Another Header

December 11, 2010

Space Invaders: San Diego

Filed under: San Diego, Space Invader, The List, Travel, United States — anotherheader @ 2:40 am

Space Invader SD_19 finds a location on an abandoned building in downtown San Diego

San Diego has been invaded.  The news was shocking.

Somehow the major media outlets missed it.  Invader visited the west coast of the United States in June (2010) and left a collection tile mosaics behind in most unusual locations.  Indeed, Downtown San Diego has been invaded.  When learned the news, we rushed down for a weekend to investigate further.  For us, it would be the first dedicated Space Invader hunt since London last year.  And for Gigi, our new pup, it would be her first sleepover.  We hoped she (and her hosts’ house) survives!

Space Invader SD_06 plus a bonus defender

Monsieur Invader reports that 21 tile mosaics have been left in San Diego.  Our two days of searching downtown San Diego confirmed 14 Space Invaders.  Of the seven remaining Invaders, we found the locations of 4 that had, without doubt, been removed (in one case the building was torn down).  We spent hours hunting for the remaining three tile sets but we saw no sign.  Perhaps these had been removed soon after the installation or perhaps we never actually found the correct spot.  It is always this way.  Did we miss it or is it gone?  Invader’s mosaics often have a short environmental half-life.

The Invasion of San Diego coincided with the beginning of Viva La Revolucion:  A Dialogue with the Urban Landscape at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCASD).  This contemporary art show features street art and art from street artists like Banksy and Shepard Fairey. Along with the museum works, the La Revolucion’s artists, including Invader, contributed several halting pieces of street art.  We didn’t search for these outside works intentionally, but ended up seeing many of them as a side product of our Space Invader hunt.  It was an unexpected bonus to find the sometimes powerful and other times whimsical street works on San Diego’s otherwise generic downtown grid.  These works created some controversy in San Diego.  When does interesting art not create a debate?

San Diego's Balboa Theater

For us this Invader search reinforced urge for the activity.  Yes, hunting down the ever-elusive tile mosaics is an interesting urban game.  How can the Space Invaders hide so well in plain sight and be so obvious at the same time?  And, as always, we come away seeing and feeling more of the essence of the host city than would could ever imagine.  Therein lies the true appeal of the search.

Banksy's "Soldiers Painting a Peace Sign" was on display at MCASD

Has San Diego become the canvas for art?  Is a tour of the downtown the same as a stroll through an urban art museum?  Perhaps it is not.  But at least you don’t have to exit through the gift shop.

A Google Map was posted on Yelp with some of the locations of the Space Invaders.  And, of course, more hints can be found on Mr. Invader’s own website.

The Se San Diego served as a central base for our Space Invader search.

Pictures of San Diego’s Invaders have been posted on Picasa along with a few downtown San Diego pics.

Our San Diego Invader search scorecard:

1 SD_01 Yes Northside of the MCASD (Ketner Blvd & W. B St)
2 SD_02 No Between 12th and 13th on Broadway northside, 100% positive building torn down
3 SD_03 No Removed from pier facing USS Midway
4 SD_04 No Couldn’t find at location
5 SD_05 Yes 7th and F
6 SD_06 Yes West Grape bridge under 5
7 SD_07 Yes Broadway & India, partially removed, transformer box down low
8 SD_08 No Couldn’t find after location found, reportedly removed from location
9 SD_09 Yes City College, on the “M” building, north/courtyard side
10 SD_10 Yes Park and G
11 SD_11 Yes 6th and C
12 SD_12 No Site at Chicano Park, invader definitely removed, found exact spot
13 SD_13 No Couldn’t find after location found
14 SD_14 Yes Blick Art Supply 1844 India Street
15 SD_15 Yes 1st and F
16 SD_16 Yes 2nd Street Bridge over the I-5 on ramp from 1st Street
17 SD_17 No Couldn’t find at location
18 SD_18 Yes Front and Island, New Childrens Museum
19 SD_19 Yes 4th and C
20 SD_20 Yes Westfield Horton Plaza
21 SD_21 Yes Westfield Horton Plaza

More pictures by Banksy

And more pictures of San Diego’s street art:


  1. Hello,

    i saw your ‘invader’ images in and am interested to have those images for my personal decor. I’m not using it for any commercial.

    are youable to help and send me all those images in high resolution files?

    hope to hear from you soon.

    many thanks

    Comment by Dan — December 17, 2010 @ 9:56 am

  2. SD_17 was at 639 Kettner Blvd but was removed. It was the Aqua one photographed here:
    Still can’t find a pic or a trace of 4 or 13.

    Comment by sdgrifter — January 9, 2011 @ 11:10 pm

    • Thanks for the update. Interesting that the “extra credit” Invaders around SD_06 are different.

      Comment by anotherheader — January 10, 2011 @ 11:52 pm

  3. I was wrong about 17. It is still up. I was sure it had been removed because I had walked around that block so many times but I went to double check, and there it was, still intact. I guess the “extra credit” pieces are by the same person who goes by “Symbol” or has some symbol he/she uses to sign the pieces. I guess there are a few downtown and a few in La Jolla.

    Comment by sdgrifter — January 11, 2011 @ 3:24 am

    • Oh, well. I guess we missed this one. Invaders sometimes hide so well in plain sight.

      Comment by anotherheader — January 13, 2011 @ 1:14 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: