That we are street art lovers isn’t something new, we don’t miss opportunities to discover new street art artists and to simply walk in the streets hoping to bump into some great street art never seen before, especially if it is in some unexpected places – that is the best! I guess this is how I first met one of this French urban artist’s Invader aliens, it was on a wall in Berlin which is a paradise for artist and street art lovers like us.
Love At First Sight
It was such a simple piece of street art, very straight forward, very recognizable because it reminded me of the game that everybody must now, even myself not being a video game fan at all, I’ve seen it, heard about it and I might even have played it once or twice in my teenage years. I’m referring to the famous and legendary Space Invaders arcade game from 1978. When I saw Invader’s alien, I liked it straight away for its simplicity, for the fact that almost everybody could relate with it by recognizing what it was inspired by, for the material it was made of, at that point it was the first time I saw a street art piece made of tiles.
The more we travelled around Europe, the more Invader pieces we found, sometimes even in cities I wouldn’t expect to and in places not always so obvious. My curiosity increased more each time we stood in front another mosaic no matter if it was a new alien, Pac-Man or one of the Super Mario characters. I’ve now lost count of all the mosaics we came across and the many photos we took, by the end it became almost a mission, trying to spot more of Invader street art and who between us would spot the most. We never set a prize though, shame I might have been the winner 🙂 As soon as we saw one of the Invader mosaics, we knew that there would be more around so we both ended up walking with our chins up looking at places we thought there might be more mosaics. People that looked at us might have thought we were two weirdos by walking like that.
My interest in Invader’s street art grew at each new find and while I was scrolling through the pictures we took, I realized that each mosaic is different and with no two that we found alike. I wanted to know more about its work and, even if in my opinion art should be left to personal interpretation, I still wanted to know if there was a message he wanted to pass on and why he chose to use these popular games’ characters.
The Hands Behind The Colorful Tiles
Apparently Invader’s idea and project is to invade cities all over the world (not only in Europe) with characters inspired by first generation arcade games. He uses tiles plastered with strong cement to the walls so it’s difficult to steal, destroy and vandalized them (even though it has happened several times in the past) but also because they give a pixelated effect to its pieces. Invader started to scatter cities with its Space Invader’s icons because they represent in a way the start of the modern and computerized era, also because, according to him, there was no better way to describe what he wanted to do which is to “Invade cities”. In fact when he starts to put up mosaics, Invader doesn’t only tiles up a couple of pieces no, he floods the entire city.
It is also a game for Invader himself, in fact he gives himself points for each street art piece he manages to put up, the score will depend on how big the mosaic is, where it’s located, in fact if it’s on a difficult spot to reach and tiled up will have an higher score. I love this! It must be encouraging and challenging for him each time he is about to start a new “invasion”. I have also found out that he keeps record of each mosaic he puts up which is numbered and recorded on the city map, some of the Invasion Maps can be purchased to make the search for Invader’s street art easier. What a great idea, in a way I would have liked to have a map in my hand while we were hunting for Invader’s mosaics, but at the same time I liked that we randomly found them even though I’m sure we missed some.
Like many others street artists, Invader managed to create his own very unique signature, different for many reasons starting from the idea behind it to the way he realizes it. He really made the work easy to remember and identify, he even sent one of his space invaders back into space and documented the all trip by attaching a camera to it, genius!
I love to dig into an artist’s career, understand why they do what they do, it makes me either appreciate their work more or on the contrary pushes me away from it. With Invader it increased even more my admiration for him and now that I found out that he also exposes his works in galleries I will definitely keep an eye for those. The challenge to spot more of Invader’s mosaics is still up and running, who knows who will win between me and Dale!