Raglan born artist Sam Mathers gets to see his giant hand-painted egg return to Auckland next week from its month-long travels around the country in the Whittaker’s Big Egg Hunt.

Meantime its value this week on TradeMe, where most of the 100 fibreglass eggs are being auctioned, rose to $700-odd and Sam was feeling “pretty lucky” to have been included among top New Zealand artists fundraising for charity by showcasing their original artwork.

It’s “cool”, he told the Chronicle from Auckland where he’s lived the past few years and works fulltime as an artist. “I did it because it’s all good promotion,” he added.

The event – in which the eggs are hidden for a month throughout Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in historic, landmark and public places – is a first for New Zealand but is part of the world’s BIGGEST egg hunt which originated in London in 2010 to draw people into an Easter fundraising gimmick by locating the giant artworks.

All proceeds will raise vital funds for Starship children’s hospital.

Sam painted his metre-high egg over six or seven days. Entitled ‘Big Birds’, it shows some of the world’s largest birds – the ostrich, the now-extinct elephant bird and the moa, all of which laid the biggest eggs.

The 30-year-old artist, who was schooled in Raglan and gained an art degree at Wintec in Hamilton, used a multi-media technique involving hundreds of layers of paint. He captured the process in 7000 photos taken from the wide-angle lens of his camera set up in his studio, then put the shots together to make a fast-paced video clip of the artistic process.

Sam worked his way up in the art world after being influenced by a job with Sotheby’s in England, which saw him handling works by some of the greatest artists who ever lived.

On returning home he held his first solo exhibition in Raglan. Another solo exhibition and commissions followed in Auckland, which in turn led two years ago to a commissioned mural for the New School of Architecture and Design in San Diego.

He’s since exhibited in art shows throughout New Zealand and his art is now sought after by serious art collectors here and overseas.

Edith Symes

Sam’s TradeMe auction closes next Tuesday, April 22.