Each day in NYC there is something to newly discover, no matter how long it’s been there. I am rarely on the block of East 3rd Street between Avenues A and B, but I had occasion to walk that block during this past Sunday’s lovely snow storm. Because I always have an eye peeled for things that might be fun for the blog, I made the charming discovery that most of the buildings on the north side of the block (because that is the side I was on) have these cute and colorful ceramic tile mosaics on their facades, mostly around the doorways and near the steps.
It’s a G Thing
I’m not positive, but my guess is that these are the work of Jim Powers, aka the Mosaic Man, since he is responsible for most of the ceramic mosaics in the East Village. The mosaics are made from bits of tiles, marbles, broken china, mirror shards, bottles and other assorted found objects. They are beautiful and amazing works of art.
To find the Shark, you must have the Eye of The Shark! Fortunately, I possess that eye. This little guy, made from precisely-arranged, blue glass marbles, was spotted — just waiting to attack — on the sidewalk outside of The Pearl Room, a restaurant located at 8518 3rd Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Shark attack under your feet!
I think it’s safe to say that most street art fans know who Invader is and can identify his work on sight. But for those who are out of the loop, Invader is a French street artist known for his ceramic tile mosaics modeled on the pixelated art of 1970s–1980s 8-bit video games, many of which depict the titular aliens from the 1978 arcade game Space Invaders. His work is in every major city around the globe, and I see it on the streets of NYC all the time. Invader’s simplest works look exactly like the tile mosaic you see above, but that colorful little guy is actually a customized air vent that I saw at the recent International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF). It is a pretty genius design, if you ask me.
The company that makes these vents is called Aria Vent and this model is a version of their Aria Lite line. It’s made from high quality plastic, to be more affordable, and its minimalist design (the vent is just the tiny black rectangle you see in the middle of the mosaic) means that it is almost invisible to the eye. Aria Vents are a smart solution for the home that has children or pets. They are designed to catch items that kids can drop down air ducts, and they’re also flat, with no crevices that pet tags could get caught in.
This unit can be retrofitted and installed on any finished surface. Customers can also use their surface material to customize vent. This street art tile mosaic vent design would be ideally suited to the home of any art lover! Find out more about Aria Vents at their website, Aria Vent Dot Com!
This giant Pink Cherry Blossom glass tile mosaic is located at the 77th Street 6 Train subway station, on the mezzanine walls above the stairs leading to the train platfrom. It is part of a larger wall mural, by artist Robert Kushner, entitled 4 Seasons Seasoned, commissioned for the station in 2004. For the mosaics in this mural, Kushner created bouquets of flowers – from every season – that reflect such influences as Dutch flower paintings and Japanese screens. Most neighborhoods have flower shops, but they are especially abundant on the Upper East Side, and have associations with many of the city’s finest hospitals, parks, and museums located there. A painter, sculptor and printmaker, Kushner has always been fascinated by organic motifs. A key figure of the Pattern and Decoration Movement, he continues to feature vegetal motifs in his works, often along with geometric patterns and architectural shapes. At 77th Street, he gives the community a blazing bouquet to brighten the day (and night)!
Pop Culture-themed Tile Mosaics by the French Street Artist known as Invader can be found all over the city, if you know to look up, and aren’t always staring at your fucking phone.
This one of a diminutive Spiderman, captured in the process of scaling the side of a building, adorns the front façade of what used to be a bank, located on the southwest corner of 2nd Avenue and St. Marks Place in NYCs east village. I believe it has been there since late 2015.
There’s cheap but reliable BBQ restaurant just across the street. And just around the corner to the right, you’ll see these familiar buildings.
If you happen to take the N, R or Q trains to the Fifth Avenue and 59th Street stop on your way to the Central Park Zoo, be sure to first participate in the underground Subway Art Safari that’s going on in the station, as you will not only encounter this colorful flock of Butterflies, but also tiles mosaic murals of Parrots, Penguins, Horses, Monkeys and other creatures.