Mr. Imagination, (Man with Brushes)
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"Man with Brushes" by Mr. Imagination
29" x 15" x 9" -- mixed media sculpture
Mr. Imagination (Gregory Warmack 1948-2012) was a true healer of communal spirit through his relentless and whimsical efforts of uncovering the extraordinary contained in the ordinary. His self-taught visionary approach to art, his global magnitude, and his cheerful child-like soul warmed the hearts of all those he encountered. Though the term "Outsider Art" is commonly used when referring to Mr. I, he was truly "one of us" wherever he was at any given moment. His perseverance and spirit-driven work ethic are inspiration to the lives of those who were blessed to know him.
Folk artists have long used bottle caps to bring texture and color to their works, and Gregory Warmack, or "Mr. I," as he prefers to be called, has taken this practice to a new level. A native Chicagoan, Mr. Imagination began to carve figures from found pieces of industrial sandstone (a by-product of steel manufacturing) during the early 1980s. As his work attracted attention, he began to use another salvaged material-bottle caps-toward the end of the decade. Warmack excels at turning discarded materials from the streets and alleyways of his hometown into art, and transforming the castoffs of contemporary society into celebrations of his unique identity.
Tom Patterson Contemporary Folk Art: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (New York and Washington, D.C.: Watson-Guptill Publications, in cooperation with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2001)