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Sam Mathers for Saatchi & Saatchi: Local designer on the rise

Holding his first exhibition “Where have you been?” at Blacksands Café in mid 2011, multi-disciplinary graphic designer and contemporary artist Sam Mathers has since been busy creating new works of art for big name advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi.

Chronicling his travels around the world and inspired by the stories behind the different cultures and iconic images he encountered, “Where have you been?” held in his hometown last year opened up the opportunity for Sam to be approached by Antonio Navas, Art Director from Saatchi & Saatchi.

“Antonio saw photos of my paintings from my art exhibition, basically, he really liked them and his secretary contacted me and asked if I would like to paint a commissioned mural in the Saatchi & Saatchi office,” says Sam.

One of the top creative strategists in the advertising industry, Venezuelan-born Navas has an impressive portfolio of campaigns under his belt including working with acclaimed artists such as Annie Liebowitz and Andy Warhol.

“Later on I found out that Antonio had worked with some famous artists during his early years, including Andy Warhol in New York. I was pretty stoked that someone of his status loved my art,” says Sam.

SAATCHI & SAATCHI mural by Sam Mathers from sam mathers on Vimeo.

Having worked as a freelance graphic designer for the past seven years, Sam has already worked for clients such as RPM, Analog and various magazines to list only a few names. Having started painting when he was around 15, Sam notes “I only ever painted a few random things if people asked me to, I basically got serious about painting around February last year when I got back from my OE.”

Living between Raglan, where he does his painting, and Auckland where he sells most of his work, Sam says his inspirations stem from getting out of Raglan and seeing new things, although he adds that Raglan is inspirational for its good waves.

“I’m inspired by different countries and their cultures, strong contrasting colours, interesting words, iconic people and popular culture. Other things would be my pets. I have a weird cat who does unusual things and also my dog who had a huge personality,” says Sam.

While recent attention is on Sam’s artistic endeavors, he has also done stints as a sponsored surfer as well as working as an extra on the set of Spartacus. Meeting the film crew while working on the set of another film set lead to a role as an extra in the hit television series.

“I really enjoyed meeting new people on set, the set design is pretty amazing too. The whole process of making a movie from start to finish is also really interesting. I enjoyed the awesome food and just having a good time each day,” says Sam of his experiences on set.

With the start of the New Year, Sam has recently completed another mural for the Media Design School in Auckland. Looking ahead, he will also be creating new works for an upcoming March exhibition at the Mobile Art Gallery in Auckland as well as another exhibition at the Saatchi & Saatchi gallery in April.

Head to to check out some great work by Sam.

Maki Nishiyama

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