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Dcypher Lyttelton

‘Dcypher-ing’ Lyttelton’s story: murals that speaks for the community

Locals and visitors to Lyttelton’s Oxford Street Reserve have plenty to feast their eyes upon as they take in the stunning and spectacular murals at the revamped skate park and playground.

Dcypher Lyttleton

Completed last month, the murals, which took around two weeks of labour intensive painting, are by Los Angeles-based Christchurch artist Dcypher, also known as Guy Ellis. They tell a visual story incorporating native plants and birds, Maori design motifs, and a Lyttelton inspired urban scene featuring a skateboarder. Dcypher had fellow DTR Crew artists – Wongi, Ikarus and Jacob Yikes – assisting him on the job.
Christchurch City Council project manager, Jon Malis, says the murals reflect the history of Lyttelton and the site and appeal directly to the youth of the area who are the primary users of the park.
The artworks are a key element of the $375,000 site upgrade, which includes extensive playground landscaping, repairs to the park’s earthquake-damaged heritage walls, and the skate park being rebuilt.
An acclaimed muralist, Dcypher’s work features in the Spectrum Street Art Show and several murals around Christchurch, along with international street art festivals, cityscapes, museums and high-profile advertising campaigns. His work has also been showcased in Brazil, New Zealand and the United States, and he was recently invited to participate in painting the World’s Largest Graffiti Wall for the Guinness Book of World Records in Dubai.
Most impressive of all however, is that the prodigiously talented Dcypher has truly hit the big time, having developed mural art works specifically for the TV shows, Sons of Anarchy, Silicon Valley and NCIS.

Rangiora mural

An artistic acomplishment: new mural graces the wall of the Kip McGrath Education Centre in Rangiora

It’s been said that you’re only ever limited by your imagination. And, although the very premise of this saying is formed on a fictional narrative rather than the ability to supersede physical limitations, it is none the less a sweet concept.

Rangiora mural

And yet James (Jim) Dykes has made good on this notion, not letting his age of 91 years get in the way of the production of an impressive 16.5m mural in Rangiora.
When the removal of a shed left the large grey concrete wall exposed at the Kip McGrath Education Centre in Ivory Street, James’ son, Director Dr Grant Dykes asked his dad for some ideas and he ended up putting his paintbrush wielding hand up for the task.
“I wanted to depict something of the emptiness which is so much of New Zealand,” James says.
“So I thought what better way than to represent the flood plain; the tussock covered riverbed with the sun still to come up.”
The fact that is has taken a year to complete, working just an hour at a time around the harsh sun and reliance on his wife Jean and daughter in law Delia for assistance, just further adds to this impressive feat of determination.
Outgoing Mayor David Ayers was on hand to unveil the masterpiece last month, pointing to the historical significance of Canterbury’s braided rivers and current significance of the region’s arts in his speech.