Folk Art Legend Mr. Imagination Dies at 64

Mr. Imagination in the midst of his creations, including a bottlecap throne, suit, and figure. Renowned folk-artist and friend of Material Culture Gregory Warmack, known as Mr. Imagination, passed away on May 30, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia, at the age of 64. Spiritual and prolific as an artist and warm and thoughtful as a man, he saw the untapped possibilities in everyday or discarded objects, transforming them into spectacular works of art. At times whimsical and at times commanding, his pieces always have an individual force and an animating presence. Born in 1948, the third of nine children in a religious family on the South Side of Chicago, Warmack had an early connection to art. A self-taught artist, he honed his creativity through his teens and twenties by making jewelry, carvings, canes and hats that he would sell on the street and in local venues. But his life was forever changed in 1978, when he was mugged, shot and left to die on the street. While doctors fought to save him, he had a near-death experience in which he was taken back in time to see ancient civilizations, including images of African masks, Egyptian kings, and grand thrones. [...]