John T. Unger

"My work is intended to be useful as well as beautiful, I enjoy the practical aspect of art and feel that engineering is as critical as ingenuity."

John T. Unger's creative mandate is "sustainable design with an edge." He works primarily with recycled or re-used materials to minimize impact on natural resources, climate and the environment. His functional art is designed for permanence and is intended to last for generations. Drawing from primal metaphor and classical elements of design that speak to what it means to be human and alive. Unger creates objects that will never go out of style.

John T. Unger's Artisanal Firebowls are unique works of art hand-crafted from 100% recycled steel. No two are exactly alike, as every bowl is drawn and cut free-hand. The design and craft of Unger's artwork owes a debt to the fifteen years he devoted to poetry and performance; he encodes meaning into his materials by marrying technique and metaphor. Using a torch to cut flame images into a tank for flammable gas to create a firebowl is a perfect example of how his materials and ideas work together.

John T. Unger has spent a lifetime in training for his career in the arts; at age eight he taught himself how to cast recycled lead melted over an open fire and learned to forge intricate toys working with steel, copper, brass and semi-precious stones. Graduating from the writing program at Interlochen Arts Academy led to an interest in publishing and graphic design. Unger worked as a freelance illustrator and designer while developing his fine art and chose to work full time as an artist in 2000. Unger specializes in combining techniques from different media to create hybrid designs.


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