John Unger

John Unger

Sculptural Firebowls — what I’m known for

The power of fire and the strength of steel fused in elemental elegance to create sculptural fine art reborn from the ashes of industry.

I make sculpture from scrap industrial steel, cutting by hand with a plasma torch at 45,000° Farenheit. That’s 4.5 times as hot as the surface of the Sun or the Earth’s core.

My Sculptural Firebowls are intended to have an immediate visual appeal as well as providing a story, meaning, and social interaction. They offer an opportunity to gaze into the fire and connect with the human questions that have enticed every imagination since we first gathered around a captive flame over a million years ago.

I created the first Great Bowl O’ Fire on May 30, 2005. I had no idea at the time that it would become the work I was most known for. In the seven years since I created the first Great Bowl O’ Fire, my art has set the world aflame— I’ve shipped over a thousand Sculptural Firebowls to all 50 states and 12 countries.

My Sculptural Firebowls have been widely covered in books, magazines, newspapers, radio and television. HGTV and DIY Network frequently feature my work on their shows and I’ve been featured in both the Business and Home sections of the New York Times.

Artist’s Statement — how I make art and why

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.

Surprise and beauty are a good start, but I expect more and so should you. As an artist and designer, I am committed to sustainable design practices and materials in the following ways:

I work primarily with recycled or re-used materials. This is the best way I know to minimize my impact on natural resources, climate and the environment. I feel creative re-use has the potential to spark new ways of looking at the world… if one thing can be turned into another, what else can we change? Successful recycled art and design encourages creativity in others— it’s alchemical, magical, subversive, and transformative by nature.

Work by John Unger