With the rising demand for street art showing no sign of abating, we take a closer look at the anonymous French street artist that every art enthusiast is now looking to collect.
Born in 1969, Invader is an anonymous French street artist best known for his alien mosaics. Now discoverable in a total of 79 cities, from Berlin to Bhutan, Invader’s unique mosaics can be found everywhere, adorning the exterior of public buildings and iconic global landmarks. With the aim to ‘invade’ the world, the artist brings the digital into the physical realm, taking characters inspired by the 1978 Atari game, ‘Space Invaders’, and exhibiting them in accessible locations. Creating his 8-bit constructions since 1998, the artist has garnered himself a wide-reaching and loyal collector base.
Launching his career with his pixelated mosaics, Invader’s nostalgic work can be categorised as both street art and conceptual art. With 3999 mosaics across the world, the artist focuses on ‘liberating art from its usual alienators that museums or institutions can be’. However, in recent years, Invader has expanded the scope of his artwork, turning to other mediums including prints, collectable patches and Invasion Kits, which have become collectable items in their own right. The artist has also gone on to create new and different series in addition to his traditional pixelated aliens. In 2005, he launched his Rubikcubism series, which sees the artist reimagining famous artworks, movie scenes and television characters through Rubik’s Cube tiles; a move which took his art forward into a whole new genre.
As the artist works in various mediums, Invader can be acquired by anyone in their collecting journey, no matter what stage they are at. In 2003, the artist designed Invasion Guides, with each book telling the story of the invasion of a different city. With editions for Paris, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom - to name but a few – these guides have become collectable items that are sold at auction. This is also true of the artist’s Invasion Kits. Allowing the collector to participate in his tentacular invasion of public spaces, his Invasion Kits provide the lucky owner with the possibility to contribute to Invader’s world-wide conquest. Over time, these pre-ensembled ceramic tiles have accrued value, becoming treasured collectable items with each one being individually packed, numbered, and signed. In line with Invader’s meteoric rise to fame over the past ten years, the kits have risen in price, with the average sale price of the series increasing from £1,945 to £9,054 in the last decade. A more affordable price point than his prints or mosaics, Invader’s Invasion Kits are a perfect way for young collectors to take advantage of this burgeoning market.
Thanks to “The Banksy Effect”, Invader’s art market has grown exponentially in recent years. In 2019, the artist established a new auction record at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Day Auction. The artwork, TK_119 (2014), was estimated at $100,000 - 150,000 USD but went under the hammer for eight times its original estimate at $1,220,000 USD. Despite both the pandemic and a natural market correction after Invader’s record, his market has continued to grow. In 2021 alone, 52% of his offered lots were sold at above their estimated price. With interest in street art being higher than ever, there has been a continued desirability for his work among the next generation of collectors.