Which Came First—The Artist or the Egg?

What happens when some of New York’s finest artists, designers, writers, brands and street artists meet the heritage of Fabergé and the child-like spirit of an old-fashioned egg hunt? Magic. Big names such as Zaha Hadid, Jeff Koons, Faust, Tracey Emin, William Wegman, Stephen Doyle, Debbie Millman, and many others came together for the Fabregé sponsored Big Egg Hunt New York.

Egg #119 by Prince's Drawing School at Rockefeller Center

Egg #119 by Prince’s Drawing School at Rockefeller Center

The Big Egg Hunt started in 2012 in London. A philanthropic enterprise, it raised $1.5 million dollars in that year, and looks to match or surpass that number this year in New York City. The charities supported this year are Studio in a School, which brings visual art classes and professional artists to over 150 public schools every year, and The Elephant Family, which provides conservation and protects Asia’s forests for elephants.

A surreal intervention, the city streets and neighborhoods of New York have been infiltrated with hidden treasures to be discovered by kids and adults alike. Excitement alights every face upon spying one of the 2.5 ft. tall eggs scattered throughout the five boroughs. Each egg weighs approximately 45 lbs, including the base stand, and each is uniquely treated. Whether built of wood or metal, covered in collage or graffiti, each egg is a colorful jewel juxtaposed against both the gritty, busy streets and serene, quiet enclaves of NYC.

Installation surrounding Egg #263 by Franklyn Project

Installation surrounding Egg #263 by Franklyn Project

Egg #162 by Stamberg, Aferiat/Tsang + Vilanova

Egg #162 by Stamberg, Aferiat/Tsang + Vilanova

Egg #282 by Cadogan Tate

Egg #282 by Cadogan Tate

Egg #190 Detail by Waris Ahluwalia

Egg #190 Detail by Waris Ahluwalia

Egg #256 by Theo Rosenblum

Egg #256 by Theo Rosenblum

Egg #31 in process by Debbie Millman and Kevin O'Callaghan, Kevin is assessing the stability of the egg

Egg #31 in process by Debbie Millman and Kevin O’Callaghan, Kevin is assessing the stability of the egg

One might have expected Debbie Millman to have contributed a text-based work, and that’s where she began concepting. “Originally, I was thinking about doing something typographic using some text from E.B. White’s This is New York … but I struggled to develop something that I thought would be impactful and stand out in the sensory-overload streets of NYC.” She invited her colleague Kevin O’Callaghan at the School of Visual Arts to help create something with a stronger presence.

Egg #31 by Debbie Millman and Kevin O'Callaghan

Egg #31 by Debbie Millman and Kevin O’Callaghan

Each artist has gone to great lengths to ensure their creation is weather-proof. Yacht varnish has worked well in protecting many of the eggs from the elements. According to the instruction manuals the artists receive, first aid kits must be provided to the committee, including spare adornments and extra paint and materials, in case they are needed. Many of the eggs will be moved to up to four different locations throughout the course of their display. Some have had to undergo minor repairs and retouching along the way.

Though a delight in the physical landscape, the virtual interaction is also a fun bonus. The Big Egg Hunt NY app allows you to collect the eggs you discover by scanning a QR code and putting the egg in your virtual basket. The app features egg puns and fun animations allowing you to “crack” the egg and learn more about each artist’s intent. A traveling Where’s Waldo egg can be found each day with clues provided via Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Fabergé Big Egg Hunt NY website

Fabergé Big Egg Hunt NY website

Egg #185 by Nick Matic in process

Egg #185 by Nick Matic in process

Nick Matic, a tattoo artist in New York finished his egg in two days after the approval of his design. The ornament references the Chrysler Building in an abstract way.

Egg #185 by Nick Matic

Egg #185 by Nick Matic

Egg #150 by Chelsea Hrynick

Egg #150 by Chelsea Hrynick

On April 18th the eggs will all be moved and displayed together for a week in Rockefeller Center. An auction will follow at Sotheby’s. Online bidding has already begun with bids on all the eggs starting at $500. Right now, the leader is Jeff Koon’s egg at over $360,000. Zaha Hadid’s is in second at $31,000. Find the bidding action here. If you can’t afford a large version or just don’t have the space in your apartment to stash a full sized egg, some of the designs can be purchased in a smaller format here.

Egg #111 by Béatrice Coron

Egg #111 by Béatrice Coron

The egg hunt is a great excuse to get out in New York and explore neighborhoods you haven’t ventured to before. If you live in the city, make sure to download the app and follow the fun. If not, collect your virtual eggs and enjoy some egg eye candy! See all the eggs here.

Additional Resource: Inspired by the myriad of big egg colors? 

  • Consider refreshing your Pantone toolbox with a new set including 84 recently added colors. Save big on Pantone.

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