Anyone who lives in the East Village (or who has visited) has probably noticed the mosaics all over the signposts, traffic-light posts, and sidewalks in the area. Upon closer inspection, the mosaics are comprised of many different items, including broken teacups, old decorative bathroom tiles, and mirrors. Sometimes there are messages hidden within, as in the image directly below this paragraph (M.I.A. in yellow tiles). These projects were done over the course of several decades by a man named Jim Power, known by most as the Mosaic Man. He was homeless for most of the time he did his artwork that brightens our area, twinkling on sunny days and bringing cheer to days that aren’t.
I first visited the East Village with regularity to see my boyfriend (before we lived together), and it took me many weeks before I actually saw the mosaics. It’s funny just how detached we can be from our own lives. We live in our heads, worrying about our bills and planning the death of some tourist who rammed into us on the street because they were looking up at the skyscrapers, and we miss the most incredible sights and sounds around us. When people say you should live in the moment and be present, they mean you should notice things like the mosaics in the East Village. It’s much more pleasant than the usual homicidal thoughts nurtured by New Yorkers as they walk through the city.
But back to the Mosaic Man. He has a website (http://mosaicmannyc.com/) and an Etsy store (http://www.etsy.com/shop/MosaicManNYC) where you can get mosaic belt buckles. I got one for my father, he loves that thing. There used to be a section on his website that spoke about his homelessness but for some reason, it is gone. I wonder if he was embarrassed or is no longer homeless. In any case, he was without shelter for a great many years yet he still decorated our little corner of the world. Our dickhole of a mayor destroyed some of it, but much still remains. I will take pictures of his work for this blog, not necessarily showing an entire work but rather bits and pieces. I want to show the mosaics as I see them, and I hope they inspire someone as much as they inspire me. Frankly, if I were homeless, I doubt decorating the city would be high on my priorities list… Jim Power is quite a man.
These images were taken at Astor Place on the corner that is northeast of the Alamo (the Astor Place Cube).