Relevance to this blog: He was also probably the most successful and lauded bottle cap artist ever. So far as I know, no one else who worked extensively with beer bottle caps has a piece in the Smithsonian. Honestly, I'm sure I will have a personal obit in me at some point, but today I thought I would just give a brief overview of some of his work as an introduction to those unfamiliar with one of the greatest outsider artists we've ever seen.
|Mr. Imagination on his throne in his Bethlehem home|
Early in his career, Mr. I worked primarily with bottlecaps and an industrial byproduct called sandstone.
|One of Mr. Imagination's pieces in the Smithsonian|
|A Mr. Imagination sandstone piece from the Judy Saslow gallery|
Mr. I also created some very large environmental pieces, such as this arch at the House of Blues in Orlando:
|Image hotlinked from Prek and K Sharing blog|
|Mr. I's bus shelter, courtesy Bethlehem Patch.com|
|Mr. I in his throne at Musikfest.|
|Mr. Imagination at the Bethlehem Brew Works. I told you there was beer relevance.|
As awful as the fire was, the huge outpouring of generosity from his friends and supporters nationwide demonstrated how special a person Mr. I was.
For a time, he lived in another location in Bethlehem. Eventually he resumed working, including on a massive sphere for Cool Globes, and other large projects.
|Mr. I with Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan in his post-fire Bethlehem home.|
Unless otherwise specified, these photos are by me. In addition to adoptive nephew, I played several roles for Mr. I over the years, as everything from photographer to webmaster to scholar (two of my actual art criticism publications are on Mr. I, something that would be a conflict of interest in any field other than art). The works below are all from a very impromptu website we put up for Mr. I to sell art in advance of his move.
For those of you local to the Lehigh Valley who knew Mr. I, we're working on a local memorial service. His art is available for sale by a number of dealers and galleries, so if you're interested feel free to Google or send me an email and I can connect you to the right place. There's a Facebook group where people have collecting recollections, etc. For more information, here are few links:
- The Morning Call obit
- The Chicago Tribune obit
- Detour Art blog
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obit
Here's a video of Mr. I working in Atlanta: