1. what's the name you go by and where are you from?
Duel One, Duel RIS, Duel MCI from Bayside, Queens, NY.
2. Describe how you fell into this subculture. what year etc.
I started noticing graff in the early 80s when my parents would commute from Queens to Brooklyn every Sunday on the way to church. Got to see a lot of hitters on the Long Island and Brooklyn Queens Expressway which piqued my interest when I would see names written boldly with vivid colors. Even though I got to see some dope works, I didn’t think I would ever get into graffiti. It wasn’t until fall of 1984 when my one of my classmates and close friend started writing, is when I assumed the tag “SERK” short for berserk. I later changed the name to Duel in 1986.
3. who was the biggest influences when you first started?
Some of the names I saw early my career that were motivating were Ghost RIS, SO TDK (RIP), Rec127 (RIP), Kap and Cer TPA (RIP), Quik RTW, Joust, Old English 3, and Sheer to name a few. Those were some of the names that always seemed to be in your face wherever you went. They were also easy to read even if you didn’t write. Those names had good style so I’d say they were people I wanted to emulate.
4.What crew were you first representing?
The very first crew I got down with was FCA. Fresh Crazy Artists. It was ran by a kid who wrote CEN. Dude was nice actually. But I don’t think he really got up and he moved away right after he put me down and I never saw him again.
5. How did (or does) Graffiti/street art influence your work life or regular life?
Not sure if graff influences my regular life much. I try to keep that separate from my family life and adult priorities. Got to have balance. I love doing graff and I do it when I can at my own pace, but if it starts turning into a 9 to 5, I’m outta there.
6. Where is your favorite spot to paint (location wise)
I like painting anywhere that’s low risk, high reward. But if I had to choose one spot, I’d say NYC. Everything just looks so gritty and photos always look illmatic in New York.
7. Speaking of Locations , do you have a bucket list of where you want to travel to for painting?
That’s easy. Europe and Brazil. Them two regions produce some of the best bombers and artists.
8. Describe how your style compares to others in the USA , & Other parts of world.
I think my style, hands, throws, and piecing is clearly a NYC style. I think there’s a lot of dope work out there coming from different parts of the US and I can definitely appreciate it. It’s amazing to see some of the styles coming out and the contributions other states are bringing to the culture. Same thing goes to our overseas counterparts, there some really amazing things coming from all over the world. A lot of innovative stuff.
9. Where do you see graffiti art going in the future and how do you see your place in it?
I think the evolution of graff is going to get better. Styles and techniques keep advancing. Mainly because it’s a competitive scene. As writers we going to try and out do the previous works, other crews, etc. when it comes to getting up, getting over, going global, and laying it all on the line, graff writers and artists a like are going to keep raising the bar. I’m not sure where I’ll be in Al that and how much more I got but I’m trying to keep that torch lit as long as I can.
10. What inspires you to paint today versus when you started?
I just love to paint. Whether it’s doing throw ups, piecing, rolling out whole cars, doing street art. I love all of it. I love creating and getting up. I feel it’s the only thing that truly gives me inner peace. I don’t think about shit else when I do it and I am truly happy.
11. Do you have any good chase stories or riding train stories?
I don’t have many chase stories and I have no freight train riding stories. Yet. Last chase I had was in 2020 during the height of the pandemic. I went to paint some inter-modals during the day with my boy. We did some silver pieces and when we were finished, I noticed a cop creeping up behind us and we took off running toward an opening in a fence where another cop jumped out prematurely and we ran the other way. We decided to get off the tracks and cut through the warehouses which proved to be a dumb idea cause now we out in the open with cops crawling all over the place and us being the only two idiots on the street. Me and my boy got split up and I hid in some shallow bushes for about an hour an a half while cops were circling around looking for us. My hiding spot was real wack because it was a designated smoking and outdoor dining area. With the sparse vegetation and my feet sticking out, I’m surprised no one saw me and alerted the police to my position. After the cops left the area, I still had to make my way back to my car which was several miles away cause I caught a ride with my boy to the spot and didn’t reconnect with him. That walk sucked cause I thought for sure I was going to get grabbed but I got lucky. I saw the cops twice and they didn’t even look at me. Was a good day.
12. Will you ever stop doing graffiti?
I am most likely going to ride it out till death. Even if I become incapable of carrying supplies into a yard to roll out a whole car, spray pieces, or do throw ups, I’ll still find a way to get up or contribute to the game. I’ll do monikers, scribe mirrors in public restrooms, wheat paste, stickers, or whatever.
13. what is the best graffiti movie in your opinion.
I’m going to say Style Wars. I feel it was very informative and captured all the elements of the culture well. Awesome interviews by some of the greatest to ever do it. But if we going to classify this as a documentary, then I’d say Turk 182.
14. Did the internet kill graffiti or give it more life?
Might of did a little of both. If you’re getting up, it could be a force multiplier and amplify what it is you are doing. May even help artists sell works to collectors. But on the other hand, there are people who use the internet to alter history and create the illusion of them getting up. Then there’s the law enforcement aspect.
15. Which whole car is your favorite?
I have a few but most likely my first one. That one was special. That was the check in the box for the bucket list.
16. What are your favorite mediums to use for your art and why?
Most of my works are mixed mediums. I use everything available around the house. But if I had to narrow it down to a single item, I’d say a black oil stick. I do a lot of cubist style drawings and I find the oil bar works the best for me.
17. How do you think the youth views graffiti art in today's high tech world?
Younger folks may use technology to their advantage I’m guessing.
18. Do you have any advice for someone just starting out in this game?
Get familiar with history. Know the early years, know your city’s history, etc. develop a strong work ethics, respect others and the yards. Be consistent. Be patient. You will get better in time just got to keep rocking and keep putting the work in.
19. What music influences your art?
I would probably say music I grew up on in the 80s. Punk, hardcore, new wave, and hip hop from that era.
20. Any Regrets?
Only regret I really have is not taking more pictures. Never thought it was a big deal and the graff I did would always be there.
21. What is next?
Not sure for now. I have no real plans. Maybe some travel in the future.
22. shots out?
Thank you for having me on this interview. Shouts to my RIS Crew family, my boy Heck from Graffstars, and the guys I’ve been painting with recently: Stane CWB, Jaos (Freight Dwellers), Stye, Spare TNT, and Nyke CMW. I also all people that have shown me love and support over the years. Thank you!!
⚜️ Her is a graffiti writer that started tagging in high school. In 2017 she apprenticed under Norm at Loveletters as an aspiring tattooist. Today she is a successful tattoo artist that is well known within her community as hardworking, humble and talented. This new year along with several other tattoo artists she helped open a new tattoo shop on the outskirts of downtown Los Angeles called Artifacts Studio. She expressed that it is important to learn the rules in this culture and to develop your own style over time and to remember that life outside of graffiti is just as important as getting up⚜️
⚜️ Pyro discovered graffiti in the 80's and was drawn to the placasos and block letters that permeated throughout Los Angeles, even then he understood that they came from violence. In 81 through 82 his parents took him to New York where he witnessed some legendary graffiti writing and had the opportunity to walk a whole car, he even sat next to some of the greats who likely bombed some of those cars. This was just the beginning though he didn't fully understand it at the time, but it captured his fascination. When he got home, he started painting his own pieces, it started with block letters and graffiti backgrounds, elements like shine and sparkle⚜️