Mosaics tell ’hood history
- Last Updated: 7:10 AM, May 13, 2012
- Posted: 12:01 AM, May 13, 2012
He’s broken the East Village into a million little pieces.
Renegade artist Jim Power, known as the “Mosaic Man,” has been tracing the history of the neighborhood, one smashed-plate fragment at a time, for over 25 years.
The street artist strips paint from city-owned lampposts, coats them in glue, then uses his palette of colorful glass shards, cracked ceramic and beads to capture the essence of a street corner.
As bright as confetti, the curious lamppost art constantly draws attention from passersby who stop to read the words and images that pay homage to things uniquely New York, like the Fillmore East, Yiddish theater, Lower East Side gangster Lucky Luciano and Mayor Ed Koch.
The eccentric 64-year-old artist is in the process of developing tours of his public art, recruiting sidewalk docents to lead the walks and creating a map of his mosaic trail.
“It’s going to be another crossroads of the world,” he said.
On Second Avenue and St. Marks Place, the Mosaic Man, who is always accompanied by his mosaic-wearing dog Jesse Jane, points out two finished poles with an American flag and a Japanese flag. He plans to create mosaics on the remaining corners of the intersection with Australian and Kenyan flags to symbolize the different corners of the world.
The city first judged his artwork vandalism, and tore down some 50 mosaics in the 1990s. But city officials have since embraced the tiled tour-master, and gave him permission to adorn 80 street lamps.
The disabled Vietnam veteran works with apprentices to complete his remaining street canvases.