French Undercover Graffiti Artist Invades Hong Kong
"Anytime, Anywhere" Is The Philosophy
by Jobie Soo
“You might not know his name or his face, but you certainly have seen his work somewhere in HK before.”
That's what my friend, who is a self-proclaimed street-art fanatic, said to me right before he turned our random shopping trip in Harbor City into an impromptu graffiti-hunt last weekend.
Our mission was to find all 18 graffiti scattered around different corners of the crowded shopping mall.
And our final score? 8 out of 18. I know, I know. We failed miserably BUT the three-hour hunt - searching through different corners of the mall amid the crowd - was a blast!
Street Art New Wave
And you’re probably thinking: Graffiti inside a mall? What? How’s that possible?
Well, legend has it that, despite the scale and the tricky locations, a French undercover graffiti artist who goes by the pseudonym “Invader” did it all in one night. (Why does this remind me of the movie Mission Impossible?)
Sounds reckless and ambitious, doesn't it? But if that doesn’t impress you, maybe this fact about him will.
As a globetrotter, Invader leaves his footprints, along with his graffiti art, in many different parts of the world - a total record of 3,681 installations across 77 different cities so far.
What’s his goal? World domination? Hmm… maybe.
The Space Invaders Project
Fact is, no one really knows who he is. Except that he goes undercover to “invade” urban spaces for a living and keeps score of his “invasions” - his sporadic art installations.
But those aren’t just any typical graffiti art he creates. Not like those you usually see on the sidewalk or in the backstreets, and forget about after turning several corners.
His pixelated mosaic art installations are quirky and remarkable. And they all have a common theme, inspired by and dedicated to his two favourite childhood video games - Space Invaders and Pacman.
The French graffiti artist lives by this two-word philosophy.
That’s why his artwork always appears to be so spontaneous, boundless and, most of all, je ne sais quoi.
Appearing in the most random places of a city - under a bridge, on a pillar, even inside a mall - Invader’s graffiti art becomes a major (and super instagram-worthy) photo-op for tourists and locals.
Last October he made his third trip to Hong Kong and 32 new graffiti were born, spicing up different parts of the city like Central, Tsim Sha Tsui, Sham Shui Po etc… However, same as his first and second trip back in 2014 and 2015, some of his “invasions” were soon removed by upset property owners and government body who regarded the installation as violation more than a piece of art because of "public safety” reason.
Take a look at some of his famous "invasion" artwork, planted in the secret corners of this concrete jungle back in 2014 and 2015 (before they were unfortunately taken down).
Don't be sad, these remarkable artwork might no longer be around, but they certainly will live on forever as part of the memory of this city. The good news is, there are still a few places that graciously and truly appreciate his effort.
For example, Harbor City promises the French artist to keep and preserve all 18 of his installations, treating his "invasions" as, what the artist has intended, a gift.
And if you're lucky, you might still discover some iconic installations here and there in this lively city!
When's his next invasion in Hong Kong? We don't know but definitely hope soon!