by SERGIO GARCIA
Invader is an artist whose work is easily recognizable and can be found all over the globe. From Tokyo to Versailles, Bhutan to Paris, and of course, here in Los Angeles, Invader has been able to put up his art in over 75 cities. And yet, as widespread as Invader's work is, not much is known about the actual artist. Working masked and under the veil of night, Invader continues to be an artist that prefers to stay in the shadows while his art gets the limelight.
Invader takes his name from the 1978 arcade game Space Invaders and the majority of his art incorporates these characters. Using square ceramic tiles, Invader brings these characters out of the game and into our world while still retaining their original 8-bit forms. We can appreciate this wholeheartedly in this piece. Invader has used white tiles to recreate the Happy Face Mac icon. However, instead of the Happy Face, Invader has used vibrant, red tiles to place a space invader on a light blue background.
The color and juxtaposition caught my eye and as I drove by it on my way home from work I couldn't help but turn to look and appreciate the ingenuity of this piece. Using ceramic tiles is so vastly different from most street artists and definitely not a common sight on the walls of local businesses in LA. Not only that, but the sheer nostalgia that this piece brings bubbling forth is refreshing. I wouldn't consider myself a gamer, but I did enjoy playing Space Invaders as a kid and seeing one of the titular characters on display, in my city, made me smirk.
The use of the Happy Face Mac icon set me off on yet another nostalgia trip. The icon was familiar to me because it’s the face that greeted me whenever I turned on one of the old Macs in computer class back in elementary school. This piece by Invader is easily becoming one of my favorite pieces in Los Angeles.
On its own, this piece is stunning. Yet, all around it there's so much going on that it's hard to appreciate this piece without incorporating the minor things that help elevate Invader's work. To the left of the piece, we have four pink faces that seem to come out of the wall. The fact that they're baby doll faces adds a sinister twist. Next to it, on a pipe, there’s a lone, green crayon sticker. Then on the right, we have stacked on top of each other, six different additions. Starting from the top we see a goofy looking face with the word "FAVORITE" written across the eyes, a "FO5H WAS HERE" sticker, a family crossing sign, the head of Frankenstein's monster with tentacles instead of a body and an eye. Lastly, we have what is one of my favorite additions: in the bottom right, a black, spray-painted cat looks up at Invader's work, as if it’s appreciating the beauty of the piece. This motley assortment of different stickers combined with Invader's piece, the baby doll faces, and the spray-painted cat, fuse together to form something incredibly peculiar and alluring.
Where can I find it?
On the corner where Beverly Blvd. converges onto Temple St, and to the left of the driveway into Beverly Auto Body.
Tommy Jarrell is a poet, writer, and artist who lives in Los Angeles. He has previously written for Bleacher Report and Throwback. His poems have appeared in The Squaw Valley Review and 805.