The bride's breasts came from an hourglass shaped lamp discovered in an Indiana junkyard. the...

Sentry, 2001 Wood, Iron, & Mixed 128" x 32" x 8" Private Collection Part of a series of large junk sculptures that I planned to guerrilla install in Chicago. This piece shows an increasing interest in abstract line work. The charred rifle was the victim of an arsonist who...

Emptiness, 2001 Wood, Steel, Glass, & Mixed 64" x 40" x 30" Private Collection Part of a series of large junk sculptures that I planned to guerrilla install in Chicago. The blank stare of the mirror in Emptiness is a reminder that we all see ourselves in everything upon...

Spill My Guts, 2001 cardboard, wood, glass & Mixed 85" x 27" x 30" Destroyed...

Zozo Throne, 2000 Wood, clay, Bone & Mixed 47" x 30" x 30" Collection: The Artist This piece was made for 3 1/2 Months of Sundays at the Whale, a show of work by The Ever So Secret Order of the Lamprey at the Hyde Park Art Center, Hyde Park,...

    Nkisi Torso, 2001 Cardboard, Nails, tape & Mixed 41" x 27" x 12" Private Collection My original plan was to cast the torso in concrete and dye it with feric acid to resemble a solid cast iron nkisi. The patina on the cardboard was so nice though that I...

Crocodile Mask, 1999 Wood & Mixed 46.5" x 12.25" x 9.5" Collection: The Artist This is one of my favorite found object pieces. The face and jaws are all made from a cut and resassembled cigar rolling tray. The vertical planes of the face are the tops of salvaged...

  Fire Eating Bird's Head 16.25" x 16.75" x 4.75" 1998 Wood, Steel & Mixed This was originally intended to be part of a larger piece based on Senufo bird sculptures. I liked it so much as an abstract form that I decided to let it stand alone, as...

Bizango Altar, 2000 Wood, Steel, Bone, Wax & Mixed Private Collection...

Rooster Box, 2000 Wood, Steel, Egg & Mixed 26.75" x 18" x 7.5" Private Collection This was one of my earliest pieces. Obsessed by Minkisi sculptures, I wanted to make my own. Rather than imitating them precisely, I experimented with different formats, such as 2D nkisi or, in this...

Dark Angel of Hearts, 1998 Wood, Steel 25" x 12" x 4" Private Collection The tower is a weathered bed post. The figure is carved from scorched wood, with cut steel wings and a pulley for the head and neck. The box holds a heart shaped wind chime with...

Cock Shrine, 1999 Wood, Steel, Glass & Mixed 35" x 39" x 9" Collection: Marilyn Houlberg My favorite element in this altar is an antique jar of farm medicine labeled "Pik'r." It claims to be a "distasteful blood-like preparation to aid in discouraging cannibalism in poultry." Other elements include...

Ghost Hotel, 1997 Painted Wood, Glass, Steel & Mixed 18.5" x 21" x 4.25" Private Collection A landscape of sorts with two towers and a bridge, populated by small odds & ends which suggest ghosty characters....

A Heart for Little Root, 1999 Wood, Tin, Stone & Mixed 18.5" x 11.75" x 8" Private Collection This was a Valentine's Day gift made from a box, pressed tin ceiling, a root and a petrified heart stone from Pittsburgh, PA....

Heartbreak Hotel, 1998 Wood, Stones, Steel & Mixed 12" x 5" x 4" Location Unknown Six snared hearts occupy a yellow hotel. The petrified hearts are stones found in a highway median in Pittsburgh. The nails and mesh reference minkisi figures....

Crib Death, 2001 Wood, Steel, Bone & Mixed 30" x 7" x 5" Available The torso is from an old player piano mechanism. The head is an air filter, probably from a lawnmower. The legs were the uprights of a set of andirons. The arms are jawbones from a...

Spicy, 1998 Wood, Peppers, Copper & Mixed 22" x 7" x 4.5" Collection: The Lamprey Archives This was a piece made for The Ever So Secret Order of the Lamprey, based on the word “Spicy.” The Ever So Secret Order of the Lamprey was a group of Chicago artists and...

At Peace With His Prayer, 1999 Wood, Steel, Bone & Mixed 14" x 3.5" x 3.5" Collection: The Artist The body and head of this sculpture are made from the found object of a couch leg— the fabric was used as found. The base is a steel wheel. The...

Bochio, 2000 Bone, Steel, Mirror & Mixed 10.5" x 3.25" x 3.25" Collection: The Artist...

  Hermaphroditic Knife Bochio, 1997 Wood, Steel, Beads & Mixed 14.5" x 3.25" x 3.25" Collection: The Artist This figure is based on Fon Bochio sculptures. An emphasis on knotting and tying is characteristic of Bochio sculptures and suggests strength. Force and resistance are also characteristic. The figure was carved...

  Statuette for Legba, 1996 Wood, Steel & Mixed 13.75" x 4" x 3.25" Collection: The Artist The body of this figure was found washed up on Orcas Island, north of Seattle. The colors are Legba's colors, and he can also be identified by the walking stick and the hook...

He Eats Bad Dreams, 1997 Wood, Steel & Mixed 14.5" x 11.5" x 3" Private Collection The body of this figure is made from a weathered post from a bed frame. His arms are bones. His chest is open so that he can take bad dreams directly into his...

Ghede Libation Bottle, 1997 Ceramic, Leather, Beads & Mixed 12" x 8" x 8" Collection: Marilyn Houlberg This was the first piece of art I ever sold. This libation bottle was used by by Haitian houngan, Saveur St. Cyr during ritual trance while visiting Chicago. He chose it from...

Bizango Bottle, 1998 Glass, Clay, Bone & Mixed 13" x 4" x 5" Available An early interpretation of Haitian libation bottles. The bottle is wrapped in paper covered with gris gris dirt. The spiked steel panel is part of an old steamer trunk. Clay studs ring the top of...

Victory, 1998 Bottle, Napalm, Paper & Mixed 16" x 3" x 3" Collection: Lamprey Archives The heart and skull are cut from the Mexican Loteria deck. The bottle is wrapped in paper, steel mesh and twine. A diamond of mirror is held by the twine. The bottle is filled...

Construction, 1998 Wood, Iron & Mixed 10" x 3.5" x 3" Available This piece pays homage to Russian Constructivism in it's use of abstract forms and machine parts. the figure suggests a worker about to spring into action. The steel making up the head and torso is a doorknob...

Cat figure, 1995 Wood, Steel, Bone & Mixed 25.25" x 4" x 5.75" Available...

Root Doll No. 3, 1999 Wood, Bone & Mixed 12" x 6" x 6" Private Collection The Root Doll series was inspired by New Orleans hoodoo dolls....

Root doll, 1997 Wood, Twine, Steel & Mixed 12" x 10" x 3" Private Collection The Root Doll series was inspired by New Orleans hoodoo dolls. This was the first one, which I put together in a friend's back yard, while traveling....

  Snakedance on Two feet, 1997 Wood, Bone, Steel 36" x 21.75" x 11.75" Private Collection I found this root somewhere on the California coast while on a long road trip. The iron bands were salvaged from the strapping on a steamer trunk. The tail is steel rod....

Iron Fetish No. 4, 1997 Steel, Bone, Wood & Mixed 7" x 3.25" x 3" Private Collection The body of the figure is an old glass cutter, rusted almost beyond recognition. The notches used for snapping glass give the figure a nice profile....

Grave guardian, 1997 Wood, Bone, Steel & Mixed 8" x 5" x 4.5" Private Collection A carved figure in cedar wearing a steel mask with horns guards an open crypt....

Born Under the Thirteenth Sign, 1999 Wood, Steel, Paint 56.5" x 46" x 2" 1999 Available A pregnant beast squats to give birth. Acrylic paint and oil stick on reclaimed steel. The steel panel on which this piece is painted was signage salvaged from Maxwell Street in Chicago, where...

Calavera, 1999 Wood, Steel, Paint 56.5" x 46" x 2" Available Acrylic paint and oil stick on reclaimed steel. The steel panel on which this piece is painted was signage salvaged from Maxwell Street in Chicago, where B. B. King played the first electric blues....

Reliquary, 1999 Wood, Wax, Bone & Mixed 19.5" x 36" x 3.5" Private Collection reliquary was a study for a series in which I intended to cast various objects into large slabs of wax to be suspended from chains as space dividers, or screens. The charred board that makes...

Two Eyed Jack of Bones, 1997 Wood, Steel, Bone & Mixed 17" x 10.5" x 1.75" Available The jawbones reference Samson, hunting and strength. Rulers, of course, measure. The spears are juxtaposed against the sharp steel painted with danger stripes. The figures in the collage appear in color and...

Crossed, 1999 Wood, Photograph, Paper & Mixed 21" x 18.25" x 3.5" Available Crossed draws from various Hoodoo folk magics. The pods at the top are locust beans, alluding to biblical plagues. The poster that forms the top element of the collage was used as found. the hanging phrase...

Papa Ghede Bell garçon, 2000 Wood, Steel, Paint & Mixed 18" x 32" x 2.25" Available The song that gives this piece it's name translates: Papa Ghede, he's a pretty good guy Papa Ghede, he's a pretty good guy He's dressed all in black Because he's going to the palace The song tells the...

Jubilee Crucifix, 1998 Wood, Steel & Mixed 27.25" x 26" x 4.5" Available The wooden panel is a section of a door, burned and touch with gold spray paint. The body of the crucifix is carved and blackened wood. Found scrap steel completes the torso. The wings are from...

Medicine Tree, 1999 Wood, Glass, Cloth, clay & Mixed 12.5" x 17" x 14" Private Collection Essentially an abstract, Medicine Tree pays visual and metaphoric homage to Kongo and Hoodoo traditions. The medicine jars are covered in cloth bags treated with red clay. The eye on the larger bottle...

All Guitars Go To Heaven, 1997 Wood, Steel & Mixed 64" x 34" x 6" Private Collection This piece began as as part of an assemblage/mixed media mural project, approximately 50' x 20' that I worked on with Juan Angel Chavez & Chris Silva. It was never finished and...

Snakes Came In & Out, 1997 Wood, Steel & Mixed 11.5" x 8.25" x 1.25" Private Collection This piece began as an accident— I was buying the postcard and the plastic snake and liked the way they juxtaposed in my hand. I built the rest of the work around...

Figure with Flames & Moon, 1996 Wood, Glass, Paper, Acrylic 6.25" x 8.25" x. 5" Private Collection The figure and moon are carved out of the painted glass in reverse. The flames and the scythe-like shape in the left corner are paper on the front of the glass. Mounted...

Torso Fetish, 1996 Wood, Steel, Bone, horse hair & Mixed 10.5" x 4.25" x 1.5" Private Collection...

Detroit Icon, 1998 Wood, Photos, Glass, steel mesh & Mixed 7.5" x 6.5" x 1" Private Collection Both the photo of Jesus and the one of a damaged brake drum were found in the garbage at a Kinkos in Ann Arbor, MI. Combined under glass and steel mesh, they...

Marriage Arch, 1997 Wood, Paper & Mixed 8" x 7" x 1.5" Private Collection...

Marriage Door, 1997 Wood, Paper & Mixed 8" x 7" x 1.5" Private Collection...

Death & Transfiguration, 1996 Wood, Steel, Glass & Mixed 29" x 16" x 1.5" Private Collection Acrylic and spray paint on steel, inset into an aged and burned wooden panel from a door. The frame of broken glass is a visual reference to the nails of nkisi sculptures. The...

Sextablos, 1999 Acrylic paint and Xerox transfer onto steel 8" x 10" x .01" Private Collection These four Xerox transfers were created for the exhibit Sextablos, curated by Michael Hernandez de Luna. "The exhibition featured the work of 60 contributing artists who were asked to adapt the Mexican retablo (small...

    Mojo Set, 1998 Wood, Steel, Bone, Velvet & Mixed 3" x 9" x 5" Private Collection The six small figures in this set bear a slight resemblance to the work of the anonymous artist known as the Philadelphia Wireman. Each small talisman is made from small bits of found...

Small Hand, 1995 Wood, Steel, Bone & Mixed 7" x 4.5" x 1" Private Collection A charred antique box for microscope slides holds the bones of an animal paw nailed to an image cut from an old book. A cloud of rusty steel....

Desire, 1998 Wood, Glass, Wire & Mixed 7" x 4.5" x 1.25" Collection: The Lamprey Archives This was a piece made for The Ever So Secret Order of the Lamprey, based on the word "Desire." The box is an antique box for microscope slides, the wood is the scar left...

Study for Reliquary Wall, 1999 Wood, Wax, Bone 7" x 4.5" x 1.25" Available This was an initial study for a series in which I intended to cast various objects into large slabs of wax to be suspended from chains as space dividers, or screens....

Stigmata, 1998 Wood, Wax, Thorns 7" x 4.5" x. 5" Collection: The Lamprey Archives This was a piece made for The Ever So Secret Order of the Lamprey, based on the word "Stigmata." The Ever So Secret Order of the Lamprey was a group of Chicago artists and non-artists who met...

The Beautiful Story, 1998 Wood, Paper & Mixed 10" x 7" x 2" 1998 Private collection...

Book of Spells, 1997 Paper, Steel, Aluminum, Acrylic & Mixed 10" x 8" x 2" Private Collection...

Navigator's Log, 1995 Paper, Cardboard, Steel & Mixed 12" x 9.5" x 1" Private collection Artist's Book in mixed media collage. Bound with copper rivets over tape measure....

Six Poems, 1996 Paper, Photographs, Transparencies, Ink 9" x 9" x. 5" Private collection Artist's Book in mixed media collage. A hinged Japanese fold binding, alternating collage and poems....

Xenoglossophobia, 1995 Paper, Acrylic & Mixed 8" x 11.5" x .25" Private collection...

    Mutz, Phil. “Man Nails 20,000 Budweiser Caps To A Piece Of Wood To Create An Incredible American Flag Mosaic.” LittleThings.com, 17 July 2015....

  Biggest Indulgence: Our outdoor fire pit by John T. Unger. We are trying to not spend any money on our home yet, so this was kind of a splurge for us right now. We are trying to do what we can to make minimal updates...

Sonia Simone interviewed me for her podcast The Confessions of a Pink-Haired Marketer on rainmaker.FM. You can listen to the interview or read the transcripts at the following links: Business and Marketing for Artists and Creative Workers, Part One Business and Marketing for Artists and Creative Workers,...

Old Glory was a huge hit at the festival! Here's a little video of just some of the Instagram selfies taken with the flag. People lined up day and night to take their picture with Old Glory. One thing I really liked was how, as each...

The trailer is here and it's install day! My studio assistant Jamie and I carry out the first of the big sections. Laying all the panels out and hoping that they fit easily into the framework as planned. My plan was for the flag panels to mount...

  It's not a big cameo, but you can see a few of RumFire's eight Great Bowl O' Fire Sculptural Firebowls in the background as Jorge Garcia walks past the pool. “Ua Heleleʻi Ka Hoku.” Hawaii Five-0, season 5, episode 21, CBS, 10 Apr. 2015....

The four main panels are finally finished! I'll add a few fill caps to the seams once it is installed at the festival, but for now, it's ready to travel. Now onward to make the bottom two stripes. To minimize the seams, the bottom stripes are...

The stars are finished on panel two! A close up shot of the caps. I love the way this thing looks when you get up close and look across it at a low angle. Note that even though the copper coated nail heads are tiny, they...

Beginning the fourth panel. The first step is lining up the rows so that they match the edge of the last panel. This is slightly difficult because they're both 4 feet wide by 8 feet tall so it's quite a reach to get the caps...

Week Three. The first panel is done and the stripes are finished on panel two. I moved on to the third panel partly to give my hand a rest from bending the stars and partly so I could get video footage of the second panel...

Marcie videotaped the first cap being nailed to the flag. Only 19,999 or so to go! The first couple rows of caps have been applied. Usually, I partially crimp all the caps so that they overlap and have no space at all between them. Because this...

This is how 28,000 bottle caps arrived. The three boxes weighed 131.62 pounds altogether. I had no idea quite what to expect but rather thought the boxes might be a lot larger. It was fortunate that Budweiser donated the caps because there's no way I...

Patrick and Ann in Maryland own one of my very rare 52 inch Great Bowl O' Fire Sculptural Firebowls™. But they also have something that no one else has as yet— custom Prometheus Torches that are not only plumbed for gas, but can be turned...

I'm always excited to see where my art winds up, but I especially like when it finds a place where it brings meaning to it's new home. Rhett ordered an Eternal Flame Sculpture as a present for his girlfriend's birthday which became the centerpiece of...

When Kevin called from Long Beach , CA he already knew that my firebowls will last generations. Thinking about how the firebowl would be passed down through his family, he wanted to commission a custom piece that would tell a story about his present family...

Patrick in Hayward, CA bought his Great Bowl O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl™ four years ago and just sent me the following testimonial and photos: I chose the bowl of fire because it's a perfect piece of art. You have made something beautiful out of recycled material....

  Gracing a raised fountain promontory, the Great Bowl O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl™ at Sandals Ochi in Ocho Rios, Jamaica makes quite the tropical statement! From the photo above you can see that it definitely puts guests in a festive mood as they enjoy the poolside...

The Great Bowl O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl™ was the star of Caribbean Courtyard, Season 2, episode 5 of Billy Derian's DIY Network show Extra Yardage. The episode first aired September 4, 2012. The description on the site is a bit brief, but since I have...

For his La La Land Record Release Party last summer, philanthropist and pop star Sir Ivan Wilzig installed two Great Bowl O' Fire Sculptural Firebowls™ flanking the pool of his 13,000 square-foot castle known as the "Playboy mansion of the East." The event has been...

Last night my firebowls warmed the stars at the Cannes Film Festival. It was a cold, rainy evening for an outdoor seaside party, so I'm sure the firebowls were appreciated. Calvin Klein purchased SIX Big Bowl O' Zen Sculptural Firebowls™ for the company's annual Women in...

The Compass Sculptural Firebowl™ is the third custom design I've made for Graeme Cameron of Base Camp X. The idea appealed to me strongly because you can orient the bowl to the cardinal points and it will always tell you which way you're facing....

The Font O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl™ is aptly named as it has become the centerpiece of several fountains in top notch hospitality environments. Brian Sweeney created a Japanese inspired fountain for the Glenn Hotel in Downtown Atlanta using my 24" Font O' Fire firepit. The...

Waikiki Parc Hotel has three Great Bowl O' Fire Sculptural Firebowls™ decorating their pool deck facing the ocean. The firebowls are installed in a concrete bed filled with blue glass, which give the illusion they are floating in a pool. Many of my gas fired...

The Font O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl™ features as a social centerpiece in this Santa Monica garden patio designed by landscape architect Joseph Marek. The warm rust patina of the firebowl nicely complements the color of the walls and the outdoor cushions of the day bed. I've...

The Waves O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl™ at Onyx was only one of the club's many outdoor amenities. I never had a chance to visit Onyx before its recent closure, but from all accounts it was quite the operation! A review of Onyx on Columbus Alive portrays...

The Big Bowl O' Zen Sculptural Firebowl™ overlooks the ocean in this Pacific Palisades garden design by Joseph Marek. The simplicity of the Big Bowl O' Zen is a perfect match for this minimalist, modern design. The small square grass yard surround by stone terrace my...

The plaza fountain at BluEmber Restaurant in Rancho Mirage, CA was one of the first to incorporate my firebowls. A Font O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl™ is the centerpiece of the multi-level masonry fountain. At night, the fire fountain provides lighting and ambiance, by day it...

This stunning project by Montreal designer Endrée Villeneuve of Vision enVert uses three King Isosceles Sculptural Firebowls™ to great effect. The firebowls flank a pool on stone pillars, with gorgeous waterfalls feeding into the pool to create a soothing soundscape. Built on the shores of...

The goal of this project was to create a firebowl nested within an outer ring so that it appears to float in air. I am super happy with the way this one turned out! I'm also really impressed with the landscaping around the firebowl— it's...

Emily sent me photos of her Great Bowl O' Fire in both the US and UK, which she has carried across the Atlantic twice! This is a firebowl I made in 2006, so it looks a bit different than the current Great Bowls O' Fire....

Tucked into shade and seclusion, I suspect this Font O' Fire 30 inch Sculptural Firebowl™ offers peaceful respite in Los Angeles. From where the photo is taken, you'd never guess that this serene social area was smack in the middle of a major metropolitan city....

Doug in Castle Rock, Colorado was kind enough to send in these great photos of his King Isosceles Firebowl™. The large stones and and gravel patio have a Zen garden feel. I really like the double ring of limestone pavers that define the patio space. Thanks...

Usually my firebowls appear on TV without me. I ship them to the set and only see the show much later. For the Surf's Up with the Greens episode of My Yard Goes Disney JayTV sent Rich Brauer out to the studio to film me...

I love this modern, multi-level deck! The Font O' Fire Firebowl™ complements it very well. Note how closely the patina of the bowl matches the wooden deck. This space is set up nicely for entertaining or hanging out with friends and family. Glenn wrote: Just had...

Rimmer in Madison, Mississippi sent in these dramatic photos of his Waves O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl™ that show how lovely the fire is when reflected in a pool. There's something very poetic about the flame from a Waves O Fire being doubled in the water...

Galaxy No. 3, 2005 recycled steel 139" H x 133" W x 14" NOTE: effective width/length is a radius of 133 inches My Kinetic Sculpture, Galaxy No. 3, is on view in Charlevoix, MI for the next two years as part of a public art program featuring 8 sculptures. The...

"Cooperative Effort Brings Outdoor Sculptures to Charlevoix." Petoskey News 27 July 2012: n. pag. Print....

Fiamme in Naperville, IL incorporated a Great Bowl O’ Fire 37 inch Sculptural Firebowl into their dynamic and dramatic signage. Fiamme is a traditional Naples inspired Italian restaurant, specializing in authentic oak-fired oven pizzas. The Great Bowl O’ Fire is a perfect match for their brand,...

John in Mississauga, Ontario just sent in some gorgeous photos of his Great Bowl O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl™. The nighttime photo above even shows a flame that looks much like the signature Phoenix carved into every flame design firebowl I create. John also shared the details...

May 30 is the seventh anniversary of the first Great Bowl O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl™! I was especially touched that someone at my freight company, R&L Carriers, took the time to draw me a birthday card and post it to Twitter. That kind of personal attention...

Last year, Chris Guillebeau asked me to make an Olympic style torch that would travel cross country with Adam Baker to be lit at the opening ceremony of the inaugural World Domination Summit. I loved the idea, and the traveling torch was a great success. Here's...

The Great Bowl O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl™ is prominently featured in the Artful Home's email newsletter this week. The Great Bowl O' Fire was included in the Artful Home Spring Catalog and will be in the upcoming summer catalog as well. Artful Home is a juried...

Lori in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan just sent me the above photo of her Great Bowl O' Fire™ with a note: We love our new firebowl and thought you might like a photo. You do beautiful work! I love the way this installation turned out. I made the...

  Every now and then, I get a request for a Great Bowl O' Fire™ without the signature phoenix. I've always turned those requests down because I feel that the phoenix is such an important part of the design— it not only relates to fire, but...

A fire pit is the most essential part of any rustic campsite— it doesn't need to be fancy, but as the center of social activities it must be pleasing to the eye. That's why Michael in Olivette, MO chose the Big Bowl O’ Zen 37...

With Diamond Head and sunsets over the Pacific Ocean behind them, the eight Great Bowl O' Fire Sculptural Firebowls at Rumfire Waikiki manage to hold their own visually. Since 2008, these fire features have contributed the the restaurant and bar's chic atmosphere, bringing tropical flair...

  On the drive down to SXSW this year we decided to take a few days extra and enjoy the trip, stopping to photograph some of the more awesome Firebowl installations that were (sort of) on the way. The first stop was Nada, a stylish purveyor of...

Guillebeau, Chris. The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future. Crown Pub, 2012. Print....

"Get Out! The Backyard Can Be Quite Luxurious." Broward Design, Boca Design, Gold Coast, Fort Lauderdale Magazine, Boca Life Feb. 2012: 26. Print and digital. Miami Design, Palm Beacher. Digital only....

Photo Credit: Eric Staudenmaier. The largest firebowl I've done to date is the 53 inch diameter Meridian Sculptural Firebowl™ installed on the 6th floor pool deck at Allure Waikiki. I absolutely love the above photo by Eric Staudenmaier and how it captures the glow of the...

When most artists say they are "on fire" they mean that they're inspired. When metalworkers say it, you should reach for the nearest entinguisher. I make jokes about "catching fire a little bit" while working in the studio, but the truth is— there's a lot of...

Photo Credit: Chris Rush This photo of the King Isosceles Sculptural Firebowl™ at WaterWalk Place in Wichita is stunning! Chris did a great job of shooting a night photo that still gives a sense of the landscape around the firebowl. WaterWalk Place is a multi-use destination on...

Christina Celenza and Tyler Roy enjoy toasting s'mores on a recent date around one of the Big Bowl O' Zen Sculptural Firebowls™ at Frankford Hall in Philadelphia. The photo shoot, organized by Nick Silva and shot by Pete Hall, turned out great! I love the star-like...

Alex Townsend was a passionate artist and musician studying graphic design at the Savannah College of Art and Design when he tragically passed away at the age of 21. As a remembrance, the family commissioned me to create a firebowl incorporating Alex's signature tag. ...

Twitter is where I spend most of my time online. Other than email, it's the closest thing I have to any kind of journal of my ideas and activities. At the end of the year, I go back and re-read my entire Twitter stream for...

These two grates are a commission for an apartment building in Texas. Both are made from recycled/reused components (other than the steel for the frame). Both grates have kinetic elements that spin, turn or bobble. I love adding moving parts to fences, gates and grates to...

Tiki Beach is a newly launched premium quality beach facility on 7 Mile Beach, Grand Cayman Island offering visitors a full range of guest experiences including a restaurant, bar, and beach activities. With a dramatic Polynesian styled roof, and four Great Bowl O' Fire Sculptural...

The Southwest Porch, located near the southern end of the Fountain Terrace, offers all visitors the ambience and luxury usually available only to a few. Equipped with a wood fueled Big Bowl O' Zen firebowl™, Adirondack chairs, sofas, and couches typical of those found at...

Three Great Bowl O' Fire 37 Inch Sculptural Firebowls™ adorn the roof top pool at Parc Blue. One of my favorite things about this firebowl installation is the blue glass used as a gravel below the firebowls— that rich field of blue really intensifies the orange...

One of the best photos I have of the Great Bowl O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl™ was shot at Rumfire, Waikiki Beach. The eight Great Bowl O' Fire Sculptural Firebowls at the beach front patio have become one of the hallmarks of the restaurant. One of...

I had already done a custom firebowl for Graeme Cameron when he was part of Best Made Co., so when he left to form his own venture, Base Camp X, he asked me to do a new design featuring the BCX logo. We called it...

Fire Imps are playful, energetic and touchable sculptures scaled to fit any home. I love the way that the shapes and colors of the Fire Imps interact in a group— like a coral reef, a modern dance troupe, a forest of fall leaves, a party...

About a year ago, Zenas ordered a Big Bowl O' Zen Sculptural Firebowl™ for his Minneapolis townhouse, and when he chose to add a fountain to his landscape, he sent the following email...

When I first heard about the beautiful designer axes made by the guys at Best Made Co., it seemed like such a natural overlap with my firebowls that I promptly gave them a call. I had a great talk with Graeme Cameron and we were...

This stone and glass fountain with a Great Bowl O' Fire™ as centerpiece in San Clemente, CA shows that you can have it all… a stunning water feature crowned by live fire. Day or night, fire brings a lively focus to this water feature, combining...

First, they say "you'll never make a living as an artist." When you do, they say you've "sold out." Sharon Beth interviews me about tips for artists to succeed, how to price art and calculate overhead, how to handle rejection or people who tell you you...

I spent New Year's day going back and re-reading all the tweets I wrote in 2009, from top to bottom. It was kind of an interesting way to review the year and see where I'd been and what I'd been thinking about. There were so...

Hazel Dooney has built an international reputation as an intensely creative and productive artist in complete control of her destiny. She's a pioneer and an oft-studied example of how an individual artist can use online media (and hard work) to manage their careers more effectively...

Update: The lawsuit has been settled by mutual agreement. A press release concerning the details of the settlement agreement will be posted here soon. — Dec. 4, 2009 Wow. I am amazed at what has happened since I published the page on my site about the lawsuit...

NASHVILLE, Tennessee - December 11, 2009 - John T. Unger/John T. Unger, LLC and Rick Wittrig/Firepitart.com LLC today announced a non-confidential settlement ending the legal dispute between them. This settlement fully resolves all of the parties’ claims against each other, including their litigation. The parties...

If my job as an artist is to fill the world with "more things," I feel it is equally important that I reclaim materials from the waste stream to make space for my work. I believe that creative re-use has the potential to spark new ways...

McNatt, Cindy. "Midweek Home and Garden Update: Fire Pit by John T. Unger Doubles as a Focal Point." OC Register [Santa Ana, CA] 14 Oct. 2009. Print. ...

Chris Guillebeau interviews me on how I built a life and career  on the back of disasters. This was one of the more popular interviews I ever did and led to a speaking engagement at Chris' inaugural World Domination Summit. Click the link below to...

With free reign to do whatever I wanted around a fire theme, I decided to try an idea that I had been toying with in the back of my mind for quite some time… Cutting outlines of flame shapes withing the flame designs of the...

When Hotel Indigo Athens selected a fire feature for their outdoor courtyard, the Font O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl was their first choice. The fire pit is hand made from 100% recycled steel and exemplifies a perfect expression of the hotel's commitment to sustainability and craftsmanship. Hotel...

Page, Peggy. "Fifty Years of the Art Fairs From Sixties euphoria to Aughts angst." Ann Arbor Observer 14 July 2009. Print. ...

Mask for Landfill Art Stainless steel, Brass, Copper, Aluminum, Steel 14" x 14 x 3 Collection: Landfill Art I was asked to contribute a piece of art to the Landfill Art project. Ken mailed me a hubcap, I altered it and mailed it back. The mask design is loosely...

The Great Bowl O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl $2300 The Great Bowl O' Fire is cut upon order and ships in 7-10 business days. Weight: 110 pounds Dimensions: 37" Diameter, 22" high overall, base is 12" in diameter. Click Here to purchase or learn more The Waves O' Fire Sculptural...

Every few weeks I get an email asking me about how my Bottle Cap Mosaics are created… people want to know what they're made of, how the caps are attached, where I get the caps for the mosaics and so on. I've created the video...

[rev_slider alias="FaceOfSpadesMasks"] Inspired by traditional mask designs from all over the world, each Face of Spades carving is made from 100% recycled materials— breathing new life into the atoms of the abandoned. Shovels retired after a life of hard labor are reborn as playful, intriguing masks— faces...

  M., Angela. “Want It Now: a Modern Fire Pit.” Shelterrific, 4 Apr. 2009....

One of the phone calls I get a lot is from people who want to know how to install gas burners in Sculptural Firebowls™. This diagram that shows the basic concept of how the stainless steel burners connect to the firebowl. This is not, however, a...

I get quite a few emails from high school kids who are writing about recycled artwork for a class assignment and want to ask me some questions about my work. Recently, I got the following message through Etsy:Our 14 year old is a performer and,...

Dale Ayers is an architect in Park City, Utah. He just sent me some amazing photos of his Great Bowl O Fire Sculptural Firebowl™ installed at his home in the Promontory development outside Park City. The fire bowl with gas burner is accessible from the...

Frances in Minneapolis sent in both construction photos and photos of the finished space for her Font O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl™. She wrote: The fire pit is beautiful! Very simple and just what I wanted for an informal space. I really appreciate how you were able...

This lovely Houston courtyard is set up very nicely for outdoor living. A fountain for warm days, a Big Bowl O' Zen firebowl for cooler days and evenings, functional seating and a grill for outdoor meals. I like the mosaic table which complements the pebble...

These twin Fiery Fleur-de-Lis 37 inch Sculptural Firebowls™ flanking an infinity pool over Lake Okanagan in British Columbia were a commissioned design. I worked together with the client to come up with the drawings and scale, and when they were done, we were both so...

Check out the before and after photos of this project which flanks a waterfall with two Great Bowl O' Fire Sculptural Firebowls™. The finished yard is a gorgeous space with a large waterfall at the head of the pool area and several smaller streams of...

Greg's post on the Baltazar residence by public over at materialicious caused me to re-think the way we had the windows laid out for the third floor… I like the new design much better. The transom windows at the top will open to allow a...

One of the most frequently asked questions I get about my fire bowls is whether they're safe for children. I pretty much always answer it the same way: "Well, that depends on the child, and on the parent." The legal answer I have to give...

Condren, Debra. "Check out my Web Site." Metro New York, Metro Boston, Metro Philadelphia, 28 July 2008: 14....

  [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="700"] Front view of Container Studio with courtyards[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="700"] North view of Container Studio with courtyards[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="700"] Rear view of Container Studio with courtyards[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="700"] South view of Container Studio with courtyards[/caption] So, the modeling process for...

There's a great article in this week's Antrim County News about me… Jeff Kessler did a great job of capturing the breadth of what I'm up to lately, and I really enjoyed the couple hours that we spent sitting on the porch chatting. He was...

East Elevation of Container Studio North Elevation of Container Studio West Elevation of Container Studio South Elevation of Container Studio Here's the basic layout of the new studio project. Doors, glazing and exterior insulation will be in the model soon and I'll update then. But you can see the...

I've been working with architect Greg La Vardera recently to design a new home and studio for my property, built from six 40 foot shipping containers. He's been blogging about it here and here and I've been meaning to start blogging it since before we...

Don and Sue bought their Great Bowl O' Fire Firebowl from Goldner Walsch Nursery. They were so taken with it that they looked me up online and wrote to tell me how much they liked it. They wrote: We just had to email and tell you...

This is a recent bottle cap fish I did as a commissioned housewarming gift. It's my favorite that I've ever done. I love the way that the mixed caps work to create a richer color tone. To see a larger, print quality image just click...

RumFire at the Sheraton Waikiki has been getting a lot of press…and almost all of it mentions the fire pits I made for them. They installed eight Great Bowls O' Fire™ last year to create intimate settings for patrons to gather over drinks and food...

Mary Abe at Garden Gate Landscaping has won an award for her project "A Frame for Lush Scenery" which features a custom firebowl I collaborated on and built....

I knew something was up when I had 6 convos from Etsy Users in 5 minutes! That doesn't happen every day. Since I had recently done an interview with Artish about men on Etsy, I kinda figured the sudden increase in conversations was due to the...

The best thing that ever happened to me was the night an angry, messed up cab driver pulled me into the back room of a 24 hour diner and held a huge handgun to my head for over ten minutes, all the while describing in...

It doesn't get much cooler than having your work featured in Craft! I'd have posted this sooner except i lost my copy of the magazine temporarily and hadn't scanned it yet. My girlfriend Marcie is usually pretty blasé about seeing my name in print (which is...

"Artist John T. Unger Makes Every Day Earth Day." Pages Magazine 26 Feb. 2008: 1....

Moniz, Melissa. "Igniting Waikiki." Hawaii News 8 Feb. 2008, Weekend Coverstory ed....

"Curio: Our Favorite Trickets and Treasures." Craft Magazine, vol 6, 5 Feb. 2008: 22....

I was working late in the studio one night, just before the snow came, trying to finish up a rush order of fire bowls for the Sheraton Hotel in Honolulu… My neighbor Preston Cole stopped by and shot a bunch of pictures as the sun...

A while back I posted an email I'd gotten from Ben in Florida, who ordered a customized version of the Great Bowl O Fire. He sent me a great photo of it recently....

Which is a time when you're supposed to burn your Lamas doll that you've created at the beginning of Lamas, and then live with until Equinox, and then burn it, ritually. And now I have this beautiful work of art to do my burning...

  My favorite thing about the New York City rooftop patio where this Great Bowl O Fire Sculptural Firebowl™ sits, is the life guard's chair that looks over the south end of Manhattan! Man, if I had a chair like that, with a view like that,...

Clive's been a great friend over the years. We've never had a chance to actually hang out in person though until my visit to NYC this summer when we had some excellent BBQ. I brought him a Pot-de-Feu Grill as a gift, which...

In thinking about it, I've realized that even though the art business has done really well, it's often the social element that really makes art fun for me. I love hearing back from people who are ecstatic with the art they've purchased; I like...

I got a cool photo and note in the mail a while back… long enough ago that I really should have posted it for halloween. In case you can't make out the handwriting, it says "Under the right conditions, the Great Bowl O Fire...

I got an email this morning from Karin and Keith in Springfield, Virginia about their new Great Bowl O Fire™. It was so sweet and beautiful it made me all misty-eyed. I get a lot of great feedback, but I rarely get such a detailed...

Surles, Joy. "Designed for Permanence: John T. Unger's Lasting Creations." Tattoos for Men Nov. 2007: 32-35.

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Hello John. Your product is one of the reasons I love art. Just when you don't expect it it hits you. Here i am looking for a fire pit when I stumble along your creations. My search has ended. I live in SW Fla and would...

People love to tell stories around a fire… so it made sense to me to create some narrative fire pits that tell stories themselves. And what better story to begin with than the story of how mankind was given fire?...

  The SXSW panel on Global Microbrands with Hugh MacLeod, Kathy Sierra, David Parmet and Gabe Rivera recently went live on the SXSW podcast page. You can download it here: The Global Microbrand: Are Blogs, Suits and Wine the New Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll? Parmet:...

Daily Confection just posted a really fun phone interview I did with Gary Connolly. We discussed a broad set of topics including art, business, marketing, the ways that blogging and the web in general have impacted my work as an artist and 30 foot...

Amy and Elph sent me these great pics of a BBQ on their patio using the Pot-de-Feu Portable Grill. Not only was it a fun way to cook, but the food came out great. My mouth is watering right now!

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Bob Struber sent in a few awesome photos of his Great Bowl O Fire! This one was my favorite. Bob found me on the web, but decided to visit the studio to pick up his Bowl… It's cool when I get to meet...

Drew Klonsky is pretty dang cool. For one thing, his sign-off on emails is /drew ( I wish I'd thought of that!) For another thing, he takes great photos like the one above. Drew was among the early buyers of the Great Bowl O' Fire...

Fire Tribe Hawaii ordered a Great Bowl O Fire 41 inch Sculptural Firebowl™ for their Solstice Gathering. Here's a cool video from their Las Vegas sister organization that gives a feel for what Fire Tribe is all about. I just got an email letting me know...

I mentioned previously that I stayed with John and Jimmy Whipple while I was at SXSW. It was one of those cool, organic things that happen in the blog world… Jimmie bought the very first piece of art I sold on the blog, we stayed...

In 2006 I made a customized Great Bowl O Fire™ for a pool designer in South Carolina who was working on a new water park. The firebowl became the centerpiece of a Mayan temple design at Landmark Resort Waterpark and Mini-golf. It sits inside a...

Johnny Evers Mosaic Portrait, 2006 vitreous glass mosaic, steel frame. 48" H x 60" W x 1.5" D Commission It's nearly impossible to reduce a six foot wide mosaic to a 600 pixel wide image and get it to look the way it should! The grout lines tend to...

As cool as these shapes are, they can be kind of hard to work with… I find that when they're layered over one another in a pile, they look awesome, but usually when I try to work with them individually, they lose something in the...

Okay, actually, since recycled steel art is still the main gig here at the studio, it's really kind of Earth Day all the time. On the other hand, a tree made of 100% recycled steel seems like just the thing to post in observance of...

Jimmie Whipple was the very first customer at my ArtBuzz blog and I've stayed in touch with the family ever since… They're very cool folks, which comes through clearly on their blog...

We finally got rid of all our snow, and then, suddenly, it's back with a vengeance. I want spring, now! But at least the bottle tree in the yard looks pretty. It's the only color in the whole neighborhood today.

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Cammel, Ron. "Firepits are the Hottest Accessory." Grand Gardens Apr. 2007: 1, 6....

Hugh had a great post today in which he wrote:Why take 50,000 words [the length of your average business tome] to say what you have to say, when 500 will do? Brevity. I love brevity. We're both in a hurry. So I'm thinking, well, there's also a lot...

I'm glad I had a chance to visit the Brick Oven Courtyard Grille in Topeka, KS on a trip in 2009. We arrived before serving hours, but the staff was kind enough to turn on the restaurant's three Great Bowls O' Fire so we could...

Mary Abe at Garden Gate Landscaping reached out to see if I could create a custom fire pit for an extensive landscaping project she was putting together. The project called for a buried fire pit set in stone with a steel lid and a remote...

  Free Spirit, Mosaic Bear 2005 Ceramic tile over fiberglass. 36″ X 60″ x 28″ Private Collection Free Spirit was created for the 2005 fundraiser Great Northern Hunt for Bearable Art organized by The American Red Cross of Northern Lower Michigan. An anonymous donor sponsored one of the bears and specifically...

Brook Trout Mosaic No. 2, 2006 Sicis Iridium glass tile, glass taxidermy eye, copper, Hardibacker substrate. 11" H x 19" W x 1.5" D  Most of the tile used on this mosaic is from the Iridium line of glass from Sicis. As the light or viewing angle changes,...

Rainbow Trout Glass Mosaic, 2006 Sicis Iridium glass tile, glass taxidermy eye, copper, Hardibacker substrate 9" H x 21.25" W x 1.5" This mosaic is available for purchase in my store. Most of the tile used on this mosaic is from the Iridium line of glass from Sicis. As...

Bluegill Mosaic No. 2, 2006 Sicis Iridium glass tile, glass taxidermy eye, copper. 11 x 17.5 x 1.5 in My daughter Mya did so well last summer  helping me with mosaic that this year I had her create a whole line of fish. She got to do the...

Lake Trout Mosaic, 2006 Sicis Iridium glass tile, glass taxidermy eye, copper, Hardibacker substrate. 11" H x 18.5" W x 1.5" D Private Collection My daughter Mya did so well last summer  helping me with mosaic that this year I had her create a whole line of fish. She...

Brook Trout Mosaic No. 1, 2006: Dimensions: 11" high x 19" wide x 1.5" deep. Materials: Sicis Iridium glass tile, glass taxidermy eye, copper. Mosaic is set with mortar on a Hardibacker substrate over plywood and finished around the edges with copper...

Bluegill Mosaic, 2005 Sicis Iridium glass tile, glass taxidermy eye, copper. 11" H x 17.5" W x 1.5" D...

Rainbow Trout, 2002 glass tile, glass eye, copper, Wonderboard substrate on plywood. 27.5" H x 16.5" W x 1.5" D Commission Rainbow Trout Commissioned by Jeff Ott for his office at Warner, Norcross & Judd. The iridescent glass tiles create a highly realistic shimmer on the surface of the...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish at Vale Craft Gallery Bottle Caps, plywood, printed tin, copper or bronze, rakes, dustpans, nail, etc. 126" H x 90" W Bottle caps have long had a place in the folk art tradition as a decorative element. Usually, they are deployed more as a texture,...

What I love most about this piece is the variety of interpretations I've heard— from holding up the weight of the worlds garbage, to being crushed by alcoholism, to a desire to drink in the entire world....

Community Harmony Through Song & Play, Panel 1: Music, 2001 Ceramic mosaic on wood substrate. 66" H x 48" W x 2" D Public Art Commission Panel 1 portrays musical styles which have been cornerstones of the African American culture and experience. The sax man probably plays jazz or...

Community Harmony Through Song & Play, Panel 2: Arts and History, 2001 Ceramic mosaic on wood substrate. 66" H x 48" W x 2" D Public Art Commission An African horn player blows his horn from the deep past, communicating with the sax man in the first panel. Behind...

My neighbor across the street lives in what was once the old train station, sometime around the turn of the century. He commissioned this piece for the exterior of his home. This was actually the most difficult mosaic I've done to date....

This piece and the What Would Elvis Do? mirror were created for a show of all-Elvis art at Fleur Fine Art in Chicago....

When my dad was young he had a series of pet crows, all named Peter, and Peter was the hero of my bedtime stories....

Vévé for Erzuli Mosaic Table, 2003 vitreous glass, glass gems, steel table. 30" Tall x 42" x 42" Commission Laurie Beasley of Ridge Art commissioned this table, featuring a version of the Vévé for Erzulie, the Haitian goddess (Lwa) of love. My mosaic of the Vévé for Erzuli was...

This table was commissioned by Angelo at Casa Loca in Chicago. The original design is from the Mexican Loteria deck, a traditional game similar to Bingo. ...

La Femme Astrale, 1999 ceramic tile, plywood substrate. 24" x 48" x 17" high Stolen, whereabouts unknown The design for this table was adapted from a 19th Century French poster for a floating woman act.… This is one of a set of four tables I did in collaboration with...

Cocktail Girls, 1999 ceramic tile, glass, plywood substrate. 24" x 48" x 17" high Private Collection The design for this table came from an antique matchbook… Most of my early mosaics were based on old 4 color ads and posters. The limited colors of tile I was using seemed...

Ballad of the Dragon, 1999 ceramic tile, glass, plywood substrate. 24" x 48" x 17" high Commission The design for this table was adapted from a metal engraving by José Guadalupe Posada. The eye is a photo pasted behind a Xerox copier lense. Most of my early mosaics were...

The Friendly Gesture, 1999 ceramic tile, slate, plywood substrate. 24" x 48" x 17" high Private Collection The design for this table came from an antique matchbook. The tile is a mix of ceramic and porcelain. The cigars I carved from slate....

Mud's Marker, 2001 Concrete, Ceramic tile 12.5" H x 12" W x 4" D Commission I made the headstone above for Mud, a friend's cat who had sadly used up it's allotment of nine lives. The marker has been through five long winters in Michigan with no sign of...

[rev_slider alias="LibationBottles"]   All the bottles on this page were inspired by the sequined libation bottles of Haitian Vodou, a standard feature of Vodou altars traditionally used in ceremony to serve rum to the spirits. Libation bottles are often much more plain than the ceremonial flags which...

Sad Bunny is a collaboration I did with my daughter Mya, one of many sculptures we did this summer using her drawings and my welding and cutting chops. ...

The house is made from an old refrigerator drawer and the rest is recycled steel plate. The wind from the wolf's mouth is copper plated welding rod. The plants are scrap left over from cutting out the flames on the Firebird Grill....

Aluminum + Copper Fish Sign, 2005 Recycled Aluminum, copper and plywood. 51" H x 96" W x 1" D This was originally going to be a sign for the studio…  I got this far with it and decided that I liked it better as art. I made it...

A Mermaid and her Fish, 2006 Recycled steel, 54" H x 37" W x .25" D Collection: Jerry's Sandwiches, Chicago, IL Here's a bold, graphic sculpture made from recycled car steel… The corrugated steel in the background is not part of the piece, it's the wall of my office...

Bottle Trees, 2006 Recycled steel, glass dimensions variable Collection of the Artist Bottle trees are a tradition I've always liked, and I've long meant to make one. There's a great site here that explains the history behind them, with a bunch of photos of traditional and newer versions. Back on Memorial...

Galaxy No. 2, 2004 Steel 82" x 82" x 14" Collection: Kathleen Glynn & Michael Moore. The Galaxy Series of sculptures is inspired in part by David Smith's sculptures Australia and Royal Bird. But I also enjoyed the comment left by Craig...

The figures below are one-of-a-kind pieces inspired by, and built around, stone shapes that catch my eye from the cast-away pile at a local stone vendor's. Because the stone is polished on one side only, the back is decorated with copper....

These three sculptures are early examples of sculpture based on line art drawings. The Guardian sculpture is one of the few I've done which combines lines and planes....

Abstract Bull, State 11. 2005. Steel. Dimensions variable. Private Collection Picasso has had a quiet, but huge influence on my fences and sculpture. Whatever else you may choose to say about the man, he had a knack for drafting the perfect line and I've aspired to match him on that...

The Dancer Sculptures come in two styles: the powder coat enamel version shown here and a steel and copper version. In creating these sculptures, I try to capture the essential gesture so precisely that the mind completes the movement—making a still image appear to be in...

Houses and Weather: Scrapyard Abstract No. 8, 2006 recycled steel 14 x 10 x 3 in Although the steel in this sculpture was crushed, compacted and sheared intentionally, by a machine at the junk yard, it reminds me of what you see when heavy weather tears through a...

When I made this piece, I saw it as an animal running at full tilt, turning sharply mid-run on two legs. I love the way the tail whips around through the air and the head stretches outward, still thrust in the original direction. ...

Odysseus lashed himself to the mast of his ship to avoid being seduced by the cries of the sirens into grounding on the shoals of a reef. This sculpture suggests all the elements of that myth to me… from some angles it resembles a ship...

Arbor Vitae reminds me of music in some ways, referencing both notes on a page and sort of twining piano keys. It also makes me think of a storm, or vortex, or swirling smoke. But the breakthrough idea came when I saw it as a...

Garden Meditation Gong. 2006. Recycled steel. 85" H x 35" W x 12" D Private Collection The freestanding garden gong above would make a nice centerpiece for any garden… it requires a concrete pad below grade to stabilize it (or you could do something like a cool stonework base...

Antique Radiator Firewood Cradle, 1999 Cast iron, recycled steel. 23.5" x 22" x 8.5" Custom Order item I love the visual pun of making a cradle for holding fire wood from sections of an old radiator. This piece was originally made as a Christmas present, but I'd be into...

The gates shown here are largely created from various recycled elements. They were part of a larger project in Chicago, IL by Kenneth Morrison on which I collaborated....

Window Grilles, 2005: steel, 20.75" H x 20" W x .25" D Private Collection This pair of window grates was created from a sheet of scrap steel left over after a factory cut blanks for what might have been rotating blades for a mower. I included a larger...

The floral pattern in these fences was designed to complement clerestory windows overlooking the courtyard where they are installed. Incorporating natural slate, iridescent glass mosaic tile and copper, this project is the culmination of techniques I have been developing over the past few years. ...

City Gates, commissioned by Bob Racky for his offices at 4022 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago, features two pairs of gates based on maps of the Chicago area. The south gates show Riverside, IL and feature urban planning by Frederic Law Olmstead in the lower left...

The most interesting part of this half of the fence design (installed on Cermak, around the corner from part one) is that several of the elements are kinetic and can be moved or repositioned....

A collaboration with Kenneth Morrison. He originated the concept and sketched a rough layout for overall project. I designed and fabricated indivdual panels. The choice of which panels went together was his. It was a little like an enormous steel version of the exquisite corpse...

These graceful figures suggest both the motion of their dance and the music that moves them. The obvious joy of the figures is engaging— but their simplicity is what really captivates us. We can easily see ourselves, someone we know, or the person we might...

I was (and still am) one of those kids who always feels compelled to lean chairs back on two legs. I didn't get into making furniture just to avoid being yelled at, or breaking chairs, but I do believe that in addition to being beautiful...

While I was in Chicago, I delivered the finished mosaic of Frank Chance that Mya and I worked on this summer. This is the second of a tryptich featuring portraits of Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance. ...

Erastes + Eromenos Marble Mosaic, 2005 Marble mosaic on Durock substrate. Steel frame. 62" x 38" x 2" D The original vase painting this mosaic is based on has been dated approximately 500 BC. It depicts an older lover (erastes) and his beloved youth (eromenos) making love surrounded...

Anima Sola/Marinette Altar, 2004 Steel, cast iron, vitreous glass mosaic, slate, antique mirror, copper, bronze 76" H x 31" W x 10" D Private collection I've always wanted to do a mosaic of the image of Anima Sola, or “The Lost Soul.” It's such a  powerful image...

For a long time, my most well-know work was the Devil Girl tile mosaic windvane. I felt like she needed an angelic sister to balance the family. So last winter while the snow piled up to the eves of my studio I created this sleeping...

  The Amazing Devil Girl— She Whirls!, 2000 ceramic mosaic, plywood, steel, copper, bronze 66.6" H x 48" W x 13" D I'm pretty sure I'm the only mosaic artist who's ever made a wind powered kinetic mosaic sculpture… The wind vane sculpture shown above is the second of...

The city of Lincoln City, OR commissioned this Fish and a 41 inch Waves O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl as public art. I was a Featured Artist at the Art Sea Festival and gave a live demonstration of creating a Bottle Cap Mosaic....

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 54, 2007 plywood, primer, bottle caps, recycled bronze sheet, copper nails 26" x 55.5" x 1.5" This bottle cap mosaic fish was a commission to recreate as closely as possible Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 4 and No. 42. A combination of caps, Sierra...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 53, 2011 plywood, primer, bottle caps, recycled copper roofing, copper nails 20" x 50" x 1.5" This bottle cap mosaic fish is made from Corona and Corona Light bottle caps. The fins and tale are cut from recycled roofing copper. The eye is a...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 52, 2011 plywood, primer, bottle caps, recycled car body, copper nails 20" x 50" x 1.5" This fish is made from Blue Moon, Maine Root and Michelob Ultra bottle caps. The fins and tale are cut from vintage car metal from the 60's...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 51, 2010 plywood, primer, bottle caps, recycled car body, copper nails 20" x 50" x 1.5" This bottle cap fish mosaic was a recent commission based on Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 47. I love the fins, which were cut from an old...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 50, 2011 plywood, primer, bottle caps, spatula, dust pan, antique rake, copper nails 20" x 55.5" x 1.5" Commission loosely based on Fish numbers 4 and 5. This bottle cap mosaic fish is made from Heineken and Oberon bottle caps. The fins are cut...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 49, 2009 plywood, primer, bottle caps, recycled copper roofing, copper nails 20" x 50" x 1.5" This Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish is made with Budweiser and Budweiser Select caps. This was commissioned for a 50th birthday gift, and the client specifically requested BudWeiser caps....

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 48, 2008 plywood, primer, bottle caps, recycled copper roofing, copper nails 12" x 40" x 1.5" This bottle cap mosaic fish is made from a mix of blue bottle caps with a white face made of Becks caps. The fins and tale are...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 47, 2008 plywood, primer, bottle caps, recycled car body, copper nails 20" x 50" x 1.5" This fish is made from Heineken, Bud Light and Becks bottle caps. The fins and tale are cut from vintage car metal from the 60's or 70's....

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 26, 2006 plywood, primer, bottle caps, recycled vintage car steel, copper nails 12" x 40" x 1.5" This bottle cap mosaic fish is made from two different styles of Bud Light bottle caps. The fins and tale are cut from vintage car metal from...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 45, 2008 plywood, primer, bottle caps, recycled copper roofing, copper nails 20" x 50" x 1.5" This bottle cap mosaic fish is made from Michelob and Labatts bottle caps. The fins and tale are cut from recycled roofing copper. The eye is a jar...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 44, 2009 plywood, primer, bottle caps, vintage car steel, copper nails 12" x 40" x 1.5" This bottle cap mosaic fish is made from Coke, Becks and Harpoon bottle caps. The fins and tale are cut from vintage car metal from the 60's or...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 43, 2008 plywood, primer, bottle caps, recycled copper roofing, copper nails 20" x 50" x 1.5" This bottle cap mosaic fish is made from a wide mix of bottle caps. The fins and tale are cut from recycled roofing copper. The eye is...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 42, 2007 plywood, primer, bottle caps, recycled roofing copper, copper nails 26" x 55.5" x 1.5" This bottle cap mosaic fish was a commission to recreate as closely as possible Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 4. A combination of caps, Sierra Nevada, Stewarts Ginger Beer,...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 40, 2006 plywood, primer, bottle caps, recycled car steel, brass nails 20" H x 27" W x 1.5" D This fish is made from Reed soda and Harp beer bottle caps. The fins and tail are cut from vintage car metal from the 60's...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 39, 2006 plywood, primer, bottle caps, vintage car steel, copper nails 20" x 55.5" x 1.5" This bottle cap mosaic fish is made from Two different styles of Bud Light bottle caps. The fins and tail are cut from vintage car metal from...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 38, 2006 plywood, primer, bottle caps, vintage car steel, copper nails 20" x 55.5" x 1.5" This bottle cap mosaic fish is made from Labatts and Newcastle Brown Ale bottle caps. The fins and tail are cut from vintage car metal from the 60's...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 36, 2006 plywood, primer, bottle caps, recycled copper roofing, copper nails 20" x 50" x 1.5" This bottle cap mosaic fish is made from Amstel Light, Peroni and Bass Ale bottle caps. I love the way that the coloration of the caps mirror...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 35, 2006 plywood, primer, bottle caps, vintage car steel, antique rake, brass nails 20" x 55.5" x 1.5" This bottle cap mosaic fish is made from Labatts and Molson bottle caps. I wish I had a better photo of the way the light...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 34, 2006 plywood, primer, bottle caps, tin can, brass plated nails 20" x 50" x 1.5" This fish is made from Corona, Corona Light and S. Pelligrino bottle caps. The fins and tale are cut from vintage car metal from the 60's or...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 32, 2006 plywood, primer, bottle caps, bronze sheet, copper nails 20" x 50" x 1.5" This bottle cap mosaic fish is made from Heineken, Pacifico and one Topo Chico bottle caps. The fins and tale are cut from bronze sheet recycled from a door...

Here's another narrative sculpture that Mya designed. Click the thumbnail images to see detail shots. I love the way she used the tree and the bed post to organize the frames of the story! Pretty sophisticated work for a sixteen-year old.This piece...

It's a nice way to add some color to a yard or garden.I'd like to do another version of this fence with a heavier line weight and with the bottles placed in separate frames that are juxtaposed at various heights...

  Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 30, 2006 plywood, primer, bottle caps, vintage car steel, brass gear, copper nails 20" x 50" x 1.5" This bottle cap mosaic fish is made from Coke and Beck's bottle caps. I love the way that the coloration of the caps mirror each...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 28, 2006 plywood, primer, bottle caps, recycled copper roofing, copper nails 20" x 50" x 1.5" This bottle cap mosaic fish is made from Coke and Beck's bottle caps. I love the way that the coloration of the caps mirror each other— Coke...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 26, 2006 plywood, primer, bottle caps, recycled copper roofing, copper nails 12" x 40" x 1.5" This bottle cap mosaic fish is made from Heineken and Becks bottle caps. The fins and tale are cut from recycled roofing copper. All the caps are partially...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 24, 2006 plywood, primer, bottle caps, recycled copper roofing, copper nails 20" x 50" x 1.5" This bottle cap mosaic fish is made from all different kinds of bottle caps— every brand that was mostly white or mostly black but uncommon enough that...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 22, 2006 bottle caps, recycled roofing copper, plywood, primer, 20" H x 27" W x 2.5" D This fish is made from Sam Adams, Reed, and Export Special bottle caps. The fins and tale are cut from recycled roofing copper. The eye...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 21, 2006 plywood, primer, bottle caps, recycled roofing copper 20" H x 27" W x 2.5" D This fish is made from Bud Light and Izze bottle caps. The fins and tale are cut from recycled roofing copper. The eye is a jar lid....

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 17, 2006 plywood, primer, bottle caps, recycled tin cans, brass nails 20" H x 27" W x 1.5" D This fish is made from Rolling Rock, Red Stripe and Pacifico bottle caps. The fins and tale are cut from recycled tin cans. The...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 15, 2006 plywood, primer, bottle caps, printed signage, brass nails 18" x 48" x 1.5" This Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish is made with Budweiser and Budweiser Select caps. The fins and tale are cut from an old enamel beer sign. The eye is a...

There's a great site here that explains the history behind them, with a bunch of photos of traditional and newer versions.Way back on Memorial Day weekend I decided it would be just the thing to add a little color to the yard. Not so...

My other blog, TypePad Hacks was featured on TypePad Featured Blogs today!...

  Click the link below to read the entire interview. Salmon, Felix. “John T Unger and Art as Investment.” Felix Salmon, 1 June 2006....

Felix Salmon just posted an email interview about my thoughts on investing in art. It all started with a comment I left on Felix's post contesting Todd Gibson's assertion that art is a poor long term investment. Yeah, that's an awkward sentence, isn't it? So go...

Do you have piles of business cards you've picked up, but no idea why they seemed important at the time? Have you ever wanted to get in touch with someone and started digging through a wad of cards, only to find that you can't tell...

Here's the other new version of the Great Bowl O Fire™. This is cut from the base of a standard LP gas tank that you would hook up to a grill… It's about 7 inches high and just a hair over a foot in diameter....

I've developed two smaller versions of the great Bowl O Fire. Both of them work best with charcoal fires rather than full-on bonfires, but since there have been some requests for smaller versions I figured it was time to expand the line. I'm just not quite...

Of the bowls you see in these pictures, I'm down to only two that are immediately available. I love the way they look all lined up across the yard… I'll be almost sad when the check arrives for the three that are scheduled to be...

I've been crazy busy cutting and grinding Great Bowls O Fire the last couple weeks. I just learned that the Topeka restaurant project is go, so that's three more sold in the last month for a total of 6. And I haven't even been trying! I...

Those of you here who aren't reading TypePad Hacks might want to nip over and check out the post I wrote earlier today about why we need blog stores. Personally, I feel like it's almost the future of the global microbrand, or at least a...

Inspired by Visual Resistance and the American Guernica Project, John Emerson is offering .pdf downloads of stencils he created based on Picasso's Guernica. Click the thumbs below to download print-ready files you can use or adapt to voice your opinion on war.     You can also download...

I don't know how many of the readers here have been checking out my new project TypePad Hacks… but for a blog that's only existed about a week, it's certainly getting interesting. Whether you're running a TypePad blog or not, I think the concepts of...

  Had a call this morning from a guy in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina who's building a water park. He wants to fit out one of my Great Bowls O' Fire with a gas burner and install it in the park along with some tiki styled...

I've been spending all my time this last week working on posts for the TypePad Hacks blog, which is why it's a bit quiet here right now. I do have a couple posts lined up about interesting business and marketing hacks for artists (and others)...

I've spent all day responding to comments and emails from the launch of TypePad Hacks. I'm really blown away and gratified at the response so far. I mean, it's only been about 28 hours since I launched the blog and made it public and already: 8...

  I've been hinting that I was up to something, and now I'm ready to spill the beans. I've just launched a new blog called TypePad Hacks and I'd love it if you go check it out. TypePad Hacks will focus on the following issues: User Design:...

It appears that I sort of have a piece of art in this year's Whitney Biennial!...

The picture above is the billboard at Sunset & Hollywood in LA, installed in 2003 by Making Art Work, an organization dedicated to stimulating interaction between people and art. In the middle of the piece, the symbol of the United Nations is painted in UV-sensitive...

There's not a great deal of info at his website on Roberto Chao's touring version of Guernica. I do think it's a nice example of one way that the painting can be publicly displayed without having to rent or co-opt a billboard. Done in four...

Here's another use of Guernica on billboards that predates my idea, found via Blur Magazine. The article linked above is well worth a read… well-written, to the point, interesting, etc. Check it out. Ron English does some interesting work, although I have to say I'm not...

I suppose there's no better acid test of whether your political commentary is on the radical side, than being scooped by Castro. It's almost a little bit scary, eh? As a protest against EU sanctions, the Cuban government erected a billboard of Guernica in front of...

Doree Shafrir's kick-ass article on the American Guernica Project went out on the Columbia News Service wire recently. It was picked up by a small handful of papers nationally. These are the ones I've found so far… The Orlando Sentinel The Naples Daily News The Arizona Republic It's sort...

“Artist enlists Picasso in fight against war,” The Orlando Sentinel, Orlando, FL , January 14, 2006,...

I finished the marble mosaic for Tommy Jenkins last week and brought it down to Chicago on this trip. Tommy does massage therapy and just opened up his own space recently. ...

I got a really nice (unsolicited) review the other day on Rick Visser's Artrift blog… Although I was initially struck by John T. Unger's 'American Guernica idea', I soon found myself altogether captivated by the quality, depth and general aspect of his work.  There is an...

In a few of the comments on American Guernica, It's been pointed out that the covering of the Guernica tapestry at the UN was done for the benefit of the TV cameras, and not as a suppression or censorship of the work itself. I'm entirely...

It just totally made my day to read about how American Guernica had been used in the classroom, especially the student's and observer's positive reactions to the idea....

“Gift Rapt: A green gift-giving guide for all the folks on your holiday list,” Grist Magazine...

The only complaint I've had about the Great Bowl O Fire is from people who don't have a large enough yard to find space for one. So, I've come up with a miniature version for the patio set. There's only enough material to make stands...

Update: American Guernica has been picking up steam. I'll be posting regular updates on the project under it's own category. I've written here before about the idea of open-sourcing art projects to involve as many participants as possible. American Guernica is a perfect test case for...

I get a lot of my ideas by looking at things and wondering "what isn't it," or "what didn't I see?" For instance, the other day I was out at a friend's studio and noticed a bunch of birds hanging out on a telephone...

[rev_slider alias="ShawverMosaicDone"]   The biggest reason for my last trip to Chicago was to finish up the Solar System Mosaic for Britt Shawver. Mya and I spent three weeks there earlier this summer, but we had almost finished when we ran out of some supplies which happened...

[rev_slider alias="galaxy2Kinetic"]   More pics I meant to post a long time ago… Back in February Kathleen Glynn and Michael Moore purchased Galaxy No. 2 for their Torch Lake home. She asked me to store it for them until the snow lifted and they had a space...

I took these pics a few weeks ago as I was getting ready to make the four new bottle cap fish for Vale Craft Gallery. This is what it looks like when I'm sorting beer caps for my mosaics. Actually, this is a lot better than...

When I arrived in Chicago, my back was so out of whack that I could barely walk… too much work, too little sleep and way too much heavy lifting this month. Britt sent me off immediately to see Tommy Jenkins, a total freakin' genius massage...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 12, 2005 plywood, primer, bottle caps, bronze sheet, rake, brass nails 18" x 55.5" x 1.5" This fish is made from Red Stripe and Becks bottle caps. The fins and tale are cut from an antique gasoline can. The eye is recycled roofing...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 10, 2005 plywood, primer, bottle caps, bronze sheet, rake, brass nails 18" x 55.5" x 1.5" This fish is made from Amstel Light and Bass Ale bottle caps. The fins are cut from bronze plate and the tail is a rake. All the caps...

Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish No. 8, 2005 plywood, primer, bottle caps, tin can, stainless steel nails 12" x 35.5" x 1.5" This Bottle Cap Mosaic Fish is made with two different styles of Bud Light caps. The fins are cut from tin cans and the tail comes from...

This one I absolutely love. The form itself is really dynamic and interesting, so I felt like it would probably work just fine to leave it be, but I wanted to find a way to use the space which the form wraps around. I toyed...

I'm really pleased with the way this one worked out. I may add a heavier base to to make it more stable… On a level surface it stands quite well, but it is a wee bit top-heavy and I suppose it's better to take into...

Scrappy Rooster: Scrapyard Abstract No. 2, 2005 Recycled steel. 33" x 21" x 12"...

Scrappy Rooster: Scrapyard Abstract No. 2, 2005 Recycled steel. 33" x 21" x 12"...

The sculpture above looks a bit like a fish on the one side and a bird on the other… but what it really reminds me of are terra cotta ocarinas I've seen from Mexico and South America. I love the patina on it, although...

Little Colossus started out as a base for Galaxy No. 3 but soon made it clear that it wanted to be it's own sculpture. There are some photos on the studio blog from before it was painted that show some of the cool tricks...

It's all done and installed. Yay! Actually, there is the little matter of going back next month and dying the grout in the background to match the black tile more closely, but other than that it's done and installed. I think there's one last step...

The Alden Art Fair was last weekend and I must say it really exceeded my expectations. Even though Saturday started out looking rainy and grim, sales were through the roof and commission talk ran hot. You can bet I'll be doing the show again next...

Anyone who's been through Alden lately has noticed that the new sign for the bank has been installed… at least mostly. The concrete slab needs to thoroughly cure before I can bolt the sign down, so at present it's heavily braced. In another few weeks,...

There's nothing that pleases me more than making something really refined from scrap— I bought 8 of these cut-out panels last summer thinking they would work well for "instant" fence sections, but I never got around to using them until last week. Actually, that's not...

I had hoped to be done with mortaring the tile in place by the end of last night, but I ended up packing it in with sore knees at 2 am. C'est la vie. Fortunately, I have an extra day, so I'll finish it up...

Once the adhesive was dry on the cement board, the next step was to see how closely the mosaic would fit the sign form— Both were created using the same drawing, but given that they were being made separately, in two different locations, by 3...

I've been working all week on installing the mosaic into the sign structure. The structure weighs about 300 pounds, so I decided to do the installation right in the trailer rather than try to get it out and back in again. The upside is that...

The coolest thing about using Sicis tile on the trout mosaics is that the irridescent surface of the tile so closely resembles the actual scales of a live fish. Click on the image to the left to see both the normal and irridized colors of...

  Last Saturday was the big fundraising auction for the Red Cross. All the bears were on display and went to the highest bidders.I was kind of pleased, when I pulled up, to see that my bear had been chosen to greet everyone as they first...

“Mood, warmth… and a little poetry,” Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, August 14, 2005, Section four, 3....

So, it's cram week for the next two weeks while I make new work for the Alden Art & Craft Fair. Mya and I are working on a few smaller mosaic fish, using leftover Sicis glass from the big trout sign and some nice metallic...

We almost finished the trout yesterday… there's just a wee bit of the tail left, which Mya is working on now. Today should be the end of the detail work on the mosaic sign. I started the lettering last night and should be done with...

While Mya and I were in Chicago a few weeks ago, we stopped in to visit Tony Racky at the Lakeview Baseball Club. Tony is a dream client— he's easy to work with, fun to hang out with and enthusiastic about the projects we've worked...

When I first began making art it was really something I did for myself… I had relatively expensive taste in primitive art and decided that it would just be more economical to make my own than to spend several fortunes on the Central African work...

Public art projects have the potential to unite or divide communities. Public artworks have proven to have a highly beneficial impact when community residents feel they have been consulted, informed, involved and invited to participate. When a community feels a large scale project has been...

Here's a bunch of photos of progress on the mosaic project. I've got to get busy finishing the installation, so I'm going to let the pics largely speak for themselves....

For those of you in the Chicago Area, the Great Bowl O' Fire can be seen in person at Ridge Art, in Oak Park. Laurie bought one for own yard and will be displaying it at the gallery through the end of summer. Because she...

Vistas is a series of identical sculptures designed for installation in a site-specific context in multiple locations. The iconic steel window sculptures are intended to frame unconventionally beautiful scenery—views specific to the character of a place but unlikely to show up on a postcard. Examples...

A few months ago I designed a fence for a residence in Chicago that seemed perfect for public art opportunities. Based on the idea of advent calendars, the fence featured Mondrian like grids of doors which, when opened, would reveal steel silhouettes. From a public art...

Well, I was going to wait until the bear went to his summer home at Bay Harbor until posting the final pics of the finished, grouted bear. But he looked so good, all shiny and white and gleaming in the sun...

                          About CANtern Hand-cut Luminaries What I enjoy about making the CANtern luminaries is the way they allow me to think in the exact opposite way I do when I make fences or sculpture… When...

Reviews and links are heating up for the Great Bowl O' Fire™! I think the best thing about living with dial-up instead of high speed internet has gotta be the way it makes your "fifteen minutes of fame" stretch out the whole evening. heh. This almost...

  Jardin, Xeni. “Hot-Rod Style Fire Pit.” Boing Boing, 1 June 2005....

  The Fish design has been my best seller from day one. Everybody needs more fish! The light shadows this one casts are really cool, like a whole shimmering trout stream swimming in the dark, flicking their tails as the candle shimmers. To see all currently available...

I spent the last couple days working on this project, which I've been dying to do for months. The firepit is cut from the end of a propane tank and the legs are from some kind of farm implement. After extensive testing (heh) I've decided...

  The Electro Tiger Kitty design has always been my favorite of the Cantern designs. It's also the most difficult to get right. To see all currently available designs of CANtern Luminaries go here. To learn more, read the CANtern FAQ page. 100% recycled content. Hand made and signed by the...

Okay, I'll admit that I'm the kind of person who can really overthink a simple thing. I've spent the last two years putting off making a sign for the studio because I wanted to do something so freakin' fantastic that people would slam on their...

CANtern: Recycled Tin Can Petroglyph Luminary click thumbnail to view larger image.   The Petroglyph Canterns are my jazz moment… I make them up as I go along and although they are similar, none are really the same. Each one features different characters loosely based...

The Scarab Beetle was sacred to the Ancient Egyptians as a symbol of the sun traveling across the sky. This Scarab Cantern will light up your yard or patio all evening unless his cousin the June Bug flies into the candle and puts it out....

The Radiant Heart CANtern shows rays illuminating outward from the heart in a symbol of universal and growing love. To see all currently available designs of CANtern Luminaries go here. To learn more, read the CANtern FAQ page. 100% recycled content. Hand made and signed by the artist. Holes in the...