The Invader, also known as Space Invader, is a legendary street artist from Paris who depicts video game characters, particularly old-school PacMan’s made in colorful tiles placed in discreet locations around the world. In the last few years, Invader has become so popular that his tile work has even been stolen straight off walls and sold on EBay. Like UK artist Banksy, Invader has a strong cult following around the world, including myself.
Over the last few years since I first saw these PacMan motifs in tiles on a street corner in Paris, I knew I had to shoot as many as I could run across. Since 2006, my photo collection of Invader shots equals about 40, and these are taken not only from Paris, but Los Angeles, New York, and Harajuku Tokyo.
Invader’s new direction combines the growing fascination among leading-edge street artists with technology. In a recent interview posted on YouTube, using a facemask to disguise his identity, Invader explains that he’s creating now second messages behind the original tile artwork that can only be read by taking cell phone images, particularly conducive to iPhone’s code Imatrix. In the video, Invader talks about how tiles are a motif that works well within his aesthetic of hi-low art invading the world. He currently has pieces up in 40 different cities in 30 different countries.
His new work takes a deeper look at QR codes or binary codes whereby on the surface, you can’t really tell that a piece is saying something until you read it via a cell phone image.
“I like to work with pixel plastics and tiles,” explains Invader. “Between low tech, because my tiles are simple bathroom tiles that are meant to be outdoors, and hi-tech using new media as a secondary message.” In Invader’s latest creations, the canvas itself if a kind of binary code made in simple black and white tiles. But once you see the message via a cell phone picture, it reads “This is an Invasion.”
Check it out on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye5YFO4Sy0E