Invader is an urban artist originally based in Paris. He affixes mosaic images of characters from the 1970s video game “Space Invaders" in cities around the world. Once a work is completed, Invader records it as an "invasion" and creates accompanying maps and reference books to indicate the location of each piece. Invader began these urban, outdoor installations in Paris in 1998, and to this day he has "invaded" 80 cities . Currently, cities in the United States, Asia, and Australia are also home to examples of Invader's work. Since 2000, Invader's works have been featured in galleries around the world, and he gained even greater popularity and renown after he was featured in the 2010 documentary film about Street Art, Exit Through the Gift Shop.
Hi Invader, today you selected for MoW four of your artworks inspired by music. Can you tell MoW why you chose to create artworks inspired by music?
Hi MoW. Making some reference to music came to me very naturally. Music is a very important element of my life. It has opened my mind to many things like literature, art, politic awareness, DIY spirit etc… I’ve always considered music like something to communicate ideas.
Why you chose these singers/musicians for your artworks?
Lou Reed (and the Velvet Underground) is an icon of the NY underground culture. During my previous trip to NY I wanted to make some portraits of famous New Yorkers and Lou Reed was for sure unavoidable. Then I have made this small black & white portrait.
Bob is the king, yeah! he's got everything to be a king! I love reggae and particularly Bob Marley. His music is timeless and famous all around the planet. I usually don’t like things when they are too much mainstream except for Bob Marley !
Joey Ramone is the icon of the NY punk scene. I’ve made a huge portrait of him in Brooklyn.
Gainsbourg is one of my favorite french singer. I had already made a reference to him by putting a Space Invader with black glasses smoking a gitane on the wall of his house in Paris. Then last year, while I was preparing the Invasion of the french city Clermont Ferrand, I’ve heard that there was a street named « rue Serge Gainsbourg » there, so I could not resist to make a giant portrait of him. The spot was great, on the wall of a private house and 100% unauthorized. I was a bit anxious with the reaction of the landlord but after the installation they have sent an email to thank me.
Do you have a favorite piece between the ones presented today?
I love them all !
Why is music important to you, in your life and in your art?
When I was a kid, music was a way to enter in the adult world. That was something that you did not learn at school. Then as a teenager I have been very influenced by the punk movement because that was a counterculture much more clever and intellectual than the bullshit that you could listen to on the radio. Then I grew up and I started to listen to different kinds of music like reggae, jazz, french songs and many more.
Do you have plans on creating new artworks inspired by music/musicians ?
In 2008 I started a series of works called « Rubik Low fidelity » for which I recreate some album covers with Rubik’s cubes. I keep working on them...
Can you tell Mow more about your techniques and how long does it takes you to make an artwork?
The mosaics are made using weather-resistant tiles, which represent the pixels used for graphics in early video and computer games. The installation process typically takes at least one week, including scouting, recording, and mapping locations.
The placement of the mosaics is an essential part of the invasion and it is a very subjective decision. I need to identify the neuralgic points of the cities I visit. It takes a lot of time as it is a long scouting process. I often compare it as urban acupuncture.
I have developed several techniques that allow me to adapt myself to different situations such as the time and the place of the invasion, the size of the mosaic, the height of the wall in order to be the quickest and the most discrete possible.
Do you listen to music when your working ? If so, what is the kind of music you would listen to ?
Yes most of the time. I still like the energy of the punk rock, but I also listen to different things, depending on my mood.
What is the song you liked the most lately?
At the moment I’m listening Humane by Vice Squad.
What is your favorite album at the moment ?
Impossible to choose one album. I could make a Top 10 of albums I like but not one!
And what would be your top 10 favorite album list?
- The Cure / Boys Don’t Cry + 1st Trilogy
- Dead Kennedy / In God We Trust
- Stiff Little Fingers / Hanx
- The Clash / The Clash
- Berurier Noir / Macadam Massacre
- Velvet Underground / Live 1969
- Leonard Cohen / 10 New Songs
- Zsuzsanna Varkonyi / Vagabond Songs
- Bruno Blum / Human Race
- Serge Gainsbourg / Bad News From The Stars
Are you a musician?
No, I am not.
How would you see yourself as a musician?
If I was a musician I think that I would do a lot of experiments.