Mr. Imagination at Material Culture in 2005, sitting in the West African Asoso chair that he was commissioned to turn into a throne.
Indisputably, many of his visions from his near-death experience resonate in his work. He soon picked up one of his signature materials—old bottlecaps—in the creation of majestic thrones and flamboyant figures, as is seen in the picture above. He also discovered sandstone, an easily-carved industrial castoff that he sculpted into Egyptian kings. Any found object—an old rake, a stiff paintbrush, a ping-pong paddle—could be animated to new life. His first exhibitions were at the Charles Hammer gallery in Chicago, a specialist in “outsider” art, and by the mid-1990s, he was shown in galleries across the country and in museums such as the Terra Museum in Chicago, The Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, and the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, amongst others.
In 2002, Warmack moved to Bethlehem, PA, having been an artist-in-residence at the Banana Factory in Bethlehem in 2000, and finding that the pace of life in a smaller town was beneficial to his creative process. It was during this time that Mr. Imagination became more well-known in the local arts community of Philadelphia, and Material Culture was privileged to carry his work. In 2005, Material Culture commissioned Mr. Imagination to create one of his famous thrones from one of our West African Asoso chairs. The artist spent a week creating the piece in the store, working from morning until night as visitors came by to watch the work in progress.
Warmack left Pennsylvania in 2008, following a terrible fire in his home that claimed many of his most prized artworks and several of his pets, and relocated to Atlanta, Georgia. He grew to be as much a part of the artistic community there as he did wherever he went, and a service will be held for him on Monday, June 4, in Atlanta. He is survived by his mother, is survived by his mother, Margaret Warmack, sisters, Cynthia Swopes, Carolyn Dennis, Valeria Cohen and Sandra Warmack, and two brothers, Dairao Warmack and Sherman Warmack.