Forget about Pokemon Go, Islip has its very own “Invader” artist.

As you travel through Islip, and some of the neighboring hamlets like Bay Shore, East Islip and Islip Terrace, you may have noticed some tile mosaic art pieces. Sometimes you will see them while shopping in town, on the overpass/bridges, perhaps another on the side of a building, or on a pole. They seem to appear (and unfortunately, sometimes disappear) out of nowhere.

Well, we were able to speak with a source very close to the artist (or, who knows, perhaps the artist himself), to learn more about this intriguing project that has taken over our town.

This artist, whose roots come from Islip, was inspired to do this art by a well-known French urban artist known as “Invader,” born in 1969, whose work is modeled on the crude pixellation of 1970s-1980s 8-bit video games.

He took his name from the 1978 arcade game Space Invaders. Although the French artist prefers to remain incognito, and guards his identity carefully, his distinctive creations can be seen in many highly-visible locations in more than 65 cities in 33 countries.

For many reasons this artist chose to remain anonymous, however he was arrested over two dozen times with respect to his artwork and it’s placement.

With this inspiration behind our Islip artist, he wanted to do something to get kids and families out from behind the TV and exploring the community. Long before Pokémon Go came around, Islip families started searching around town for what has become known as the “8-bit Nintendo tile art.”

As a matter of fact, one of the tile art pieces is actually a “pokestop” in the new game Pokémon Go! At least two years now a Facebook page has been capturing families taking photos of great pieces that have appeared all around town. Some of the pieces seem to disappear.

Unsure if they are being removed by town/state/county groups, or by mischievous individuals, it has led to a mission of stickers appearing on automobiles saying “save 8-bit art.”

More recently the artist has become adventurous by leaving framed tile art around for some lucky families to find and bring home to enjoy.

Exciting things happen in Islip!

So turn off your tv and head on your very own adventure to find these creative art pieces!

This was first published on the Islip Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.