From Sons of Anarchy to Christchurch Airport: Graffiti artist Dcypher paints around the world

CREATIVE: Christchurch-born and LA-based Ellis Guy has been working on an Oi YOU! mural at the Christchurch International Airport. PHOTO: MARTIN HUNTER

Guy Ellis’ work has featured in television shows NCIS, Silicon Valley and Sons of Anarchy.

But the Christchurch-born street artist known as Dcypher said even now painting murals at the city’s airport doesn’t seem “small time.”

Ellis has been back in town from Los Angeles where he has lived for the past decade to work on a series of murals outside the Christchurch International Airport with street art group Oi YOU!.

It was in the United States where he was offered the opportunity to work on a graffiti mural for Fox’s hit show Sons of Anarchy.

“They blew the walls up with dynamite so we had to paint two – there were two takes at blowing my work up,” he said.

Another career highlight was heading Dubai to paint a portion of the world’s longest graffiti wall, which is 2km long, for the Guinness Book of World Records.

“It was a false wall in the shape of the United Arab Emirates. There were hundreds of artists there from all over the world,” he said.

Including some of Ellis’ long time idols that inspired him to take up the art form.

“That was a highlight. Working with some of the super famous guys from New York who pioneered street art on subway trains.”

But with the city’s street art boom following the February 22, 2011, earthquake, Ellis has been spending more and more time at home. “You’re doing a good job at pulling me back,” he said.

Ellis and Oi YOU! co-director George Shaw have spent long days and nights working on the murals that feature pohutukawa, Hector’s dolphin, and the Canterbury Plains on benches and planter boxes outside the departure terminal.

Some nights they’ve been there until 1.30am and back by 7am, Mr Shaw said.

But Ellis assures that this doesn’t feel “small time” compared to his work overseas – a lot of his work is scattered around the city. Including a mural on the side of the Wharenui Swimming Pool and Sports Centre in Riccarton.

“Its just as fun and it’s important. Especially after the earthquake,” he said. “Christchurch is always going to be my home.”

Mr Shaw said he and Ellis were given three reference points by the airport to base the concepts for the murals on. “Our airport, our city, our island.”

The bench murals are one of several collaborations between Oi YOU! and the airport. Ellis will be back later in the year to start work on the second piece.