Who: French Urban Street Artist, “Invader”
What: small, colorful mosaics based on the 1970’s video arcade game “Space Invaders.”
Where: Literally hidden all over Paris. Sometimes he puts them in really obvious, touristy places for the public eye, but he also likes to hide them in random, lesser-known spots. Typically 10-15 feet above ground. He has also invaded over 31 other cities in France, 22 cities in Europe (London, Rome, Berlin, Barcelona etc.) and several other major cities around the world (New York, L.A., Bangkok, Melbourne, Tokyo…he somehow managed to get one on the Hollywood sign).
When: Usually at night. Sometimes during the day. Basically, whenever there are no cops around. His first, lone invader went up in Paris in the mid 1990’s, but the ball got rolling in 1998 when he really began his installations all over the city.
Why: Because he gets to plaster 70’s video game characters all over cities for a living.
How: He has the mosaic half way made before going to city and then makes the rest once he is there. It can takes him up to 2-3 weeks to completely finish an installation. It all depends upon how often he has to escape from the cops. He documents and catalogues all of his invaders and then proceeds to make books or maps showing where they are placed through out the city. Some times their location is strategically based on if he can be safely hidden from cops while working. But at other times they are aesthetically placed so that when seen as a whole on the city’s map, they form one giant Space Invader character.
I answered “Why” for Invader, but you might be wondering the why behind my semi-obsession? There is no incredibly interesting connection besides the fact that I kept seeing these little video game characters all over Paris and after about the 5th one I became very intrigued. Eventually, I started documenting them. It became the kind of thing where I felt like I saw them all the time when I wasn’t looking for them, but now that I am on the hunt, they have become much more rare to discover. This is sort of pathetic but I must admit that my heart skips a beat now when I see one…I get a little too excited. It has become a game, which I think is both the process and the intent for Invader himself.
After having researched and read-up on Invader I am now completely fascinated with whole appeal of this being someones living. It is by far the coolest job on the planet. If you can even call it a job? Probably not. Invader is like a modern-day super hero to me. Very few know what he looks like and what his real name is. But, instead of saving people, he gives us something beautiful to look at and adds character and spice to our cities. Street art is such a perfect example of how art will always exist, but the process, medium, technique and location is ever-changing. Compared to an oil on canvas portrait behind a glass case that will withstand the test of time, street art has such an incredibly short life span. So, it must be documented via video and photography. It is for this exact reason that I love art so much: it’s tenacious evolution.
If you’re as interested in Invader and street art as I am, you must check out the documentary \”Exit through the Gift Shop.\” You will never look at urban art the same again.
A video with Invader himself:
Invader on film
*all of the pictures seen above are the Invaders I’ve spotted thus far. I will be periodically posting them as I see them through out the rest of the year