Looking to put something valuable to very good use?

Material Culture is currently accepting all types of auction-worthy consignments from individuals who are inspired to donate the proceeds to help INTUIT create the Mr. Imagination Education Studio. This invitation extends beyond just art; it encompasses all the categories we regularly auction. For consignments designated for this project, Material Culture will waive the seller’s commission for Consignors.

For auction queries, please email or send photos to expert@materialculture.com
Or call 215-438-4700

The Mr. Imagination Education Studio at INTUIT

Mr. Imagination in the midst of his creations, including a bottlecap throne, suit, and figure.

Your support will help Chicago’s Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art create the Mr. Imagination Education Studio, a dedicated Mr. Imagination-inspired classroom to serve youth, special needs groups, teachers and worldwide audiences beginning in fall 2024.

All children need to know that they have the power to change their lives and the lives of their community.  In fact, to change the world. All of us have experienced loss, tragedy or heartbreak in our lives. Despite those experiences, self-taught artists inspirationally and therapeutically display their inborn talent by creating powerful art that moves us, connects us, and brings viewers healing and hope.

In loving memory of the late, great magic man of recycled art, self-taught artist Gregory Warmack (1948-2012), known to the world as Mr. Imagination, Intuit invites you to support building the Mr. Imagination Education Studio dedicated to promoting imaginative creativity. The Studio will open in late summer 2024 as part of Intuit’s building renovation and be used for hands-on artmaking, collaborative projects, inspirational lectures, performance events, professional development workshops. All of these resources and activities will be dedicated to Mr. Imagination’s ability to make an alternative reality or world that stimulates the imagination and promotes the creation of what Mr. I would call a place of “peace and love, joy and hope” designed to motivate youth, special needs groups, teachers, program audiences. And children of all ages.

Gregory “Mr. Imagination” Warmack (1948-2012), sold at Material Culture Auctions for $9750

From his rebirth as a young man in the 1970s after being shot and left dying, Warmack became, after a visionary flight to ancient Nubian Egypt, a kind of superhero in his Mr. Imagination persona.  He created elaborately adorned sandstone sculptures, often bearing his own features, echoing ancient and royal artifacts. He transformed everyday objects and found materials into elaborate headdresses, totemic scepters, iconic head busts and thrones. The conventional and discarded became fantastic and surprising, and bottlecaps became gems.

— Claire Fassnacht, Norman Girardot, Tom Patterson.

Tom Patterson recounted a personal story Mr. Imagination had told him:
“While walking the refuse strewn alleys and streets of south Chicago scavenging for inspirational materials to use in his art, he heard the sound “psst.” Looking around he didn’t see anything or anyone. He kept walking in the alleys, and several neighborhood kids started following him, wondering what he was doing and what strange sound he was hearing. Warmack (now speaking as Mr. Imagination) told the kids that the sound was getting louder and louder. The sound “went ‘PSST, PSST’ in a way that all should hear, but the kids were unable to hear or make sense of what Mr. Imagination was hearing. Mr. Imagination asked the kids, “What do you think that sound was?” Some of them said it was a snake, cat or somebody calling at him. He said no to these guesses. Then, suddenly, one kid said, “It was your imagination!” to which Mr. Imagination replied, “You are absolutely right.”

Mr. Imagination dedicated himself to making art that would give meaning and self-worth to all those curious and courageous enough to embrace the transformative power of their own imaginations. He died knowing he would not see the creation of his great dream for an Angel Garden of the Imagination, intended for children around the world. Now with the creation of Intuit’s Mr. Imagination Educational Studio, we will finally, collectively and creatively, make Mr. I’s dying dream a lasting reality. Somewhere in the Egyptian heavens, Mr. Imagination is smiling.”

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In 2005, Material Culture commissioned Mr. Imagination to construct one of his iconic THRONES on-site. The carved wood giant chair itself was a piece commissioned from woodworkers in Ghana, resulting in a unique African/American collaboration. Eventually, we sold it in one of our auctions, and it was acquired by The Museum of Everything in London.