Space Invader Mosaics
Year Levels: 2 – 8
with Dee Zabel
Click Here to download Lesson Plan
In this activity you will create your own Space Invader mosaic using coloured paper squares and a glue stick. There is the flexibility to stick to a more traditional rectangular piece or to extend your student’s skills to a free form. To build upon this activity there is the option to link to using technology by installing the finished artwork and photographing it as documentation of the invasion, just like Invader does.
“Invader” is a French Street Artist who has been working on the Space Invader Project since 1998. This project is about liberating art from museums and galleries as well as freeing Space Invaders (characters in the 1978 arcade game of the same name) from the virtual world. Invader uses ceramic tiles to bring the pixilations into our physical world. He started installing his characters around the streets of Paris before taking the invasion to a global scale. Each city that he invades has 20-50 invaders. There are 3864 Invaders in 79 cities. For each invader he installs he gives himself points. He has an App called FlashInvaders which allows people from all over the world to compete in finding his mosaics. When you find a mosaic and take a photo of it, the App uses geolocation to authenticate the artwork. If it’s a genuine Space Invader you receive points and a ranking against all participants. Invader works with a small team, but does all the work himself, and keeps his identity a secret so that he can attend his gallery openings without anyone knowing. During his career Invader has branched out from his initial creatures to include a range of pop culture references including Mario Brothers, Hello Kitty, Star Wars, The Simpsons, Ninja Turtles and Disney characters to name a few. He’s even invaded the Tanzania with animals of the Serengeti looking on.
Art Elements & Principles
Colour, Shape, Contrast
Cross-Curriculum / Capabilities Links
Geography, Maths, Ethical Capability
Visit Invader’s website and explore his mosaic artworks by clicking on the Invaders on the World Invasion map. Click here to visit the website now
Have you been to any of the cities he has invaded?
What do you notice about each Invader?
What does it mean to be pixilated?
Describe Invaders use of colour.
How does he use only squares to make his characters?
What is a mosaic?
Do you think Invader has permission to invade cities and install his artwork? What makes you think that?
When/where does he make his invaders?
How do you think he installs the invaders?
What colours will you use?
How will you make your invader contrast (stand out) from the background?
How will you make your invader looked curved when you can only use squares?
Use the grid provided (Or encourage older students to make their own using a ruler and pencil) to collage squares to make an invader.
Create a character that fits on the A4 grid.
Safely Install your invader in your home or garden.
Use your iPad or device to photograph your invader.
Step 1: Prepare: Print the 2cm square grid provided (To extend for older students you may get them to draw their own grid on a sheet of A4 paper). For more complex designs use a 1cm square grid.
Step 2: Prepare: Cut colour paper into 2cm square pieces or 1cm square pieces if you are using a 1cm grid. Any paper will work, so this is a great opportunity to recycle paper you have at home. Assist younger students by ruling lines to cut. (pre-cut Cardboard Mosaic Squares are a great easy option also)
Step 3: Play with arranging the squares in different positions to make an invader on top of the grid.
Step 4: Finalise the design by using a glue stick to secure the coloured squares to the grid.
Step 5: Glue squares around the invader to make a contrasting background.
Take it a step further…
Safely “install” your invader in your home or yard with Display Tack. Take a photograph of your work that hints at where your invader is installed. Send your family on a hunt to find the invader.
Discussion / Reflection
What was challenging when making your Invader?
If you could install your invader in any city, where would you install it and why?
Why do you think people have been stealing invaders? (see before & after image above)
If Invader installs his creatures without permission do you think they should be left there or taken down? Why?
Materials & Equipment
Mosaic Cardboard Squares (optional)
Grid Template (provided with Lesson Plan or available to download separately below)
BluTak / Display Tack
Don’t have these materials at home?
Click Here to view recommended materials
Related Artwork, Links & Sources
All artwork and images provided are courtesy of Dee Zabel, with the exception of one image (source provided below)
Image: New York – Invader Mosaic Missing (before photo)
Image Source: www.hypocritedesign.com
Share Your Outcomes!
How did you go!? We’d love you to share your artwork with us on Facebook or Instagram!