Sunday, July 01, 2007

Mosaic magic

Saturday was repair day for a vandalized Jim Power mosaic at Eighth Street and Broadway in the East Village.
I came across Jim at about 3 o'clock as he was assessing the damage to the light standard and deciding the best course of repair. We struck up a conversation -- I hadn't seen Jim in a couple of weeks -- and I began taking photos.
Soon, a throng of passers-by stopped to ask questions and take photos of their own.

What began as a solitary project quickly turned into a community effort as Jim offered pieces of tile to people to patch the battered artwork.

Jim is a living legend in the East Village after crafting a 25-year-long trail of mosaics throughout the neighborhood in the form of decorated light standards, storefront signs, benches and more. Many of Saturday's onlookers were intimately familiar with Jim's work but had never had the chance to chat with him.

As always, the Mosaic Man's youthful exuberance drew people like a magnet.
"HAHA!" he exclaimed. "I'm living one crazy existence!"

Jessie Jane, Jim's ever-present sidekick

Tools of the trade


mall said...

The mosaic work in the photos remind me of Watts Tower in Los Angeles.

Michael said...

Hi Mall,

Not familiar with Watts Tower. I really enjoy Jim's work, and it's amazing how many people stopped by Saturday to tell Jim that they're fans, too.

Lorcan said...

Great shots of Jim and the real celebrity, Jessie

Michael said...

Many thanks, Lor!

It was just lucky timing that I happened to catch him at work yesterday.

Mall said...

I visited Watts Tower as a young kid for my art class. It was often vandalized, but it's a great piece of work. It's wonderful that you are able to be in such a colorful neighborhood and people---as reflected in Jim's work. Thanks for all the wonderful pictures and for sharing them.

(sent my comments thrice, but nothing happened, forgive my multiple postings)

Michael said...

Hi Mall,

Yes, I feel at home in the East Village -- even though I never lived there, and wouldn't be able to afford to, anyway.

Unfortunately, the people like Jim who have given the East Village its distinctive character largely can't afford to live there anymore, either. It's becoming a yuppie enclave, and that's a damned shame.

forman said...

nice post. I never met jim either or even knew his name.

Michael said...

Too much creativity goes unrecognized in the city.