The man who would be Invader is a citizen of the world. He began orchestrating his mosaic invasions in his home city of Paris in 1998, experimenting with a very unorthodox form of street art – tiles. His very first piece in Los Angeles, LA_001 was placed inconspicuously on a curb in front of Pink’s Hot Dogs in 1999.
Since then, he has “invaded” L.A. ten times, placing art on every letter of the Hollywood Sign, and as of this post, has over 200 pieces hiding in plain sight. Despite being an important part of 2011’s Art in the Streets at MOCA and most recently L.A.’s incarnation of the Beyond the Streets survey, Invader has just opened his first solo show here in L.A. in 13 years at Over the Influence Gallery in the Arts District. Into the White Cube is now on view through Dec. 23, 2018.
We rounded up a few of our favorite Invader works for you to find - only promise us they will be left alone. Even the newest pieces have already been lost to the ages – or in this case, poachers. Invader engineers each piece to crumble when someone tries to remove it and encourages you to make your own. Sometimes he’ll release a Home Invasion “Kit” on his website or if you’re industrious enough, do a tile run at Home Depot. All his materials are commercial and easy to find.
Evidenced by a few hardcore fans that made a point to “reactivate” some of the older works – the Macintosh Invader (LA_134) at Beverly Auto Body, originally created in 2006, had seen better days until someone repaired it and recently brought it back to life.
Start your Invader safari with his app, “Flash Invaders” which allows you to snap your elusive find and earn points - not just in L.A., but around the world. There have been 3,706 works of art and yes, there is someone who’s found over 2,200 of them.
Los Angeles is the first U.S. city he invaded and continues to have the most of his work outside his home in Paris. It makes sense as he seems to be quite a film buff, referencing classic and cult movies in his work. The Shining, Eraserhead, The Big Lebowski and the Terminator (with a reflective eyepiece) have all appeared as invasions.
You can see him in action on film as part of Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop and the short documentary about the first time he tried to send an invader to space, "ART4SPACE". On the second attempt, a little guy named “SPACE TWO” hitched a ride with the International Space Station (with the help of the European Space Agency) in 2015.
Invader is nothing if not meticulous and records the longitude and latitude of every mosaic. There is one copy of each piece created, with this information etched in the back. These “aliases” are seen in his gallery shows and sought after by collectors. His latest book, Invasion Los Angeles 2.1 is a retrospective of all his works to date – see which ones you can still find.