French street artist Invader first started sticking his Space Invader art mosaics around Paris in the late 1990s. Today, his works are dotted in major cities around the world and can sell for over $1 million at auction. We spoke to Celine Fraser, MyArtBroker’s Acquisition Coordinator and Invader fan, about the market, where to buy Invader prints and multiples and what to look for in your first piece.
“If you’re looking to collect an artist who is still making art, still exhibiting and still relevant, Invader is the perfect place to start. From his screenprints to Invasion Kits and unique mosaics, there is a range of prices that are accessible to almost any collector,” says Celine Fraser, MyArtBroker’s Acquisition Coordinator.
Invader has been making collectables since the early 2000s, shortly after he began creating street art. Like Keith Haring’s Pop Shop, Invader had a store where he offered items like Invasion Kits and also released limited-edition screenprints to coincide with his gallery exhibitions.
“As Invader got more confident in his work, he became unsatisfied with only putting up mosaics,” Celine explains. “He wanted to, literally, ‘invade’ other cities, which is why he created the Invasion Kits. These playful little packs of mosaics are about half the size of what he puts on the streets, but people can buy them, take them home or put them up on a wall, and it’s like a little piece of Invader has taken over their city.”
While unique Invader mosaics can sell for up to $1.2 million (over £900,000) at auction, his prints and multiples can start from just a few thousand.
“Invader’s screenprints are his most accessible works. An unsigned edition of his instantly recognisable Rubik Kubrick series, like Clockwork Orange or The Shining, cost around £5,000, while a signed edition can cost £10,000,” says Celine.
“Then at the higher end of his editions are the Invasion Kits: a sealed and signed Invasion Kit can cost up to £20,000. This is still much lower than artists like Banksy or Andy Warhol, whose prices start from £30,000.”
“Invader is an excellent artist for first-time art investors because his price points are much more accessible than other artists in the street art or urban art categories,” says Celine.
“But at the same time, his market is definitely going up. His highest auction prices were set in the last 2-3 years, which is a great sign for a living artist still making new work. While his prices are currently low, they won’t always stay low. I think he’ll only go up from here.”
Invader does not usually offer certificates of authenticity like Banksy’s Pest Control does, so Celine recommends you start by checking the artwork’s provenance (record of previous ownership), and also that its edition, year, size and signature are all correct.
“I think dimensions are one of the most important aspects to check on any artwork,” Celine advises. “For example, if you know that a piece should be 30cm, but the measurements come back at 27cm, you know for a fact it’s a fake.”
Also take a close look at the signature of the piece and compare it with other Invader signatures online. “If your piece’s signature looks the same as another signature, then it was traced or copied. Real, handwritten signatures look similar to each other, but never identical, there should be small differences.”
Carefully check the Invasion artwork before you buy, as its condition will directly affect its value – any defects can reduce its value and return on investment.
Common signs of damage include tears and scratches on the paper (or cracks and chips for the mosaic tiles), as well as stains and faded colours.
Celine recommends you request a condition report from the seller – this is a document created by a professional which lists all the artwork’s defects (or lack of) and will vouch for its quality. MyArtBroker partners with a professional conservator to offer a free condition report as standard to our buyers. If there are signs of damage, we will work with our conservator to fix them – often at no cost to you.
How should you care for your Invader artwork after purchase? “If you buy an Invasion Kit, leave it sealed in the package. The second you take it out, it’s devalued,” warns Celine. The packaging sometimes holds Invader’s signature or his assembly instructions, so damaging this is like damaging a part of the artwork itself.
“If you buy a screenprint and want to frame it, get it float-mounted on an acid-free paper backboard, with museum-grade archival glass – I cannot stress this enough – because if the print is exposed to sunlight or humidity, the paper will start to yellow. If it is back-mounted to the board, it can bubble.” If you are not planning to frame your print, put it in a dust-free portfolio case and store it in a safe place. “Remember to pull out your Invader print every few months and check the condition is still good,” Celine adds.
Invader’s biggest market is in Europe, particularly in France, his native country. If you live outside of Europe, it may take longer to find the right seller or artwork at the right price.
In the past, eBay was one of the most popular places to buy and sell Invader prints and multiples – but these online platforms run the risk of fake works and scammers. “Today, serious buyers and sellers no longer use eBay for Invader and prefer to go through more reputable sources, like auction houses or private brokers, where they can trust an artwork is real and has proof of provenance,” says Celine.
Auction houses have an established reputation for trust and expertise. But their auctions are restricted to a set calendar and their fees are also very high – around 25% of the hammer price. Buyers also need to pay for their own shipping.
MyArtBroker offers the ease of an online process and the knowledge and security of an auction house. Your personal broker has expert insight into the Invader market and will work with you to find the artwork you want, at the price you’re willing to pay. We will also handle authenticity, check the print’s condition and arrange shipping after the sale is complete. Get in touch with us if you are interested and we will talk you through the process.