For as long as I can remember, the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan has been decorated with mosaics. Light posts are covered with bits of broken china, coins, mirrors, and other found objects, usually commemorating an event or acting as another level of wayfinding signage. A few years ago, I finally started photographing the work of Jim Power, a.k.a. the Mosaic Man.
Power is a Vietman war veteran who has been working on these neighborhood mosaics since the late 1980s. Once targeted by the Anti-Graffiti Task Force, the artwork is now done with official city permission.
The mosaics are concentrated mainly on 8th St./St. Mark’s Place, which is unofficially known as the Mosaic Trail [check out this Untapped Cities post documenting all the mosaics along this stretch].
Over the past two decades, these colorful mosaics have been a constant presence in a neighborhood that has been almost completely transformed. Punks, dirtbags and homeless people have been mostly replaced by well-heeled professionals and members of the stroller mafia, and computer giant IBM is set to move into a new glass-clad office building on Astor Pl.
Jim has executed some larger storefront mosaics:
For more information about Jim and his artwork, check out Mosaic Man NYC, his official site, where you can also purchase merchandise or make a direct donation to support the work.