The NYC Mosaic Man Jim Powers
The Mosaic Man, whose real name is Jim Power, embodies the enduring, archetype of an artist who lets nothing stand in the way of his craft. Since 1985, through poverty, lack of funding for his craft, assisted living, periods of homelessness, and health problems which now confine him to a wheelchair, he has adorned the East Village with dazzling mosaics. His legendary Mosaic trail, a fantastic display of his work on over 80 lampposts throughout the neighborhood is a must-see for tourists and New Yorkers alike. His tribute to the Fillmore East and to many of the rock & roll stars who played there, on the lamp post at the North West corner 6th Street and 2nd Avenue, a few feet from where the iconic music club once stood, is a shining example of Power’s talent. His work has been praised by National Geographic and former Mayor Mike Bloomberg and on recommendation lists all over cyber space.
Power, 67, has no children and has never married. Though he’s had his share of romance, his Muses are the ones to whom he’s devoted. Originally from Ireland, he grew up in New York City and was drafted into Vietnam in 1968. He says he began to discover his talent and passion during his time in the Far East. After the war, Power returned to New York and worked as a carpenter for a brief period, a job that paid him fairly well. But as Power tells it, his muse could not be silenced and he’s been honoring her ever since.
Free Tours by Foot tour guide Dante Salerno who leads his Alternative Tour on the Wild Side Tour every Saturday at 10AM had the pleasure of meeting Power the other day on Avenue A. After Dante told Jim Power that his epic trail is a big part of one of his tours, the Mosaic Man informed Dante that the planned Astor Place re-design project (located exactly at the spot where Dante begins his tour) could spell doom for his Astor Place lamp posts, including one that honors fire fighters who lost their lives in 9/11. He said many folks are rallying to support him in his quest to save the Astor Place gems and that a protest will take place in the coming weeks. Power also mentioned that a member of DOT (Department of Transportation), the organization which authorized him to create his mosaics way back in the late ’80’s, said the re-design can be accomplished without removal of the mosaic lamp posts.
Tour guide Dante Salerno: “The Mosaic Man didn’t have time to tell me much more, but I did snap a photo before he wheeled away. Attention must be paid and his work must be saved! For more about the Mosaic Man and the efforts to save the Astor Place mosaics, come on my tour! Also, I’d like to give a shout out to all those writers and filmmakers who have been kind enough to share their Mosaic Man pieces on line.”
Written by Dante Salerno