Jim “Mosaic Man” Power

Photos by Clayton Patterson

Artist’s poles are part of East Village’s glorious mosaic

Jim Power, the “Mosaic Man,” is famously known for his East Village “Mosaic Trail” of tile-encrusted lampposts. The photo at right, taken by Clayton Patterson in 1985, is in front of Power’s large “We The People” mosaic piece on the wall of the current Sushi Lounge on St. Mark’s Place near Avenue A. The photo at far right, taken recently by Patterson, shows Power working on his Theatre 80 lamppost at St. Mark’s Place and First Ave. “I think his poles really represent a big part of the neighborhood,” said the documentarian. “It’s one of the most photographed public sculptures in New York. He’s one of the last few remaining characters on the Lower East Side. Gentrification made him homeless; eventually, gentrification cleaned out all the little nooks and crannies where creative individuals would live for very little money. When he was younger, he was in a band — played at the World’s Fair. Apparently, he was very good — and Vietnam changed his whole character. He kept that guitar for a long time.”

Lincoln Anderson

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