Art

Invader: The Mosaic Maestro of Urban Spaces

French artist Invader perfectly captures his passion for video games and 8-bit computer graphics

February 5, 2024

Invader is a pseudonymous French urban artist, known for his distinctive creations inspired by the pixelated graphics of 1980s arcade games, most notably the iconic Space Invaders. His work, which adorns the streets of more than 60 cities worldwide, is part of a large-scale project he calls "Space Invaders." This project, initiated in the late 1990s, involves the placement of mosaic artworks depicting characters and figures from the eponymous game, as well as other popular 8-bit characters, in public spaces around the globe.

The mosaic (designated POTI_50) was affixed to the side of a building on Roncal Street (across from the Plaza Waychu) in Potosi, Bolivia in 2022 as part of Invader's 4,000th art installation series. Potosi was picked as the destination for the artist's 4,000th installation because the altitude of the historic mining town is 4,000 feet high.

True to the ethos of many street artists, Invader's real identity remains shrouded in mystery. He wears a mask in public appearances and interviews to maintain his anonymity. This anonymity allows him to navigate the legal and artistic challenges of creating unsanctioned work in public spaces while fostering a mystique around his persona and work.

Invader's mosaics are meticulously crafted from small, square tiles. This choice of medium not only pays homage to the pixelated visuals of early video games but also ensures the durability of his street art against urban elements. His installations are often found on the sides of buildings, street signs, and other unexpected places, inviting passersby to engage with the urban environment in new and surprising ways.

The mosaic (designated PA_605) was affixed to the side of a wall at 33 Pl. Saint-Pierre in Paris, France in 2005.

Invader's art transcends geographical boundaries, with installations in cities across Europe, Asia, North America, and beyond. Each piece is cataloged and mapped on his website, where he also assigns points to each "invasion," akin to scoring in video games. This gamification adds an interactive layer to his project, encouraging fans to"hunt" for installations worldwide.

While Invader's work is deeply influenced by video game culture, i t also comments on the invasion of public space by art and technology, the blurring lines between high and low culture, and the impact of digital aesthetics on contemporary art. His installations often provoke discussions about the legitimacy of street art and its role in the urban landscape.

The mosaic (designated PA_595) was affixed to the side of a building at 183 Rue De Lourmel in Paris, France in 2014.

Invader's contributions to street art are significant, with his unique approach and dedication to his craft inspiring a new generation of artists. As urban environments continue to evolve, his work serves as a reminder of the playful and rebellious spirit that characterizes the street art movement. With each new "invasion," Invader continues to challenge the boundaries of public art and its interaction with the digital age, ensuring his lasting impact on the urban landscapes he transforms.

The mosaic (designated PA_877) was affixed to the side of a building at 148 Rude De Paris in Montreuil, France in 2010.

Invader is more than an artist; he is a cultural innovator whose works blend nostalgia, critique, and urban exploration. His mosaics not only decorate cities but also challenge the way we perceive our everyday environments, making us aware of the artistry that surrounds us in the most mundane places.

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