Invader: The Mosaic Street Artist
The definition of street art is ‘unofficial and independent visual art created in public locations for public visibility’. Street art is widely regarded as guerrilla, perhaps most notoriously embodied by the elusive ‘Banksy’ whose controversial work seems to sporadically appear overnight in inner city areas. One other such exponent is the famous French urban artist who goes by the name ‘Invader’. He is known for his ceramic tile mosaics modelled on the pixelated art of 1970s–1980s 8-bit video games, many of which depict the titular aliens from the arcade game ‘Space Invaders’. Invader has openly stated that he sees himself as a "hacker" of public space spreading a mosaic "virus” in an environment that is accessible to anybody from any walk of life.
Invader's repertoire of subjects is not limited to just Space Invader pixelated figures. His work also includes Star Wars characters, the Pink Panther, Mega Man, Spider-Man, Hong Kong Phooey, Thomas from Kung-Fu Master and Popeye. More recently he has also delved into a form the artist himself describes as Rubikcubism. These interior exhibitions feature the precise distribution of the six colours on a Rubik's Cube required to achieve the desired image. Some of these works are composed of as many as 300 cubes. His Rubikcubist series are entitled ‘Masterpieces’, ‘Fidelity’ and ‘Bad Men’, the latter of which features villains such as Osama Bin Laden, Jaws and Al Capone.
To date, Invader’s art has been confirmed in as many as 79 cities in 33 different countries. Any doubt about the authenticity of these works have been put to rest as Invader himself has released a book detailing guided maps to the locations of each mosaic across the globe. His art, or ‘invasions’, can be traced using accompanying QR codes.
Like the aforementioned Banksy, Invader chooses to guard his anonymity which arguably has the opposite effect and adds to his fame, furthering public thirst to know more about the man behind the mosaics. He does this largely by working at night and often disguised with a mask (this has been reported during the rare times he has been sighted). This adds to the allure of the artist and heightens interest in their body of work, one reason perhaps that has helped Invader achieve international fame. This anonymity adds to the mystic of the artist and garners worldwide interest, shedding light on modern mosaics and raising public awareness of an art form that would otherwise likely be regarded as an archaic artform.