Invader is an anonymous French street artist known for his ceramic tile mosaics modelled on the pixelated art of the 1970s–1980s 8-bit video games, many of which depict the titular aliens from the arcade games Space Invaders, Pac-Man and Super Mario Bros. This editorial examines Invader’s passion for the Pac-Man game and how it influences his Aladdin Sane artwork.
Invader’s Aladdin Sane artwork features Pac-Man Ghosts and is based on the artwork for David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane album, featuring a lightning bolt across Bowie’s face, considered one of his most iconic images.
The Lightning Bolt
The lightning bolt symbolised Bowie’s persona and was used in various ways throughout his career. The image was shot by photographer Brian Duffy, who also worked on many of Bowie’s other album covers.
The cover art is an important aspect of the album’s legacy and has been referenced by many artists and designers over the years. Bowie’s manager, Tony Defries, was determined to promote the album heavily and ensured the Aladdin Sane cover was as expensive as possible. He insisted on a seven-colour system, which was unprecedented then and made the image the most expensive cover art ever created.
The make-up designer was Pierre Laroche, who later became Bowie’s make-up artist for the remainder of the 1973 tour and the Pin Ups cover shoot. Duffy and Laroche copied the lightning bolt from a National Panasonic rice cooker in the studio. The make-up was completed with a “deathly purple wash” and Bowie’s closed eyes, which gave the impression of a “death mask.”
The final photo was chosen from a group that featured Bowie looking directly at the camera and later became a signature image of the V&A’s David Bowie Is exhibition. The shoot was the only time Bowie wore the design on his face, but it was later used for hanging backdrops at live performances.
Aladdin Sane Album Cover. Image Copyright Bowie
David Bowie’s Unique Eyes
David Bowie’s unique physical trait of having two different eye colours was a result of a trauma that left him with a condition called Anisocoria. This condition causes one pupil to be larger than the other, making one eye appear darker and a different colour than the other. In Invader’s pixelated rendition of Bowie’s portrait, the artist cleverly depicts this feature with two distinct blue squares, with the left eye being darker than the right one to represent Bowie’s distinctive condition.
Invader’s Aladdin Sane Screen Print Silver
Pac-Man is an iconic maze action video game developed by Namco in 1980. The game involves players navigating a maze of dots, controlling Pac-Man, a yellow circular character, while avoiding four ghosts. The objective is to eat all the dots to clear each level while collecting power pellets that temporarily make the ghosts vulnerable for bonus points.
Invader, Hong Kong. Photo © Invader
Each of the four ghosts has its own unique “personality” in Pac-Man: Blinky gives direct chase to Pac-Man; Pinky and Inky try to position themselves in front of Pac-Man, usually by cornering him; and Clyde switches between chasing Pac-Man and fleeing from him.
Invader, Space Invasion, Hong Kong 2017. Photo Credit Invader
Location of Aladdin Sane Mosaics
Two Aladdin Sane mosaics inspired by Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona and Pac-Man Ghosts were created by Invader and left in 2013 during a London invasion.
Aladdin Sane mosaic LDN_126 [50 pts] was placed on the side of the Windmill Pub, 44 Lambeth High St, London SE1 7JS. The mosaic featured Bowie’s iconic lightning bolt in red and blue, set against a black background, with the ‘Pac-Man Ghost”s colour scheme being a light blue (Inky). The mosaic is still up and can be flashed to earn 50 points on the artist’s Flash Invaders app.
Aladdin Sane mosaic LDN_127 [30 pts] was placed on Central Street in East London. The mosaic featured Bowie’s iconic lightning bolt in red and blue, set against a black background, with the ‘Pac-Man Ghost’s colour light pink scheme matching Bowie’s porcelain skin. Unfortunately, the building that housed the mosaic was later demolished. The artist’s Flash Invaders app still offers 50 points for those who flash the removed mosaic.
Aladdin Sane mosaic LDN_127 [30 pts] was placed on Central Street in East London. Image Copyright Invader
Aladdin Sane Screen Prints
Aladdin Sane Inky (blue), Aladdin Sane Blinky (yellow), Aladdin Sane Pinky (pink) and Aladdin Sane Clyde (orange) in an embossed colour screenprinted edition of 65 each via POW on 2nd October 2014 at £375 each.
Space Invader Aladdin Sane screen prints main edition 2014
VIP Silver and Gold Edition
Experience the unparalleled beauty of Invader’s ‘Aladdin Sane’ with the VIP Silver and Gold edition. These stunning editions feature an embossed metallic foil accentuating the iconic ‘Bowie Pac-Man Ghost’ that radiates a beautiful shine against the black background. The VIP Silver and Gold editions are limited in number, making them highly sought-after by collectors.
Invader – Aladdin Sane VIP Edition 2014
Please visit our online store to find Invader‘s Aladdin Sane Screen Print. If you can’t find your preferred ghost colourway, don’t worry! Just reach out to us, and we’ll help you find that perfect piece.