MR. IMAGINATION Mr. Imagination Main < BACK

Gregory Warmack (Mr. Imagination or Mr. I) was the third of nine children in 1948 in Chicago. Growing up on the mean streets of the city's west and south sides, he especially remembers the love and support of his mother, Margaret, during the difficult times. It was in church where he sang in his mother's gospel choir that he first started to make pictures, particularly of angels, that he gave away to anyone who needed a little inspiration and hope in their lives. An inveterate collector of rocks, beads, trinkets, and a myriad of cast-off objects, he made these materials into jewelry that could be sold to make his living.

In 1978, while selling jewelry on the street, he was shot at point-blank range and was left to die. During his slow recovery in the hospital, he experienced an altering "out of body" experience which forecasted his recovery and dedication to a new regenerative art of the people. "While I was in a coma," he remembers, "I went back in time and saw myself as an African king. I was reborn as Mr. Imagination, and I began to make art that reflects my ancient tribal position in life."

He started using discarded materials to create his artwork, such as bottle caps, feather dusters, and buttons. He also creates "grottos" or outdoor sculptures embedded in concrete. The most significant element in his work is his belief in the spiritual energies possessed by his pieces, which are infused both in the creation process and by the collaborative contributions of the spirit of people living and dead.



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