Works in the Collection
Mr. Imagination was born Gregory Warmack in Chicago in 1948. As a young artist, he sold handmade jewelry and gathered discarded objects that he saw as art. He also carved bits of found bark, wood, and stone into faces that resembled African tribal masks and kings. Like most “outsider” artists, Mr. Imagination survived a near life-ending trauma which produced intervening and life-changing spiritual visions. Shot during a mugging and left for dead, Warmack entered what he described as an out of body experience that caused him to travel back through time. After this, Warmack dubbed himself Mr. Imagination (Mr. I) and began an extraordinarily prolific career.
Best known for his distinctive use of bottle caps, Mr. Imagination generated innumerable artworks, decorated clothing, and, using anything he could find, carved sculptures and avatars of African ancestral power. He saw and represented himself as the thematic ‘King’, and his stylized face appeared throughout his works. Mr. I moved from Chicago to Bethlehem, PA in 2001 and lived there for 8 years until a house fire destroyed his home and much of his artwork. He then resettled in Atlanta, Georgia with the dream of building a residency and haven for artists but died shortly after, leaving an international legacy of stunning work in numerous personal collections and institutions including the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.