Technology Meets Graffiti – A Talk With Duro the Third

Technology Meets Graffiti - A Talk With Duro the Third 1

Arturo “Duro the Third” Parada is known for his work around Toronto and worldwide. His stunning art pieces adorn the walls of some of the biggest spaces in the city.

Famous for his graffiti, photography, and graphic design, he has built a name for himself, one that people look to when they want to impress.

It is this drive that draws him to Apple products, and the iPad Pro specifically. While many people are happy just browsing social media or doing some minor work, Duro has made the iPad Pro an essential part of his workflow process, implementing the device to help craft stunning larger than life pieces while allowing the client feedback all along the way. Taking some time out of his busy schedule, Duro talked to CGMagazine about his process, getting into art, along with how the iPad changed the process of graffiti for him.

Technology Meets Graffiti - A Talk With Duro The Third 1
Arturo “Duro the Third” Parada Outside Venue – Photo by CGMagazine

CGMagazine:  Can you tell us a bit about your process? How did you get started and how has your process changed? When did you start incorporating technologies like the iPad?

Duro: I’ve been drawing my entire life. At 14, I started graffiti because of my cousin and his sketchbook [that] I looked through back in 1989. So I saw his sketchbook and viewed it as the greatest I’d ever seen. He had retired at the time and was going to OCAD, I was still a young kid so I started doing graffiti, started helping out a bit. I quickly became totally obsessed. I got good at graffiti around ‘93, and at that point, I was doing sketches in high school and putting them on walls. I would always think big, I am the only guy in Toronto that painted big. I would do the entire wall. Not just my name; I would do characters, backgrounds, along with all the letters. It would be an adventure. In ‘95 I got sick and tired of doing sketches and I said from now on I’m just going to make up the mural every single time on the wall. I was done with sketching, it takes too long. So I pretty much stopped sketching back in ‘98.

I got huge notoriety in graffiti, media, interviews, documentaries, and newspapers and then when I quit, I got bored of graffiti altogether. I got into graphic design, got into photography, got into music. Then a couple of years ago I started doing graffiti again and it started going off, started doing really well. Then a job came along where they saw my murals and they wanted me to do some drawings for their music festival called Ever After. They had around 40,000 people attending, Diplo, Skrillex along with other huge names playing—it was slated to be a massive festival. So they came to me and said, “We love what you do with murals and we would love to get some of your hand drawn work for our flyers for the advertising campaign.” I told him how it can be a real nightmare for me to do drawings because you have to take pictures of it, scan it in, clean it up, re-vectorize it. It involves too many processes. But I said, “I will tell you what, you give me a nice fat deposit and I’ll go buy an iPad Pro.” I’m dead serious.

Technology Meets Graffiti - A Talk With Duro The Third 2
Arturo “Duro the Third” Parada Outside Venue – Photo by CGMagazine

I was either going to get a used Wacom Tablet or the iPad Pro. I was not sure if the 12.9 inches would be enough for me, or if the pencil was good. I hadn’t tested it out yet. I’ve been on iPad for a long time, but I didn’t draw on it. So I got the deposit and I walked over to Best Buy and I played with one, and I was hooked within about three seconds. The pressure sensitivity is incredible. The workflow is incredible. The one thing with Apple that they don’t try too hard to impress you, it is very simple and right to the point.

Then I walked over to the Microsoft store and I tried playing with their $4,300 Surface Studio thing and for me there was lag and it was complicated. I literally looked at the guy and said “How can you sell this product? How can you say that the state of the art when my iPad is a billion times better?” After that, I became absolutely obsessed with it. I didn’t sleep for days. I just stayed up all night drawing. It was my first time drawing in 20 years. Then it got beyond drawing, I started doing quotes, I started taking pictures of things and drawing on top of it, it really changed my entire process drastically. After that, I saw my income jump by 30 per cent. Everybody wanted hand-drawn logos, hand-drawn clothing, hand-drawn covers of magazines. My life has changed drastically and I will never ever go back. Now I feel like the official underground salesman.

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Arturo “Duro the Third” Parada Demos iPad Pro Inside Venue – Photo by CGMagazine

CGMagazine: What was it about the iPad Pro that was so above the competition, and what was it about the platform that hooked you so quickly?

Duro: The main thing for me is how the pencil feels. Every human being for the last probably 500 years has had to use a pencil. I don’t care if it’s medieval times or whatever. Pencils are very simple it is just lead and wood—that is it. I think the problem with other competing companies is that they put all these buttons [on their input devices] and they get really fat and don’t weigh well. Whereas the Apple Pencil manages a good weight, it has that “oomph” feeling, you know?

Right off the bat, they got the weight right. Second of all, it feels like a real pencil. Third of all they added no buttons. They didn’t try to complicate things’. They’re just like, “Look the harder you press the better it goes.” Because with other competitors the pen does not have that level of simplicity to make it easy to use. Also, with Apple, the technology is off the charts, it knows the difference between my hand and the pencil, that’s incredible. Then on top of that, it’s extremely fast, I use my iPad for everything now, surfing the net, working, and then on top of there was this app called ProCreate which basically had hit the nail on the head as far as, “Here you go start using it”. With the competitors it’s very complicated, the brushes aren’t very adept, the on-offs are weird. Everything was done perfectly right, and it’s just a no-brainer.

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Arturo “Duro the Third” Parada Inside Venue – Photo by CGMagazine

I’ve let my seven-year-old niece use this and she became obsessed. If you can get a 41-year-old professional artist and a seven-year-old little girl to use this product effectively, you did your job.

To read the full interview, please pick up CGMagazine Issue #34 at your local newsstands or digitally via our online platforms.

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