Custom Security Grates with Kinetic Sculpture Design

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 give them a more dynamic and interactive presence.

Fiery Fleur-de-lis firebowls on Lake Okanagan near Kelowna, BC

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Modern Luxury visits Rumfire, films Great Bowl O' Fire

Modern Luxury got some awesome video of my Great Bowl O' Fire firebowls at RumFire while doing a feature on the restaurant.

Great Bowls O' Fire at Tiki Beach, Grand Cayman

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 firebowls, Tiki Beach has already become a navigational landmark for sailors.

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The Big Bowl O' Zen firebowl at Southwest Porch in Bryant Park, NYC

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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 expensive hotels and resorts, Southwest Airlines is giving all of New York an al fresco lounge to celebrate its new service to LaGuardia Airport.

Plus, stop by The Porch with your laptop, iPod, or cell phone for a different type of refueling – power outlets are available to keep all of your devices going.

The Porch is open every day, serving specialty snacks and drinks provided by ‘wichcraft. Founded by New York chef Tom Colicchio of craft, craftbar and craftsteak, ’wichcraft has received numerous accolades for its inventive menu and dedication to using high quality, seasonal ingredients. New York Magazine has named ‘wichcraft one of New York’s "best cheap eats" two years in a row.

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Great Bowls O' Fire at the Parc Hotel, Honolulu, HI

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Three of my Great Bowl O' Fire firebowls adorn the roof top pool at Parc Blue.

Waikiki Parc Hotel is the chicest boutique address in Waikiki featuring urban tropical interiors, rich ebony hardwoods, illuminated glass walls, undulating acrylic panels and selective works of bold art combined with innovative aesthetic technology and warm, personalized service. The property boasts a seductive roof top pool called Parc Blue, a sophisticated hospitality center called Connect, a contemporary conference center called Merge and the hottest restaurant in Oahu, Nobu Waikiki.

Great Bowls O' Fire at Rumfire

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One of the best photos I have of the Great Bowl O' Fire was shot at Rumfire, Waikiki Beach. The eight firebowls at the beach front patio have become one of the hallmarks of the restaurant. One of these days I am totally gonna have to visit Honolulu and try their amazing selection of rums.

Located in the heart of Waikiki, RumFire promises to be Oahu's hippest place to see and be seen.  Set against the alluring backdrop of Diamond Head, the oceanfront hideaway offers the largest selection of vintage rum in the United States, an amazing choice of food and fire pits adorning the 7,000 square-foot interior.

Bottle Cap Fish Mosaic No. 51

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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 Chevy van of some kind… the grooves in the car body metal were perfect for fins.

The other difference between this and No. 47 are the silver caps. On No. 47, I used the old style of Bud Light caps which have been discontinued. Here, I used Becks for both the face and the silver belly. I wasn't sure I liked the silver Becks caps until I started the Heineken rows. The red shields on the Becks caps tie in well with the Heineken red stars, and the Becks shields in the face area. The most interesting thing about working with small patterned units like the bottle caps is the way that, from a distance, the colors on each bran of cap become like the Benday dots in printing to create one solid color tone from multiple small bits of color.

Art Is War so Hazel Dooney is Rallying Reinforcements for John T. Unger

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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 than within the traditional gallery system.

Hazel has always been an ardent and vehemently vocal supporter of the rights of the independent artist. My decision to use art as a means of fighting the injustice facing me was inspired by Hazel's example of using art and social media to level the playing field between those who make art and those who attempt to control it. This is an opportunity to purchase a Hazel Dooney original at a price which is affordable and help in the fight for a good cause that is in the interest of ALL artists.

Hazel has graciously donated one of each color of her recent NO! Stencils – except the white. The donated prints are faux-fluorescent lime, Dooney pink, industrial safety orange, papal purple and pitch black. Each is a signed artist's proof, endorsed on the back with the words, "Artist's proof sold to defend the rights of John T. Unger" and signed by both Hazel Dooney and John T. Unger.

The prints are 40cm x 60cm (or 15.7” x 23.6”), hand-stencilled in high gloss enamel on 64cm x 86cm (or 25.2" x 33.9") 100% cotton, museum-quality, white Alpharag 4ply archival board.

To see the full edition of the YES? and NO! prints, visit Hazel's site, where you can buy individual prints or the full series from the artist.

There are five editions of 25 signed and numbered (on front) prints of each image, in five different colors: faux-fluorescent lime, Dooney pink, industrial safety orange, papal purple and pitch black.

The 'artist's proof' edition is limited to 10 prints of each image, signed and numbered, in virginal white gloss enamel on matt white board.

It's intended that different versions of the same – or opposite – messages can be hung together.

Since 2006, Hazel Dooney has emerged as one of the Asia-Pacific region's most controversial young female artists. According to the Australian Financial Review, she "walks the razor's edge between respect and celebrity in today's artworld" (September, 2006). Her work in various media has hung in solo and group shows Australia, the USA, the UK and Japan and is included in private, corporate and institutional collections in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, the UK, and the USA.

You can learn more about (and from) Hazel Dooney on her web site, blog and Twitter. A great introduction to her work, career and ideas can be found in the recent intervies she did for Lateral Action and Hugh MacLeod's Gaping Void blog.

If you are an artist and would like to contribute art to the Legal Defense Fund Sale you can do so by uploading your art (or a link to an online listing) here.

Defend Art: The First 24 Hours

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 brought against me.

I knew my friends would care. I expected a few blog posts and hopefully some support to help me continue to defend my art, but the response has been far beyond anything I could have imagined. I am awed, humbled and inspired by the way this story has spread and the incredible number of people who care… and by how deeply they care.

I want to thank you not only for your financial support, but more importantly, your emotional and moral encouragement during this time. This has been a tough year and the last couple days are the first time I've felt encouraged in a long time. By assisting in funding our fight in this lawsuit, you are not only helping our case, but showing support of all artists struggling with similar battles.

The most important thing I have to tell you today is this:

In my first appeal for help I wrote: "If you have a blog, please write a post and link to this page. Feel free to quote as much of this post as you like or to write about it in your own words. It is important to stick to the facts and to avoid derogatory language."

It is very important for all of us to take the ethical high ground in this issue and not to bully, threaten or malign the other side. I know better than anyone that this is an emotional issue for artists but don't make us look bad as a group by being hateful. Lets tell the story sticking to the facts. Let's raise awareness of the issues without resorting to name calling or other defamatory statements. The facts should be sufficient. By keeping it clean, it makes us look like the creative professionals we are.

Please be responsible with your actions. A few people left comments on Facebook or contacted the other side directly and this does not help our case. Remember that the goal is to try the merits of the case in court… I've written about this case so that we can raise the money to get there.

I hope to use what I've learned to educate other artists about their rights, and how they can best protect their own creations from falling prey to a similar situation. Please pass my message on, not only in support of my case, but in support of all artists.

I have registered the domain defendart.org and when this is over, I hope to set up a foundation to help other artists in need of legal assistance. Any money I raise that is not eaten up by court costs will be used for this purpose. Currently the only legal aid groups for artists that I have found operate only within the boundaries of each state. I can't find a national organization. In my state, Michigan, the legal program for artists was closed due to lack of funding. It's obvious from the stories I've heard on Twitter, in email, on forums and elsewhere that we need something like this and I believe that artists could work together to make it happen.

Because that's what artists do, actually: when they see something that should exist but doesn't, they build it.

Now that I see how many of us there are and how incredibly we can pull together I have a larger vision for #defendart. I think there's a way to raise funds that can protect artists when other options fail them.

Here's what we accomplished together in the first 24 hours after I posted my story:

  • The page on my site had 49476 page views
  • The bit.ly URL to the site had over 17000 clicks
  • It's hard to tell exactly, but I estimate that there were about 100,000 tweets about this story
  • Over 30 people posted about the story to their blogs
  • The Fire Imps project on Kickstarter went from 12 backers to 99!
  • More than 50 people donated on my site here. (and I haven't counted how many since yesterday yet).
  • I've had hundreds of emails and calls of support.
  • Artists have offered to donate their work to a fundraising sale. I think we'll do this.
  • Etsy seller Whimsy Beading has offered to donate 15% of sales this week to the defense fund.
  • Ryan Barton of Rhynomarketing.com created a great graphic to use to promote awareness.

If you are an artist who wants to donate a portion of etsy sales to the fund, or art for a fundraising sale email or message me on twitter and I'll promote your efforts in return. I think we could have an amazing online art sale with some of the best art the internet has to offer. It could be a great way to show solidarity while putting great work in front of a new audience. I'm still working on the details of the best way to make it happen and will post an update as soon as I figure it out.

We need to keep the momentum that we've built going if this is to succeed. Let's take a stand for all artists and show the world that we can defend our art. But Please, please, please remember that we have to do it in a way that is acceptable and beyond reproach. Keep spreading the story but do so with a civil and responsible manner.

Thanks again to everyone who has participated so far. I am just so excited to see how much people care about ethics in the arts. Let's continue to focus on the positive aspects of what we can do to show how much we care.

John T. Unger