Hunting The Invader: snapping sweet street art in Malaga

If it weren’t for the accusatory headline in the local paper, we wouldn’t know about The Invader.

Flipping through the city press in Malaga over coffee and churros one morning, I read about how incensed the local diocese is over the unauthorized installation of a street art mural on the side of one of their buildings.

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In the accompanying photograph, a mosaic — done in the style of a flamenco dancer mid- golpe — had been put up about 15 feet high on the side of the building, immediately adjacent to the historic Malaga cathedral. The flamenquera seems to coquettishly flip her skirt and flutter her fan in the general direction of the catholic church, and something, it seemed, needed to be done.

My first thought was the the artwork was gorgeous and modern in it’s hyper-pixelated style. The traditionally attired dancer seemed rather fitting on her stage above this Spanish city, right next to another part of Malaga history.

So we went to go and find it.

Finding Flamenquera – Invader Malaga murals

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In person, the Flamenquera is a pretty cool piece of street art. The artist, Invader, somehow had to climb about 15 feet off the street to install these small squares. The mural is quite large, and I wondered how he had enough time to complete the work without getting stopped, questioned — or arrested.

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Soon enough I was Googling Invader. Conveniently he’s on Instagram and has a website, where he showcases his work, both creating it, and its final locations.

Understanding Invader Malaga street art

It seems from his photos the mosaics are made all at once; the squares assembled into their shape then pressed onto come kind of sticker backing and held in place on a sheet of hardboard. Then the installation looks as though it goes up all at once, like you’d hang a sheet of wallpaper, if you were hanging wallpaper illegally… at night… and with the cops poised to arrest you if they caught on.

His website explains how he does it: “I have developed several techniques that allow me to adapt myself to different situations such as the time and the place of the invasion, the size of the mosaic, the height of the wall…in order to be the quickest and the most discrete possible. I use cement or extremely effective and innovative glues. Some pieces are removed by unhappy owners or by cleaning companies but this is quite rare.”

Now I was interested. How does he get up so high? How doesn’t he get caught? Now the hunt was on.

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Things are looking up in Malaga

We made a game out of always looking up, since all the Invader mosaics we saw were at the level of the local street signs, about 10-20 feet off the street. Soon enough we started seeing them.

Invader murals in Malaga seem to have a bit of a theme: part space invaders vintage video game, part local customs and products.

Where to find Invader mosaic art in Malaga

There’s a Spanish flag with a space invaders-style crab at the corner of Calle Marques de Larios and Alameda Principal. A souvenir snap was taken.

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On another corner a pixelated octopus wearing blue and white stripes holds a brush and palette, Picasso style; a likely nod to the Artist’s birthplace here in Malaga.

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Near the Plaza de Toros, a yellow space invader wears sunglasses.

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Close to the Centre Pompidou museum which is near the Mediterranean, a whale spouts water from an overhang.

There’s an invader creature posing with local beer: a black spidery-looking character holds a Mahou over Calle Capitan.

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In Plaza de San Pedro Alcantarra, a blue octopus keeps eyes on the square.

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Beside the Museo Carmen Thyssen a red space invader poses on a landscaped backdrop, and it’s framed in silver tiles, cleverly echoing one of Malaga’s most famous museums.

Overlooking the Plaza de la Constitution, a red crab wears his shades on his head as he watches over the plaza’s many cafes. Across the same plaza a white octopus acts incognito 20 feet above a local store.

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It became a bit of a treasure hunt during our stay in Malaga; spotting and snapping Invader works as though were were on a street art safari.

While I captured several works, I think we missed a lot. But we gained a new appreciation for a whole new style of street art.I reached out to The Invader on social media to see if I could ask some questions about how he does his work, but I didn’t get a response. That’s ok.  The artist is busy at work.

If you’ll be heading to Malaga any time soon, don’t forget to look up.

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