Saturday, July 01, 2006
Some more " Mosaic Man" mosaics
These mosaics are located in Astor Pl. near Cooper Union . St. Marks Pl. begins at Astor Pl. and ends at the entrance to Tomkins Square Park. there are more mosaics to come .
Friday night and Jim and Jesse stay up late
It's Friday night and Jim is working on a mosaic that must be finished by tomorrow because later in the day it will be on it's way to England by plane .The din of music ,voices and the clanking and rattling of chains as bar- goers lock and unlock their bikes to the steel tubular scafolding near where Jim lives and works is so loud that it's hard to converse without yelling . Jesse has some rawhide and Jim and Jesse play with the bonelike leather mouthful on the street in the midst of the people walking up and down the sidewalk. Around 2:30 AM they go to bed . But more is to happen in the neighborhood not too far away .
An hour later and not far away away 6 shots are heard in the night . NYPD rushes to the scene where a car has a bullet hole through the two front windows . No one was hurt .The shooter ran. No suspects were found and at least one witness did not want to talk to police .
Friday, June 30, 2006
Some lamp post base mosaics at St Marks Pl and ave A
These mosaics are at the entrance Tomkins Square Park at St.Marks Pl. and ave A. Some were completed several years ago and now require some cleaning and restoration .
Jim "Mosaic Man " Power's mosaics
Jim has spent many years covering the lamposts on St. Marks Pl with his mosaics. The journey from Tompkins Square Park to Astor Place along St Marks Pl. is part of Jim's "Mosaic Trail" . The mosaics are mostly on lamposts but there are other kinds of mosaics also . Some are on walls ,some are signs for businesses and some are repairs of holes in the sidewalk itself . Jim makes mosaics on small items like belt buckles,flower pots and personal household items . He makes mosaic portraits , religous symbols and occasionally creates unique interior mosaics for restaurants ,bars and home interiors The picture above is of a lampost at 2nd ave and St Marks Place.
As many drink , smoke and talk...Jim and Jesse try to sleep
Last night when I stopped by to see Jim and Jesse everything seemed to be in order . There was of course the background noise from all the bar conversations in the bars that surround Jim's encampment .Better that it would be the sound of wind in the trees or a waterfall but... it is St Marks Pl. . Jim and Jesse were a bit wet since it had rained earlier and their "tent" had leaked . At the side of the encampment Jim is advertising his web site , www.eastvillage.com
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Jim " Mosaic Man " Power and Jesse Jane did have a home
Jim Power , a.k.a."Mosaic Man", and his dog Jesse Jane did have a home. A small but clean and warm room where they lived and worked with at least some peace and security . They lived at 120 St. Marks Pl. in New York City in what was probably the last illegal squat in the East Village .Jim and Jesse lived there for 2 years or so with the knowledge and at least tacit approval of the building's owner . All who lived there knew that they would someday have to leave .The squatting situation there was accepted by all to be tempoary .No attempt to claim some form of squatter's right or adverse possession was ever in the minds of the building's occupants .The building had been a sort of artist's commune known as the "Cave"for 5 years or more . Then one afternoon at the end of March of 2006 Magnum Management and Benjamin Shaoul showed up on premises with workers with crow bars and sledge hammers . A very tense and unlawful confrontation with shattered locks ,smashed in doors and threats of violence occured which was brought under control by officers from the 9th precinct. This confrontation was of course all in violation of the New York State eviction law . Shortly , Magnum Mangement paid all occupants to leave and all were gone within 2 weeks. Jim was paid $2500 to leave .
But Jim and Jesse Jane didn't quite leave 120 St. Marks Pl. ;they just moved outside to the sidewalk in front of the building from which they had been evicted .It is today, 29 June 2006 and they are still living,working and sleeping on the sidewalk in front of 120 St .Marks Pl .
All the pictures above were taken the day before Jim and Jesse Jane vacated 120 St. Marks Pl.
An evening ,curbside nap on a discarded couch
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
From just beginning to mostly finished
Jim works on mosaics out in the street near the sidewalk at his encampment.This blue mosaic has been weeks in the making and now as can be seen will soon be finished .There is one problem though , the client who commisioned the work is not making much of an effort to make the necessary payments . Jim needs to be paid like all of us . When you are a self employed artist/craftsman it is often difficult to collect your fee.
An afternoon curbside nap on a discarded couch
A late night snack for Jesse Jane
Different day, different floor plan . Could a Bedouin expect more ?
Jim's camp looks different every day .Every morning Jim must break camp so that workers can have acess to 120 St. Marks Pl to move materials and equpment in and out of the building . The building is now under construction .The building is being renovated completely. Every afternoon Jim remakes his camp and lays it out according to the camp building materials at hand, the space available and whatever whim takes him.. A process that produces a different camp every day.
Late night work on St. Marks Place
Jim works when time is available. Much of the day is taken up dealing with staying alive on the street. Dealing with the hordes of people that are constantly all around him at the sidewalk encampment is another considerable task . So at night when things calm down Jim works .
...and why sleep here ?
Jim is sleeping here on the sidewalk because right now he has no other place to sleep . Jim was until recently a squatter at 120 St Marks Pl . He was evicted from that building .Now he lives ,works and sleeps on the sidewalk in front of 120 St. Marks Pl.. Given that New York City is now very expensive he has few if any housing options . Right now It's mostly people with very meager incomes that are homeless but that is starting to change . Others that pay real rents ,thanks to changes in the housing laws, are becoming vulnerable to arbitrary eviction . Thus Jim's situation is becoming more and more emblematic of a situation that all of us who earn less than a quarter million a year might be forced to experience . Some of us, if evicted , will be able to move somewhere in the city but likely not anywhere near where we now live. Some ,if evicted, will have to leave NYC completely . Some of us ,if evicted ,will have no options and thus become homeless . As for you reader, what options will you have ? What law or agency will save you from the predations of a greedy and unscrupulous landlord or developer with a bank that puts too much cheap ,easy money at his disposal.
Jim " Mosaic Man " Power and his hands
Jim had had a long bad day .He had been working on his blue fish mosaic all day . He was tired and his spirits were down . Mr. Softee drove up and stopped right by us . Jim bought a sundae and on seeing his blue,worn hands and the red and white of the sunday I took this picture .
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