An Invader in Paris

Last year I finally fulfilled a desire to visit Paris, where I became fascinated with the amazing mosaics located throughout the city, by the Parisian street artist known only as Space Invader.

Apparently it all started in 1998 when Invader started installing mosaic pieces resembling pixelated characters from the arcade game Space Invaders, in both high-traffic locations and hidden street corners throughout Paris.

As his popularity grew, he began visiting other major cities throughout the world installing similar mosaics, including Berlin, Miami, Hong Kong and even here in the UK in London and Manchester.

Although Invader’s favourite subjects are video game characters, he varies his colours and designs, often allowing them to blend in with their surrounding environments. For example, a large simplified mosaic that resembles the Mona Lisa, was installed on Rue du Louvre.

Unlike other street artists, Invader shunned traditional spray paint cans in favour of tiles and grout, and in recent years his work has become so valuable that mosaics have been removed and sold for large sums. To combat the theft, Invader now installs the pieces in such a way that they will simply crumble if attempted to be removed from the walls. Some mosaics created have been aimed at the thieves reading ‘leave us alone’!

Like Banksy, Invader keeps his identity hidden for legal reasons, as his work is considered by many as a form of vandalism. For me, however, it’s art and I could not wait to own a piece of my own.

Street art now has such a sizeable following, that several forums have been created for art lovers to discuss, trade, sell and share their pieces. In 2014, whilst pursuing a somewhat addictive forum, I was extremely excited to hear about an upcoming Invader print release. This led to the purchase of a print in 3 colour ways, shortly followed by a ‘mosaic kit’ that was released in November.

Invader’s work sells out instantly due to the small edition sizes and the interest from around the globe, with the pieces now doubling and sometimes even tripling in value after their release. I, however, have absolutely no intention of selling any of the pieces proudly displayed on the walls in my home!