An Invasion Is Imminent!: The Art and Life of Invader

In the vast corners of the world, on unsuspecting rues and street corners, some peculiar creatures can be found! These aren’t just your everyday, run-of-the-mill street art pieces, nay, these are the effects of a world-wide (or rather solar-system-wide) Invasion; and Paris, where this Invasion began, is the perfect place where unsuspecting tourists and locals can encounter these creatures. This Invasion was created by the renowned artist and visionary Invader. But some may ask, who is Invader, what is an Invasion, and why is the world being taken over by this initiative? The world may never truly know, but there are hints scattered across the internet and very few texts…

Invader is, as he defines himself, “a UFA, an Unidentified Free Artist.” He is a French artist, born in 1969, whose identity is unknown (besides a brief name reveal in the early 2010’s), working under the pseudonym Invader. His name, initiative, and motives for his first and main art project lie in the 1978 videogame that has the same name, “Space Invaders.” The game consists of pixelated shoot ‘em up style gameplay, where the player controls a small spaceship and blasts at little space aliens overhead. The artist recalls the time when arcades became obsolete, and these little invaders were trapped for an eternity inside these arcade machines. This is where the idea of an invasion was born, as Invader decided to release these Space Invaders into the real world! More so than for nostalgia’s sake, the Invasion was sparked as a rebellion and liberation move to challenge the traditional means and functions of displaying art in museums or institutions.

Invader started his journey with the Invasion initiative in the mid-90’s in Paris, and the number of invaders within his arsenal continued to grow from there. The main material he utilizes in these works are tiles, as this material creates a pixelization effect that mimics the original subject matter. The artist must do this operation discreetly, as he would install these mosaics on buildings and infrastructure that he didn’t own. He states that he adorns the multitude of cities he works in with about 20 to 50 pieces overall, yet this is FAR from the case when it comes to Paris. Back in 2011, he celebrated his 1,000th Invader in a gallery, the Galerie le Feuvre, by installing works and photographs of every Invader he had up in Paris!

The artist known as Invader currently has 1,500 Space Invaders in Paris, but this number pales in comparison to the 4,169 he has across 83 territories of the world! This, combined with his other notable artistic achievements, proves the magnitude and grandiosity of his artistry. Another one of his Invasion-related feats include the send-off of one of his Space Invaders back into space! His initiative Space2ISS consisted of a mosaic, called Space2, attached to the International Space Station. This initiative was actualized after the ISS noticed that Invader had previously released a Space Invader into space (utilizing a weather balloon and sheer ingenuity)! Space2 currently occupies a space on the outside of the ISS, and this journey has led to the installation of several of his Invader projects at NASA and the European Space Agency HQs around the world.

Some of Invader’s other larger feats include the creation of the Rubikcubism movement. Started in 2005, he used the Rubik’s Cube toy as the material while utilizing the colors on the blocks in strategic ways to create a larger, cohesive picture. These images portray a myriad of subject matter, such as his “Rubik’s Masterpieces,” “Rubik Bad Men,” and “Rubik’s Low Fidelity” series. He even created a fine arts school in the early 21st century dedicated to teaching his unique art style in Paris. Numerous galleries around the world have reached out to Invader to showcase his unique art style to the masses.

Invader has changed the street art game in many places around the world; his influence is especially evident in Paris. He continues to inspire many other mosaic artists, like the Smurf-portraying artist IPDO, and other artists who utilize mosaics or pixelization, or that even attempt to imitate Invader’s art style! Nevertheless, all of this and more shows the cultural and world-wide significance of this artist and his impact. In his 55 years of life, Invader has racked up an impressive number of accomplishments, but as Invader has acknowledged himself, the “game is not over!”