I met Duer196 a couple months ago at a show he was doing with 2010 Battle Judge Nate1 at Seccession SF. He’s a great train writer & painter of model trains! Representing train writing from California, Duer has been writing since the mid 90′s & reps DCV SB SKA and Fr8 GeeS. Duer also pushed for DBI, a freight crew started by Dregz & Hate245. I am lucky to catch a quick interview with Mr. Duer.
MB: What area of LA or California were you hitting up your steel (trains)?
Duer: I liked to travel and back then I had the money to do so. I would travel all over Cali on missions to paint freight. Due to my travels, I developed a strong network of people that I could go visit to paint with. However, the majority of my trains were painted in the San Diego area, North of LA and out in the 909. I also painted a lot of metal when living in Mississippi in 2001.
MB: Do you consider Bay Area your home?
Duer: I am very comfortable in the bay right now and don’t see myself leaving any time soon. I have lived all over Cali and I am familiar with the majority of it. I don’t think I could consider any specific part my home. I know that I will never leave Cali, so therefore I think its safer to say that Cali is home to me.
MB: Tell me about the process when you paint the small trains. How do you concept what you’re going to paint on them? Is there a special concept for each “type” of train that you select?
Duer: The physical process involves creating stencils and layering with different types of mediums to get the desired effect. Each layer that uses a different medium has to be sealed before the next can be applied. The concepts for the model trains always relate to real trains. I have replicated actual trains that I have painted and I often use my alias as the main theme. Sometimes I will paint friends names as gifts, or trade my own with friends for artwork. Other themes include California-based imagery, which relates to the adventures, and travels involved in painting trains.
I try to do is make them somewhat realistic. The boxcars are always brand new when you buy them. However, in real life, a freight car won’t sit more than a month without some signs of weathering and or graffiti of some sort on it. I often try to replicate the dents, rust, dirt, grease, and grime that are seen with the real life.
MB: How long does it take to paint each model train?
Duer: The time it takes to paint each model train varies a lot. There are different scales and granted the larger ones take more time, the small scales such as “HO” can be just as time consuming if I am doing tedious detail work. I use a combination of different tools and materials, from spray paint, acrylics, paint pens, real dirt, to chalk shavings that I use to give it the look that it has gone through dirty snow.
MB: How do you select each model train? There seems like a lot of research goes into just obtaining them.
Duer: I try to obtain the models of trains that I have painted in real life, or that relate to California. It is important that there is some connection to the real deal. Some of the road names I like to use are “Southern Pacific”, “Western Pacific”, “Union Pacific”, “Golden West Service” and any road name that relates to specific places in California. For me, these are easier to work with and help to compliment my paintings. If both the train name and my artwork relate, then the composition is usually a lot stronger. Another consideration when choosing models is the train markings such as classification information and logos. I pick ones that allow for the information to be altered to work with the composition.
MB: Any last words of advice for the young-en’s out in the writing world?
Duer: Wutsup to my crews, thank you for your guidance and friendship: DCV, SB, SKA, VO and Freight Gang Stars… Keep crushing, …Free Hate245!
I just wanted to say for anyone who may be thinking of getting into painting freights, don’t just half ass it, come correct and take your time to do something legit. Also, there are too many gems disappearing because everyone wants a panel. There is not always going to be a panel available. There are plenty of nights I went home because there were no panels. So please don’t go over stuff on the rails! It doesn’t matter how old or faded it is. If they came with heat, then let it ride.
You can catch more of Duer’s model trains on his Flickr Page.