Public spaces within cities can sometimes be uniform, conforming to authority and public expectations. Street artists attempt to challenge these traditional notions by breaking through with eye catching art works, which are in complete contrast to their surroundings. Such works of art are a sometimes symbolize diversity and demonstrate the value of spaces and things that are undervalued. Invader achieves these qualities of street art by literally invading public spaces, subtly drawing the public’s attention to his work.
The invader began street art in Paris in the 1990’s, later his work took to a larger scale progressing to bombing cities all across the world with his version of an urban video game – the invader covers urban spaces with characters from the video game Space Invaders and other early video games. The invasions have spread to other cities in France, such as Montpellier, Marseille, Avignon, Rennes, Bordeaux and Lille. Cities across the world include London, Cologne, Geneva, Newcastle, Rome, Berlin, Lausanne, Barcelona, Bonn, Ljubljana, Vienna, Graz, Amsterdam, Bilbao, Manchester, Darlington, Los Angeles, New York City, San Diego, Toronto, Bangkok, Tokyo, Katmandu, Varanasi, Melbourne, Perth and even Mombasa.
The invader documents his invasions with books and maps so that his fans can follow his art works throughout cities. His works mainly consist of colourful mosaic tiles placed in strategic locations, which are selected based characteristics such as the surrounding environment, busy corners of streets or less beaten paths. In Montpellier the invaders were placed so that on a map they form a giant space invader. These mosaic tiles are suitable for both mass production and depicting the pixel characters and are typically placed ten to fifteen metres above street level to allow visibility. Nevertheless no two single invaders have ever been the same; there are over 700 unique invaders all across the world. The invaders work which is highly documented by the artist himself has been displayed in museums across the world. The artist has even invaded the Hollywood sign.
The invader believes that if artists like him do not display their work, the streets would be dominated by advertisements. He thinks that his work makes people happy, rather than persuading them to buy things and therefore does not consider his invasions to be acts of vandalism, rather as alternatives to advertisement.