Talented graffiti artist and illustrator Duza has more than one trick up his sleeve. Come discover his flashy, organic universe
This interview was originally posted in September 2010 on FatCap's French site. The stellar translation was done for you by FatCap Editorial Assistant Jacqui M. For earlier translations, see The Veil and Street Art and Rock's Trip to India.
Duza, from the crew 3PP, is known for his characters that are somewhere between realism and caricature. He is also a gifted and inventive illustrator. From him we see flashy colors, a slight penchant for zombies and organic forms, and an off-beat humor, especially in his series of t-shirts that you can find on the website Qualitee.
FC: Shall we start with introductions? How did you get started with graffiti and how did you get into graphic design?
I'm Duza. I’m 24 years old and I’ve been living in Paris for a few years. For as long as I can remember I’ve had a pencil in my hands. My family and I lived in a trailer so as a result, instead of drawing on the walls of a house as kids do, my brothers and I painted everywhere outside. One day my dad gave me spray paint. Then Ozor 3BDC and KCE, who passed by our area, brought me True Colorz and other graffiti magazines. You could say that I fully got into graffiti when I was about 14 years old.
Graphic design came naturally to me. I was looking for a school to go to just to pass the time and to do something close to what I like to do. During one school’s open house I saw some graffiti on the walls. I liked that so I took and passed the test to get in, got my professional certification, and after that I continued on to get my master’s degree in graphic design.
Then I set up my own business. I have definitely learned the most since being on my own and working for myself.
FC: How did your crew 3PP come together??
After a couple of crews I joined EF, with the artists Crol, Simer, BPertur.B, Chour, Alwest, Poze and others. I met Sly2, who was with the crew KOC, in high school. I introduced him to my crew and a little while later a few of the guys from the two crews went to Poitier for a jam. The crews joined together from that group at Poitier, where Res was also making music, and that’s what brought about the creation of 3PP.
FC: How do you go about creating your art? Do you sketch beforehand? Do you use a graphic tablet? What tools do you use?
In general I’ll start with sketching whether it’s on a wall, some canvas, or a computer. I like to have a good foundation before diving into things. I use almost everything that I get my hands on because using only one type of tool is a little boring. There are so many things to explore and to mix.
On the computer I’ll either work on a tablet or on the pad of my cellphone. It all depends on how I want to represent my creation
In every case, I like dynamism, fluid lines, details, and colors that catch the eye.
FC: You participate in t-shirt contests. What do you think are some of the best and the most creative ones (contests and artists)?
Contests are always interesting whether it’s for promotion, meeting people, or the occasional profit. Among the most well-known is La Fraise. However, I’m more interested in the tastes and communities of online sites outside of Europe like DBH (Design by Human) or Threadless. Other than that I’m also impressed by the brand new Battletees where you can find a lot of different styles.
FC: Do you still paint with your 3PP crew members?
Unfortunately, due to a lack of time, I haven’t painted very much with them lately. The last piece I did was with Morne K2K DMJC who was with me since the beginning. 3PP puts up less stuff than before, but we still really enjoy it.
FC: What creation of yours are you the most proud of?
I’m rarely proud of what I do. I’m always telling myself that I can do better. I believe that helps me improve. My latest work that I really invested myself in is “Oups.” I started the idea with a pencil, then I took it to the computer, and finally I painted it on canvas with much pleasure. According to me, it was my first "real" canvas painting. It was also my first painting on that large of a scale, 39x67in (although it’s true that some would say that’s still small).
FC: What are five things you want to do before you die?
What a classic question: Move forward, travel, keep smiling, make those who surround me smile, and duck these kinds of mushy questions.^
FC: Haha ok. What are your favorite movies, albums, and books?
I don’t really have a lot of “favorites.” But for the sake of the question, I’m attracted to movies like “Natural Born Killers,” “A Night in Hell,” and some Tarantino or Miyasaki films. As for music, I have a pretty eclectic taste. Right now I’m into some rap and hip-hop with Swift Guad and Roce, some jazz with Django Reinhardt, also Johnny Cash or Caravan Palace. For books I mostly read Artbooks and those of old artists like Mucha or Schiele. I also have some comics; at the moment I’m into Mutafukaz.
FC: Why do you have so many zombies in your creations?
I grew up in the tattoo world. On top of that, one of my brothers is a tattoo artist at Mattatoo. Skulls, monsters, and pin-up girls are all very integral parts of that world. So, on one hand that stuff is a lot of fun to me and on the other, I love the textures that you can use and the idea of being able to push the boundaries of classic proportions.
FC: Do you have any plans in progress or for the future?
JIn October 2010 I participated in John Hamon’s exposition at the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris with 100 other artists. I have some stuff that I’m working on for my clothing lines for some rappers and others. I’m also counting on my brother to take me under his wing and introduce me to tattooing to explore a new medium. I’m going to refocus on the brand that I created with Size, Qualitee, and lastly I’m going to continue developing my website.
I’m also going to take more time to paint. I’m looking for some partners to make my plans for my exposition that I’m currently working on a reality.
FC: Any last words?
I want to thank you FatCap for this opportunity to talk about my art. I also want to thank my family, Margot and her family, and all the homies for their support. Zan, Alex, Adrien, the Vicencios, Nil, Iks, Julien, along with all the others I may have forgotton. Shout out to 3PP, TSF, Morne, K2K, Ozor, MTS, Rond, Shera, Tomek, GMG. As well as to all you who read this interview. Thanks.
Duza's T-Shirts (French site)
Be sure to check out Design by Human's T-Shirt contests for Duza's designs. Winners of their contests get their designs sold on DBH's site (Note: no euro conversion or international shipping for those that are state-side), so vote!