Tessellation Appreciation

Regent’s Canal, Islington N1 (part 2)

Fish mosaic benches accompany the murals made by Hanover Primary School. No explanation is given. Do we need one? No. Fish mosaic benches next to a canal should never need justification. They are conveniently located about halfway as you walk from Hackney to Camden, next to a very interesting lock, so would recommend a nice sit down at this juncture.

Regent’s Canal, Islington N1 (part 1)

According to the blurb, these mosaics made by the pupils at Hanover Primary School working with artists Carina Wyatt and Cathy Ludlow in partnership with Cally Arts and the Islington local2global project.

Why? To celebrate the diversity of people, past and present, in the Islington area. Slightly schmaltzy but nevertheless a fine example of mosaics as public art.


I first became aware of the French street artist Invader when I watch the 2010 Banksy documentary; Exit Through The Gift Shop. Since then I regularly spot little space invader mosaics, up high or around a corner, looking down amiably on the busy streets below.

The appeal of Invader’s work is largely due to the nostalgia felt towards the late 70s Space Invaders video game. Invader uses little square mosaic tiles that replicate the non-isometric pixel art style of the original Space Invader graphics.

It‘s Invader’s use of tiles that also sets  him apart from other well known street artists who, in general, prefer to use paint and stencils, such as the ever popular Banksy and East London’s very own Stik. Many of his mosaics are prepared beforehand and then cemented (presumably using the reverse method) on to the walls, facades and ramparts of the city.

According to the limited information available on the web, Invader’s first documented mosaic was installed in the mid 90’s in his home town of Paris. It stood alone for a number of years until finally in 1998 he began his ‘global invasion’.

Today you can find Invader’s work on buildings and public spaces in over 35 countries including Kathmandu and the Ivory Coast. His artwork, or ‘invasions’, are documented on a map on his website so that you can find your nearest mosaic.

Some if Invader’s most impressive invasions include one on the “D” of the iconic Hollywood sign in LA; and in Montpellier in France, the locations of his invasions when viewed from above or plotted on a map form one giant space invader.

Defending street art as Art and not vandalism, Invader explains that “If there were not artists like me to make things in the street there would be only advertising everywhere, advertising is just kind of big brother, you know it’s not to make people happy or to show nice pictures, it’s just to make you spend your money. That’s why I think I’m not a vandal, what I’m doing is good for the population.”

Invader is an artist in his own right, currently working on his RubikCubist movement inspired by the popular 80s puzzle. He exhibits pictures and sculptures in galleries around the world and although his guerrilla style mosaic attacks are only a part of what he does, they are undoubtedly his most well known.