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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...

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...

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...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

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...

  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:...

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...

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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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...

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!...

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...

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...

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...

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 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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

I've written before about how collaboration among artists is a more viable economic strategy than competition. If you're an artist, and you're still convinced that every dollar that goes to another artist is coming out of your pocket, allow me to provide you with a...

The former base for Galaxy No. 3 has transformed itself into my first stabile… The lines of the piece really work, which, in an odd way, made it difficult deciding how to finish this sculpture. Every time I looked at it, I like it from multiple angles...

Artists often collaborate on making work. I've written in the past about how collaboration can help artists to increase their earnings far more than competition. Now, I'm entertaining the idea of collectors collaborating to purchase work together that they might not be able to afford...

I've been spending a lot of time lately working in the studio and cleaning up the property, preparing for the summer season. Every evening, I come in, sit down to post about a new piece or catch up on stuff I wanted to cover during...

I finished Galaxy No. 3 yesterday, just around sundown. I was determined to get photos online last night, racing the clock to get the new base installed and then set the vane in place… I got the pics, but by the time I'd finished putting...

      Here's a fun concept… The ScrewIt! Chair & Table set. Decide where you want them and just screw them into the lawn. The idea has been knocking around in my head for the last year or so, ever since I found the big dock augurs...

Okay, so I'm a control freak when it comes to design. I might as well just fess up to that immediately. I'm used to being able to order steel cut to a 10,000/inch. I'm used to doing extremely detailed mosaics with subtle shading. Heck, back...

The Brooklyn Museum is currently showing a retrospective of Jean Michel Basquiat's paintings and drawings. I'd love to post a review of the show, but unfortunately I'm not quite in a position to fly to NYC just for one show. Not yet, anyway… which is...

A couple nights ago, I called Marilyn Houlberg just to chat and fill her in on all the cool stuff that's been happening lately. Marilyn's kind of what I call my "art mom," she's been there from the very beginning…in fact she was the first person who ever bought...

So many exciting things have been going on that I just haven't had time to cover most of them in the blog… from out there, it probably seems pretty quiet—from here, the deafening roar of success is like standing under a 747 as it lands. A man could...

"I don't claim to be invulnerable, but the one thing I insist on is that I can't be croaked except when I give the word." HST, in a letter to Don Cooke, May 2, 1965 I guess the great Doctor of Journalism...

Hugh Macleod, author of How To Be Creative and The Hughtrain Manifesto just posted at Gapingvoid about some of the conversations he and I have been having on art, business and my new ArtBuzz Blog. Woo Hoo! You can read what he has to say here....

It's been non-stop here for the last week. Wednesday: Finished building my new trailer. Thursday: Drove down to Rochester to pick up my art from the solo show at Designhaus, continuing on to Ferndale to drop off a mosaic for the Dirty Show, which opens February 11....

If you're going to work in the arts, there are three things you must have—Time, Space & Resources (Resources meaning materials and tools, or the money to get them). You absolutely need all three and you must have them simultaneously. In fact, this is probably true regardless of what...

My most recent mosaic, Erastes & Eromenos, has been selected for the 6th annual Dirty Show: Feb 11 -14th, held this year at the Tangent Gallery & Hastings Street Ballroom, Detroit, MI. I can hardly wait to go to this opening… tales of past events suggest it...

I have a solo show up at Designhaus in Rochester, MI through the first week of January. The opening has already passed, but there is still plenty of time to see the show if you happen to be in the area. The show features furniture, sculpture and kinetic...

I entered my Dot! Chair in the Modern + Design + Function – Chicago Furniture Now contest cosponsored by Design Within Reach and Ten by Ten Magazine. I don't know what the odds are, but I can say that the folks who answer the phone at...

We had pretty big crowds for the opening of the metals show at the Jordan River Arts Council. At least four of the newspapers in the area ran articles about the show and the workshops. I was pleased to see a big photo of myself in...

I'll be teaching a workshop on making mobiles at Jordan River Arts Council, in conjunction with the Malleable Metals exhibit. From the press release: "Artist John T. Unger will lead a class in creating mobiles for the garden or home. Mr. Unger's kinetic sculptures are included in...

Here's a couple new pieces I made for the Malleable Metals Show, opening this Saturday (September 18) at the Jordan River Arts Council. The exhibit runs Oct. 24 - Nov. 14, Gallery hours are 1-4 p.m. daily. JRAC is located at 301 Main Street, East Jordan, MI,...

Saturday was the annual art show at Pinehill Nursery. I finally finished up the frog fountain and got it running for the show. Now that I've seen the piece operational, I can't wait to do more fountains...

After an exhaustive, month-long search for a company that can cut steel on a CNC plasma table from Adobe Illustrator files, I had finally been forced to concede defeat. Apparently, it's just not possible. So now I'm in the position of having to find someone willing to let...

This entire month has been a waiting game: tools back-ordered, contacts on vacation, week-long waits on materials quotes...

Hugh's advice on How to be Creative seems designed to speak predominantly to the advertising and business world. I think he's right that, as the world changes, this is stuff they'll need to learn and practice. But most of his advice is just as valuable to artists and others...

I've spent the last week obsessively reading Hugh Macleod's blog, from top to bottom. I love the cartoons (rude, amoral, utterly true and funny as hell). His advice on How to be Creative is brilliant, and spot-on. But the main reason it took me all week to read (aside from my...

Okay, yeah, it's been very quiet here for a while. Too quiet. If this blog were a horror movie, right about now is when someone would look over their shoulder as the axe came down. Hey, lucky you! There's no axe! Part of the quiet was due...

Here's a sign I did last summer for the Frankie Machine Community Garden, at  1800 W. Hadden Avenue in Chicago. It never made it onto my main website because there wasn't an obvious place to put it. The garden had been having problems with Nelson Algren fans stealing their...

I delivered Galaxy no. 1 and Galaxy no. 2 to the gallery this afternoon. I had intended to get photos with the gardens in the background, but we decided to locate Galaxy no. 2 right by the road to catch traffic, and Galaxy no. 1 looks really good...

In my email today, I found the following: "Hi John: So happy to tell you that your Acrobat Fence is in the Gallery section of my new book. I wanted to let you know the book is on schedule and the publication date is March 1, 2005....

Lately, life has been handing me perfect examples to illustrate some of the issues I want to write about, regarding the business of art and how networking and collaboration play into it. Today, for example, I seem to have found a life-time supply of high grade bearings for...

I asked my friend Neil Verplank to write up a description of the collaborative work environment which has evolved in his shared shop space. Below is what he sent me, in his own words sans edit. You can see his excellent hand-crafted furniture on his website: Dovetail Custom Furniture....

I met with the Pathways Arts Council board of directors today in Kalkaska, to talk with about the possibility of taking a position on the board when their elections come up in September. Sharyn Susinko had approached me with the idea some time ago. So, she and I...

In my email this morning I had good news from Christy MacLear, owner of Fleur Fine Art gallery (she also owns both my bottle cap mermaid sculptures La Siren I and La Siren II). Christy put together a proposal on behalf of myself and other artists...

Rebecca, one of the owners of the Cycling Salamander Gallery, wrote me a nice note this morning about how the piece I did for them has been received...

Of all the sculpture I've done, one of my favorites is the one pictured below—except, it isn't actually a sculpture—it's a bending tool I built last winter. What I love about this thing is that although I threw it together one evening to get a job done, it...

Here's the drawing for my next project; window security grates for a client in Chicago. There are four windows, in various sizes, so the design had to be adapted to fit each, but it scaled quite nicely. The orange color represents copper pieces riveted over the steel. The grates will...

A gallery in Reston, Virginia contacted me recently to talk about purchasing wholesale… They were very excited about some of my furniture, but weren't really sure they could move the work at the prices I needed to get in order to make things practical on...

I will be showing a new kinetic piece on the patio, the Grasschopper, pictured here. The fan blade used in this piece came from the exhaust fan in the studio that collapsed last winter. I remanufactured the blades from copper and it now spins quite...

I will be showing two pieces in the Annual Invitational Art Exhibition at the Jordan River Arts Council. The Return to Childhood Rocking Chair, and the Anima Sola/Marinette Altar that I built for Marilyn Houlberg over the winter. If you're in the area, come check...

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