Whenever we get a heavy snow in Boulder and I share a photo of my buried patio, you’ll see an ornate, flame-carved fire pit in the shot (filled with snow, naturally). It’s a custom design crafted out of recycled propane tanks by artist John T. Unger.
As someone else who took to blogging in the early days, John and I have known each other for quite awhile. He originally started out as a poet, and created his first fire bowl simply because he thought it was a cool idea.
Soon, however, John’s work was featured on mega-blog Boing Boing, and then picked up by mainstream media outlets like the New York Times and NPR. Quite suddenly, John was in serious business.
You’ll hear why he protects his designs from manufacturers who steal them, even as he refuses to become a scalable “manufacturer” himself, choosing to craft each bowl by hand. It’s all about the perpetual side hustle – getting paid to do something that funds the next interesting project.
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The Show Notes
The Economics of Artistic Integrity
John Unger: Hi, my name is John T. Unger. I'm an artist best known for my sculptural firebowls, and I was born punk rock and unemployable.
Voiceover: Welcome to Unemployable, the show for people who can get a job, they're just not inclined to take one, and that's putting it gently. In addition to this podcast, thousands of freelancers and entrepreneurs get actionable advice and other valuable resources from the weekly Unemployable email newsletter. Join us by registering for our free Profit Pillars course, or choose to sign up for the newsletter only, at no charge. Simply head over to Unemployable.com, and take your business and lifestyle to the next level.
Brian Clark: John, my man, how are you?
John Unger: I'm good. How are you?
Brian Clark: Things are going well, I have to say. I'm excited that you're on the show. We go way back. I'm a proud customer of yours. I take pictures of that firebowl all the time and post them on the interwebs, which I hope leads to people buying.
John Unger: Yeah, me too.
Brian Clark: I guess we have no data on this. Whether I am influential in the firebowl world, I don't know, but it's a damn fine piece.
John Unger: You've got a slightly customized one that will remain unique, where I cut flames inside the flames, so you've got a really nice piece.
Brian Clark: I know. I think that's pretty much how you sold me. I'm like, “I'm thinking of buying one of your firebowls.” You're like, “Well, let me do this for you,” which was very nice, actually. I think I paid extra. I don't know.
John Unger: Actually, I think you might not have, but that would be a rare occasion.
Brian Clark: All right, I'm going to take that as a very gracious gesture on your part. Let's quit playing inside baseball. Tell people what you do briefly. Then I want to go back and trace how we got here.
How Firebowls Became ‘The Thing' for John
John Unger: Okay, sounds good. The thing I am best known for, and the thing that pays the bills, are the sculptural firebowls. What those are, are luxury fire features made from recycled industrial tanks that come in a wide variety of designs–very simple ones, very ornate ones. They're valued for the craftsmanship, design, and the story that goes in to them.
I make them all myself, as the artist. They're all hand-cut from 100 percent recycled steel. They've been featured in The New York Times a couple times, a lot on HGTV and DIY, PBS. They've brought in a lot of attention, but they're not the only thing I do. They're just the thing that really pays the bills and that I'm best known for.
Brian Clark: Let's talk about that a little bit. Another theme on Unemployable is side projects–whether they become the thing, or the reason you do the other thing is so you can do that.
John Unger: Yeah. It's funny. I want to go back a little bit further since we're doing, “How did you get here?” For the first 15 years of my creative career, I was a poet. I got as far as winning a poetry slam and doing poetry live on stage at Lollapalooza. That was pretty great. I was just trying to figure out what year that was, recently, and found a Google book result that blamed the Lollapalooza poetry stage …
Brian Clark: I think that's how you and I and Robert Bruce all started hanging out, and talking to each other online. Two poets, and me, I'm not sure what the connection was there.
John Unger: You and Hugh, and I think Kleon, and I all got into the blogging sphere at the very beginning when it was a new thing. There were maybe 500 bloggers? Everybody kind of knew each other.
Brian Clark: Yeah, that's true. It's been a decade, and sometimes I forget. It's just like, “These are my friends. I don't even remember how we first started hanging out,” but I'm glad that we did because some of the smartest, most creative people,” just in the names you listed off.
John Unger: Yeah, exactly. That was back in a time when comments, they were something you wanted to read. People had conversations and really explored ideas.
Brian Clark: It wasn't a traffic strategy, which is pfft.
John Unger: It wasn't a traffic strategy. Most of the tools we use all the time now didn't exist yet. Twitter wasn't around. Facebook, if it was around, was still tiny.
Brian Clark: It was still in dorm rooms at that time.
John Unger: I think it was. This was 10 or 11 years ago. I know we met before I did the first Great Ball O' Fire, and the anniversary of that is coming up on the 30th of this month. It will be 11 years.
Brian Clark: Wow.
John Unger: Yeah, I know. Crazy, right? I thought I was only going to make one. I thought it was a cool idea–“I'll make one.” I had no idea.
Brian Clark: Let's talk about that. How many stories have we heard where people said, “This isn't a thing. This is just something I want to do.” Then it turns out to be the thing.
John Unger: Exactly. I put it out there. It got picked up on Boing Boing and a bunch of other sites, and people wanted more of them. At this point, I've shipped 1,829.
Brian Clark: Amazing, and you make them all yourself. The thing here that I think is amazing … we talk a lot about digital products. Our company, except for our live events, everything is digital. That was a very conscious choice on my part. You make real stuff made out of steel.
Talk a little bit about your innovation and your popularity, leading to copycats who do not share, I would say … I don't know if we want to call it an ‘ethical' or an ‘artistic' sensibility about why you do this work. Talk about that for a bit.
Artistic Integrity, the Ill Effects of Confusion in the Marketplace, and Working with What You've Got
John Unger: Sure. I was the very first person to take a propane tank and turn it into a fire feature. Around 2009, it would have been about four years in, we had a copycat who reproduced my entire line. That led to some litigation that lasted about a year, cost a fortune–I'm sure on both sides–was settled out of court.
We had to go do mediation in front of a federal judge, which we were lucky with the judge we got. It took 12 hours. A lot of people would have bailed and said, “Come back later.” Anyway, we managed to preserve our designs, and we do have copyright on our designs. Everybody is used to the idea of patents being the thing. Copyright's a lot stronger. It lasts until I've been dead for 70 years. A patent lasts for, what, 14 years is it? Copyright's stronger.
Brian Clark: You have the benefit of not having digital copies that escape into the ether. There's really nothing we can do about it–which, even though we're in the copyright business, as writers and software creators, it's just very difficult to do anything about. Yet I don't think a lot of people realize you can copyright a design that becomes a fire-burning piece of steel.
John Unger: What's interesting is the motivation here. We've shut down about 16 copycats now. The reason we do it isn't because they're making money. It's not because we're losing sales. It hurts when somebody steals your idea, but that's also not why we do it.
The reason we do it is because, if somebody makes a credible copy that someone might mistake for my own work and the buyer has a bad experience with that person, because I'm well-known, they're likely to lay that bad experience at my door.
Brian Clark: That's the reason why you enforce your trademarks as well.
John Unger: That's why. Exactly.
Brian Clark: It's confusion in the marketplace that can hurt you beyond sales.
John Unger: Exactly. Reputation is everything, online or off. We work really hard to make sure that everyone that buys from us is happy. A lot of people who copy somebody else's idea, their main motivation is, “Oh, I see a product that's doing well. Let's make a quick buck.” They may not be as invested in the experience that their customers have.
Brian Clark: I would imagine anyone who copies someone else's work is not necessarily the first person you want to do business with.
John Unger: That's sort of what I'm saying.
Brian Clark: I just had to rephrase that a little bit.
Using the Tools at Your Disposal and the Importance of Owning Your Own Domain
John Unger: Yeah. That's why we protect our ideas. But every year or two, I try something else to see if that will take off because I have lots of ideas. I'm an artist. That's my job. I've done everything from these really cool mood rings that were hollow with a screw cap and a glass face, and they had little emoticons in them.
Instead of a mood ring that tells you what mood you're in, which I think you ought to know, this was the idea that, “Oh, you can tell the world what mood you're in,” which is much more useful. But that project failed.
We did these flatpack firebowls that had a really cool way of assembling and disassembling with no tools. It takes five minutes. They had a built-in, automatic ignition. They were already wired for propane or natural gas, but they were stainless steel that was an eighth of an inch thick. Just making one cost me $1,100. So they were pretty expensive.
Those didn't really move. I spent maybe $30,000 altogether on that project between prototypes and working with one of the guys that wrote the commercial code for gas appliances to make sure that it would meet code, and what not.
Back in the day when you and I first met and we didn't have tools, Etsy didn't exist. I was a really early seller online with art. The only way to get paid was PayPal. That was it. I worked with a lot of companies to try and develop some of the tools that we use now. I didn't start on Typepad, but that's where I spent most of my online blogging career. I worked with them.
They made maybe 30 changes to the platform based on our relationship, to improve it because the tools weren't there, and I was like, “This is what I want to do. I want to sell art online. Let's make this work better.” I've talked with Etsy a lot. They have an office here in Hudson where I live now, and we talk sometimes. It's cool.
The thing is, as you well know, if you're going to build a business online, you have to own your own domain. You have to own your space. As much as I love Etsy, and as much as I've been selling there for a long time, it's not a big part of where we sell. Maybe if I promoted it more it would be, but I'd rather promote the domain I own.
Brian Clark: Of course. I want to go back a little bit cause you were talking about experimentation and failure, and it's just part of the process, very matter of fact. This is why I always try to advocate more of an artistic sensibility when it comes to entrepreneurism, when it comes to even marketing.
It goes back to Seth Godin's definition of creativity, which is different than mine, but it's still apt in that he said, “This may not work.” Being willing to do that instead of, “Oh, this might not work. I'm not going to do it.” I think an artist says, “I'm doing it.”
Why Artistic Sensibility Is an Essential Element of Entrepreneurism
John Unger: It's not interesting if you know it's going to work, honestly. One of the things that's been in my Twitter bio and stuff for a long time is, “Impossibility Remediation Specialist.”
Brian Clark: Love it.
John Unger: You tell me it's impossible, and I'll tell you six ways that it's probably possible. That still doesn't mean it's going to work.
Brian Clark: It just means you're going to try.
John Unger: Well, or it means you might even solve the problem, create the product, and then find out people don't really want it that much. That's one reason Kickstarter is cool. You can find out a little earlier on before you've spent a fortune, whether or not people want it.
Brian Clark: That's another interesting point because you don't strike me as the type who does a whole lot of market research. Of course, I advocate to people that they do, and people think that means, if you succeed, you have some sort of magical super power. No, it really just means that you tried something that fulfilled an existing need. Clearly, there is a desire for art, and there is a desire for receptacles to burn things in. When you combine those two, that's my definition of creativity.
John Unger: Right. People look at art and they're like, “I could do that”–which is sometimes true, sometimes not.
Brian Clark: But you didn't.
John Unger: Yeah, right. I look at the world a lot of the time, it's not so much whether or not I can do that. It's, “Can I do that better?”
Brian Clark: I agree with that. I do a lot. It's rarely this completely out-of-the-blue idea. It's like, “This isn't quality,” kind of in the Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
John Unger: Right. It's like if I'm using something and it's not working for me, I'm like, “Okay, I think I see a better way to do this.” What I've discovered, however, is that I'm unusual enough that what I consider better isn't always a mass market product.
Brian Clark: Speaking of mass market, going back to these copycat people, these were basically people who saw something that was desirable. It was unique. It was selling. It was being featured in major media, and they said, “Okay, we got a product.” But you've told me in the past they were essentially manufacturers.
They had factories, processes, and conveyor belts. And here's John, the guy who created the damn thing, and he still makes them all himself. We've talked a lot lately about scale–and do you have to, and does it matter? Give me your thoughts on that.
Why Scale Isn't Always Everything and the Clarity That Comes with Recognizing Your Own Priorities
John Unger: Because I know so many entrepreneurs and so many people in startups, the ideal of scaling up is so prevalent that I bought in to that for a long time. I'm like, “Oh, yeah. I really should be making five or 10 million dollars a year, and I should do everything it takes to get there.” Then I realized, “You know? I don't want to do that.” That's not interesting to me.
If I were going to run a factory, I would run a factory that made something more basic that everybody needs–like shoes, tires, or something that has a broader market base because that's an easier way to make a dollar. Making a dollar isn't necessarily my first priority.
My first priority is living a life that I'm happy with, that's fulfilling, that's interesting to me. I do have to pay the mortgage. I have this beautiful house in Upstate New York I want to keep, so I have to make money–but that's not why I get up in the morning and do what I do.
It's funny because when I started making art … all through childhood, everybody told me, “Oh, you'll never make a living as an artist.” At that time, I wanted to be a poet. They were more or less correct about that. I do know a couple poets who make a living, like two, as poets. Then when I did start making a living with art, a lot of my friends were like, “Oh my god, you've sold out.” You really can't make people happy. That's fine. I'm interested in making me happy.
Brian Clark: It's always the people who call you a sellout that are doing nothing.
John Unger: Or who wish they were doing what you're doing, but they aren't doing it. You know what I mean? It's usually a jealousy marker, and that's fine. I get that. What I want to do is get up, make art, and I have all these other ideas that I'm working on.
We're doing something new this year that's exciting to me. It's based on a commission I did 10 years ago, where I'm doing these marble mosaics of 15th century anatomy drawings by Eustachi, the guy who discovered the Eustachian tube and the adrenal gland. He was one of the two first real anatomists who dissected corpses and figured out how people work.
There are these beautiful drawings that are 500 years old of dissections of people. Ten years ago I realized that the insides of people come in the exactly the same colors as marble. That was enough of a reason for me to want to do these mosaics. I'm doing 12 of them. They're four feet wide by seven feet tall. The figures are life size. I'm hand-cutting all the stone on a saw. I have literally, not figuratively, but literally, two linear miles of cutting to do by hand to make these things.
What I want to do is a traveling museum show. Rather than trying to sell the pieces themselves, I want to bill museums for a six-month, six-week run, or whatever, and tour these things for as long as I can. Do as many venues as I can.
Then my wife, who's really brilliant, had a great idea. She's like, “Well, when we take really good photos of these, we could sell life-size prints of the mosaics that would be a lot more affordable than the pieces themselves.” Hospitals need artwork. Doctors need artwork in their offices. Pretty much everybody in the medical community has some cash and needs some art, so we're hoping that would work.
We might do some sponsorships where, say, Harvard Med School pays $5,000 or $10,000 to sponsor a mosaic and get a plaque with their name on it when the museum show tours. Right now, I'm trying to learn how to put together a traveling museum show and make that work. That's all new territory to me.
Brian Clark: Interesting. We talk … mutual friends with Hugh MacLeod, how he circumvented the gallery system, and did it himself–so did you. Yet you're still taking a shot at getting into museums, but that's because you earned your credibility on your own.
Why Earning Credibility Opens New Doors and Lets You Do What You Love
John Unger: Well, and because I'm making something … when you've got 12 of these things that you could stand in front of and go, “Oh, that's where my kidney's at,” or whatever. “That's how the lungs work.” The Body Worlds exhibit that tours with the corpses that have been preserved in plastic has been enormously popular, so I think there's an audience.
I think any drawings that have been around for 500 years, and are still relevant and useful to people scientifically, are just interesting in and of themselves. One of the things that's cool about mosaic is we have mosaics that go way back to Pompeii. We have mosaics that are thousands of years old. Why not take these 500-year-old drawings that are still relevant and preserve them in a new format that might last thousands of years?
Brian Clark: I remember, you've done mosaic in the past, right?
John Unger: Oh yeah.
Brian Clark: I remember seeing the pictures, and they were breathtaking. Really interesting work. You may be, again, doing whatever you want and still blazing a trail that turns into something really interesting.
John Unger: Just last weekend was Stagecoach Music Festival, this country music festival by the same people that do Coachella, and last year they commissioned me to make this American flag out of Budweiser bottle caps that was 10 feet tall and 16 feet long, beautiful piece.
Working on that for months on end reminded me how much I enjoy doing that kind of work. I was like, “Okay, why don't we do these anatomy mosaics that I've wanted to do for a long time?” It's a really funny thing because, going back to the concept of being self-employed, unemployable, or what you said about rejecting investors, I will probably do a Kickstarter for this project at some point because I've already put $10,000 or $15,000 into this now, out of pocket.
But that's the thing. I take the money I make doing art, and I do one of two things with it. I either make more art, or I buy other people's art. One reason I got in to making art was because I wanted a lot of art I couldn't afford, so I just made it. Then there was a ton of art, and I was like, “Okay there's no room. I've got to sell some of this.” I've always financed the creative work I've wanted to do with some other form of creative work. When I was a poet, I would blow blues harp in the street and busk for money.
Then, when I was a more serious writer, I was doing graphic design for a living, freelance, which I learned because I wanted to make books of my own writing. Another reason I got into visual art was I wanted to illustrate those books, so I started doing that. When the dot-com crash happened, and the design work dried up, I was like, “Okay, you know what? I don't really want to retrain, get another job, or freelance anymore. I just want to make art. I'm just going to figure out a way to get paid for it.”
Brian Clark: Let's talk about that a little bit, cause that would be close to the time where you started blogging.
John Unger: It was, yeah.
Brian Clark: I remember early on, in Copyblogger, Darren Rowse went on vacation and let me take over for him over on ProBlogger. I wrote a whole series about using blogging for e-commerce, basically, to sell physical stuff. It's essentially the super catalog, if you really think about it. You think about those catalogs with the great copy that make you want to buy something for the story, Well, you get to tell those stories. Was that what you were thinking, or was it just like, “Let me try this”?
Why There's More to Telling the Right Story Than Just Putting Words to Paper
John Unger: That was kind of it. It's funny because we've been adding a lot of new stuff to the site right now, and I've tried hiring other writers in the past because I can't remember who it was that said that they write so slowly they could write in blood, and it would never be a threat to their health. I would fall into that category.
One of the drawbacks of starting with poetry is, no matter how much I know that my sales copy doesn't have to be poetry, poetry's kind of what I write, so to me, it does have to be that way. There's plenty of writing that would just be fine and good enough, but it doesn't just have to communicate things. It has to tell a story, and it has to tell it, moreover, beautifully.
I know you know James Chartrand, Men With Pens. We're working together on some stuff right now, and it's good that we're friends because she's a great writer. I really admire her skills. She's better at some kinds of writing than I am, but she's like, “Well, I really can't make it sound like you did.”
Brian Clark: To clarify for those of you who are not familiar with James, that's the pen name of a woman. This is not a transgender thing or anything. It's an interesting story, actually, if you Google James Chartrand and find the Copyblogger post where she came out and the inequalities that she faced as a woman writer. She changed to a man, and her whole career changed. It's just ridiculous.
John Unger: It is ridiculous. Yet it's one of the reasons she and I became friends, and one of the reasons we've worked together a lot over the years is because I respect the sh*t out of that. It's like, “Oh, the game was stacked against you? So you changed the game. Kobayashi Maru, you know?” It was just a genius move. I remember when she came out, some people were really upset. I was like, “No. Mad props.”
Brian Clark: Your early, well, continual blogging, it really helped you build an audience, what we always preach, but when it came to ornamental firebowls, all the sudden, you're ranking ahead of everyone. Not only are you doing better work, you're outranking people who shouldn't even have any concept of SEO.
More Proof That Digital Sharecropping Is Usually a Bad Idea
John Unger: That's the funny thing, too, is that one of the questions artists get asked all the time is, “How long did it take you to make that?” That's, at least for me, not a relevant question because, if I spent all my time making them, and none of my time in the office blogging, answering phone calls, doing emails, rewriting the FAQ, whatever.
One problem with making things out of recycled materials is the supply chain. One problem with shipping things that weigh 200 pounds is shipping. Until I got good at things like that, it doesn't really matter how long it takes to make it because I never would have been able to move them.
It's interesting because I use Shopify for my storefront, and there's a nice little widget where I could sell directly to people on Facebook, for what that's worth, but because of Facebook's regulations about shipping, time frame, returns, and whatnot, it's really not viable for us. It's fine if you're doing something that you can send media mail, but it really doesn't work if it costs between $200 and $400 to ship an item.
Brian Clark: It's almost like we preach against digital sharecropping, building on someone else's land, relying on another platform. For artists, it's probably even more, just that siren call is so compelling because, “I'm not a sales person. I'm an artist.” Well, what was Andy Warhol?
John Unger: Right. One thing about the gallery world that's nice, artists are like, “Oh my god, well, the gallery's going to take half my money.” Yeah, you know what else they're going to do? They're going to do all the work you don't want to do, presuming they do it, which a good gallery will. Some galleries won't. There are advantages to going that route, but on the other hand, if you can do all of it yourself, you've got a lot more control.
One time we had about 100 online retailers carrying my work, then we did the math, and we realized that out of those 100 retailers, maybe only a dozen had sold anything. Maybe half a dozen had sold a couple things. Half of those had sold a whole bunch. Your basic Pareto rule, 80/20 rule. So we closed most of those stores.
At this point, there's really only two retailers that we sell through, other than our own properties. Actually, sales went up when we made that change. The reason was because trying to police 100 websites and make sure that they had the right name for each product, the right photo, the right price, the right copy, was almost a full-time job.
Brian Clark: Are you thinking of going into physical retail?
The Power of Being in the Right Market
John Unger: I am. One of the reasons we moved to New York was because I was like, “It's the art capital of the world more or less. I'm an artist.” It's great. We're two hours from the city. It's very easy for us to get there. We can go down and see things like the Picasso sculpture exhibit that blew my mind, on a whim, without paying Manhattan rent, which would be really hard to do given the requirements of my studio. I need a lot of space. I need like 6,000 square feet minimum for living space and work space. So Manhattan's a little bit out of my market.
The Hudson Valley is really known for art. It's really taking off. We've got something like 28 galleries in the town we live in, that are very high-quality galleries. I'm kind of thinking the internet has changed a lot since you and I started out, and everybody is doing a curated feed–whether it's Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and we kind of lost the net neutrality argument in a different way than expected.
Instead of telecoms charging extra money to feature content quickly, all of the platforms have decided, “Hey, we're going to curate the feed and show you sports, celebrities, politics, and oh yeah, maybe we'll throw a firebowl in there once in a blue moon.”
I'm thinking as much as the built my career, now that we live in an area where there are people who have money, people who have nice properties, people who have second, third, and 14th homes, and where we have huge tourism traffic, maybe it's time to get back in the real world and put work in as many galleries as we can locally.
We just started advertising in Chronogram Magazine, which is a really beautiful regional arts magazine. When we lived in Michigan, maybe one out of 100 sales were in-state. I relied completely on the Internet and out-of-state sales for a living. But in New York State, I don't think that's the same thing. I think we could build a local presence and really get a lot more business that way.
Brian Clark: Fascinating. John, it's been great to catch up. Continued good luck. Oh, I do have a funny story for you.
John Unger: Great.
How Brian Tried to Burn Down Boulder
Brian Clark: I've been living in Boulder for four years now, and I own one of your firebowls. We live in a house that we built, but it's not on a bunch of land. Basically, it's just a patio area. I guess it was a few weeks ago, my brother-in-law's in town. We're having fun. It's a weekend. We're cooking out. I decided to fire up the bowl. That's a funny joke in Colorado, but that's not what I mean.
John Unger: You know, that's the first time that joke's been made in 11 years. Well done. That I know of.
Brian Clark: Yeah right. Next thing I know, there's a fire truck in front of my house.
John Unger: Oh man.
Brian Clark: One of these upstanding citizens in Boulder, god bless them, instead of just coming over and saying, “You know there's an ordinance against burning anything in public in Boulder,” which I did not know in four years, they called the fire department. Poor guy comes out. He's like, “Yeah, one of the neighbors called. Can you put that out?” I'm like, “Oh man, I'm so sorry.” So my wife is going to turn your firebowl into a planter. I hate to say this.
John Unger: Well, the other thing you could do is convert it to gas, which may meet their regulations because there's no sparks.
Brian Clark: I don't know. I didn't know anything.
John Unger: That's really easy. I've got a guy I work with who makes drop-in kits to convert to gas, and that's actually what most people do these days.
Brian Clark: Oh nice, yes. You're right because, on such a small lot, you worry about sparks.
John Unger: Yeah, and gas isn't going to do that, whether it's LP or natural gas, either way.
Brian Clark: Okay, I'm going to look in to this. John, tell everyone where they can find you.
John Unger: John T, like Tom, JohnTUnger.com, and I'm sure you'll put a link on the page.
Brian Clark: Absolutely will. You SEO fiend.
John Unger: Basically search for ‘JohnTUnger,' all one word, and you'll find any social media account I've got.
Brian Clark: We'll link up your Twitter in there because you've always got interesting things to say. All right, John, thanks a lot.
Everyone, whatever your thing is, whatever your business is, put some art into it. If you already consider yourself an artist, learn from people like John. It's about doing a mix–the pragmatic and the impractical. Sometimes the impractical works out best, but no matter what, keep going.