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23 Mar 2023

Meet the artists

Have you seen our new permanent Pride artwork yet? Created by artist Jacob Yikes and collaborators, it’s sparking joy for visitors here at the airport and contributing to positive conversations in Ōtautahi Christchurch. Hear Jacob and three more airport artists chat about their creations.

From street art to sculptures and creative installations, we love showcasing artists’ work here at the airport. Art helps us create a vibrant welcome for visitors and a sense of cultural identity that we can all be a part of. Check out the full spectrum of art at Christchurch Airport. Next time you're out, follow our art trail map to see all the works in full, glorious colour!

Recently, we asked artists Jacob Yikes, Flox, Dcypher and Greg Straight about the ideas behind their art. Here’s what they said.

Jacob Yikes

Progressive Pride Flag artwork

Inspiration for your artwork? My daughter Jet, who is part of the rainbow community. We worked together on this project with my friend and fellow crew member Guy Ellis aka Dcypher and George Shaw from Oi YOU! The final result is an abstracted interpretation of the Progressive Pride Flag.

Time to create it? Around two weeks.

Materials required? This design was made digitally in Adobe Photoshop and Procreate. Then it was made into a vinyl sticker and applied to the glass.

What does creating art mean to you? I’ve been creating art as a full-time job for roughly 15 years. Art has been a passion of mine from a young age and being an artist has become an extension of who I am as a person.

Favourite artwork you’ve ever created? There have been so many paintings over the years so it’s hard to choose one! In terms of murals I would say the latest one I completed in Invercargill for a street art exhibition called South Sea Spray is up there as one of my favourites. It was created in a style I’ve been trying to develop for the last year or so and I was pretty happy with the outcome.

How would you define your artistic style? My style is a combination of surrealism mixed with abstraction. I have a studio practice and exhibit works in galleries also.

Favourite thing about living in Ōtautahi Christchurch? Getting to be a part of the city’s development and create artworks all around Ōtautahi.

Seeing your work at Christchurch Airport feels... Really cool. I’m glad I got to involve my daughter in this project too.

If you could go anywhere from Christchurch Airport you'd go... I think I would say Egypt! I really want to see the Great Pyramids of Giza in person someday.

See more from Jacob Yikes here

Dcypher AKA Guy Ellis

The Canterbury mural

Inspiration for your artwork? My inspiration for the Canterbury mural was the fact that Christchurch has become an adventure city from the mountains to the ocean and everything in between. Christchurch has it all!

Time to create it? Including the time to design the artwork, this mural took four weeks to complete.

Materials required? I used water based acrylic paint, hand painted with brushes and rollers.

What does creating art mean to you? It’s everything. I paint whenever I have a spare moment. 

Favourite artwork you’ve ever created? The Antarctic mural next to Tūranga Library. It was the largest wall I have completed and I like pushing myself to create visual effects like realistic animals. Painting the underwater effect was fun.

How would you define your artistic style? Street art, graffiti art, mural art.

Favourite thing about living in Ōtautahi Christchurch? Christchurch is growing its cultural identity through the arts and it’s cool to be a part of it!

Seeing your work at Christchurch Airport feels... It always feels great to come home and see the art that represents Christchurch as a city. 

If you could go anywhere from Christchurch Airport you'd go... To Antarctica. Christchurch is one of the southern most points with the ability to access such a remote place.

See more from Dcypher here

Flox AKA Hayley King

Orange Fronted Parakeet/Kākāriki mural

Inspiration for your artwork? Nature and the beautiful South Island landscape. My art is always a celebration of what we have and how important it is to treasure and maintain our unique flora and fauna.

Time to create it? I was on site painting this mural for about three days, which was preceded by weeks of drawing and prep.

What does creating art mean to you? Creating is my everything. It’s a part of who I am, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. It grounds me, while also pushing me into situations that feel challenging. There’s never a dull moment!

Favourite artwork you’ve ever created? I have a personal challenge where I want the last piece that I painted to be the best I’ve ever done! I’m particularly excited about my latest collection, as I’m really pushing boundaries with colour, while also going really big. The bigger, the more of a challenge and more frightening it is… therefore the better the result!

How would you define your artistic style? My art is very nature derived. There’s a feminine quality to it, but the medium has always levelled the style out with a sense of “grit” too.

Favourite thing about Ōtautahi Christchurch? I love visiting Ōtautahi! I’ve been lucky enough to work in Christchurch heaps over the last few years, so I’ve had the pleasure of watching and taking part in the growth and blossoming of this beautiful, vibrant little city.

Seeing your work at Christchurch Airport feels... It’s always a pleasure stepping off the plane at Ōtautahi and seeing the mural as I get picked up. I love to see people looking and responding to it positively, it brings me great joy. That’s what painting murals is all about – bringing joy and vibrancy to an area and giving that community a gift, something they can call their own. 

See more from Flox here

Greg Straight

People of the airport bollards

Inspiration for your artwork? I worked with George (Oi YOU!) and Paul (Identity Signs) to create the works. Our inspiration was the different cultures and nationalities of people who visit the airport. 

Time to create it? About a week to design the artwork, then the team and I spent roughly 12 hours a day for 12 days straight painting them!

Materials required? They were designed on my laptop and painted using enamel paint and brushes. We got the designs onto the bollards using 'old school' methods – printing the designs out at actual size, then using chalk and a sharp pencil to make an impression. Outlines were coloured with several coats of enamel paint then finally spray varnished. It was quite a process!

What does creating art mean to you? It fulfils something inside me. Having an image in your head and then making it into an actual art print that people buy is pretty cool.

How would you define your style? I’m known for my vibrant use of colour, bold lines and graphic simplicity. My artwork often features New Zealand landscapes and wildlife, and I'm passionate about promoting Aotearoa’s unique culture and natural beauty through my work. 

Seeing your work at Christchurch Airport feels... Amazing! I did a South Island trip two years ago with the family and we flew into Christchurch Airport. It was a real buzz seeing my wife and kids react to the bollards. My son Leo skateboarded between them and particularly liked the police officer blowing on the pie! It was interesting seeing the public reacting to them too. I think people like them and hopefully they make people smile.

See more from Greg Straight here.