Paris is my favourite city. It might not have the grit of Berlin, but it’s the home of art in many ways, so it’s no surprise that one of the most famous street artists comes from there. Invader takes his name from the video game Space Invaders which has inspired so much of his work. Unlike traditional graffiti artists who use stencils and spray paint, Invader uses square ceramic tiles to replicate the crude pixellation of early computer games. Therefore, his work is instantly recognisable in more than 60 cities in 30 countries around the world. He sees himself as a literal invader of space, with his mosaics as gifts to the citizens of his invaded country. He views early video games as the first steps of digital media from which everything else followed (computers, the internet, etc) and he uses iconic characters like the Space Invader aliens, Pac-Man, Super Mario, Popeye and the Pink Panther to ‘invade’ the streets.
Invader prefers to remain incognito, claiming that very few people know his real name and age – including his parents who think he is tiler in the construction industry! He documents each ‘invasion’ online and in books, and accepts that the risk of arrest is an occupational hazard. Indeed, he has been spent numerous night in prison cells around the world, most famously for placing a mosaic on the Hollywood sign. Aside from his street art, he is a proponent of ‘Rubikcubism’, taking an image from popular culture and recreating it using Rubik’s Cubes for his trademark pixel effect. Here’s an amazing blog dedicated to all things Invader.