Space Invader

Invader is the pseudonym of a French urban artist, born in 1969, whose work is modeled on the crude pixellation of 1970s–1980s 8-bit video games. He took his name from the 1978 arcade game Space Invaders, and much of his work is composed of square ceramic tiles inspired by video game characters. Although he prefers to remain incognito, his creations can be seen in many highly-visible locations in more than 65 cities in 33 countries. He documents each intervention in a city as an “Invasion”, and has published books and maps of the location of each of his street mosaics.

Invader also makes indoor mosaics using stacks of Rubik’s Cubes, and QR code mosaic works.

Invader is a graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts, a Parisian art school. Invader initially derived inspiration for his creations from video games from the late 1970s to early 1980s that he played when he was growing up, particularly characters from Space Invaders, from which he derived his name. Games of the era were made with 8-bit graphics, and so lend themselves well to his method of each tile representing one pixel. Invader began making mosaics in Paris in the 1990s and then in 31 other cities in France.

Invader has made mosaics in New York City five times, and Hong Kong on three separate occasions. He has tagged historic buildings and other locations. On 31 December 1999 he placed a mosaic on the letter D of the Hollywood Sign to mark the Y2K bug. During subsequent trips to Los Angeles he placed mosaics on the eight other letters of the sign.

In June 2011, Invader marked the installation of his 1000th work in Paris with an exhibition at La Générale entitled 1000. Since 2000, he has installed more than 70 pieces of work around Hong Kong. By June 2011, Invader had created mosaics in 77 cities with 2,692 Space Invaders placed comprising some 1.5 million ceramic tiles; 19 “invasion maps” have been published.

In 2012, Invader made a short film Art4Space documenting his attempt to launch one of his aliens into space on a modified weather balloon. Invader also makes QR code works. Created using regular black and white tiles, the patterns can be decoded using apps installed on smartphones. One decoded message reads “This is an invasion”.