Sighting: Jim Power, the Mosaic Man

For me, this was probably the coolest, East Villageyist thing that could have possibly happened to me.  I was walking down 1st avenue today with my boyfriend in the blistering heat (weather.gov claims it was around 84 degrees, but that’s clearly crap) and he pointed at an elderly gentleman, whispering to me, “Look!”  IT WAS THE MOSAIC MAN.  The man who adorns our neighborhood with found glass, ceramics, and mirrors.  The man who created the iconic Tompkins Square Park mosaic at the green oasis’s West side.

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The man who I paid $109 of my hard-earned money to make my dad a mosaic belt buckle.

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There he was!  I am only slightly ashamed to admit, I was seriously freaking out.  I mean if you see a movie star, that’s one thing.  They’re shockingly good looking in person and/or might be talented if you’re lucky.  But this guy is an artist and a major part of East Village history.  He single-handedly changed the look of our neighborhood.  A number of stores in the East Village will use mosaic decor because the East Village is known for its mosaics–because of Jim Power!  He’s a treasure.  I took one shot of him from kinda far away out of instinct.

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You can see him working there on the street signal post at St Marks.  But I felt like a creeper taking a picture of him without asking, and like I would hate myself forever if I didn’t approach him.  So I walked up to him and just said, “Hi!”  Give me a break, I don’t know what to say… anyway, he said, “Well, hello!” in a very friendly tone.  I said I just wanted to thank him for his work, which I think is beautiful and wonderful.  He thanked me very kindly.  And then I asked if he would mind if I took a few pictures of him, which he consented to with seemingly no reservations, much to my delight.  In the spirit of not ruining his “zen” or “being in the zone” or what have you while he was doing his work, I only took three additional pictures and then let him be.  But here he is closer up, doing his work.  And one deep in thought (though Matt thinks he looking like he’s picking his nose–how DARE you, he’s an ARTIST!  He’s deep in thought, damn it!).  As you can see, he’s working on some kind of portrait with the word “GANGSTER” spelled out to the left side, which is a bit more organized and stylized than his typical work.  It is pretty impressive and I’ll come back here in the next few days to see how it progresses.

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Jim Power, deep in thought.  Friend to cute dogs.  Not picking his nose.  Refusing to let the nasty heatwaves of present times deter him from his artist endeavors.  Hero to this East Villager.

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