Written by René Ricardo Bernal.
At about a 30 minute drive to the west of Lisbon, lies the coastal town of Cascais. Its sandy beaches, once home to the royals, are rich in culture and history. This is where Diogo Machado, better known as Add Fuel, began his career as a street artist and illustrator. The intricate work of the Portuguese artist has a distinct style, providing a mix of urban touches with traditional Azulejo tin-glazed ceramic tile-work.
After completing a University degree in Graphic Design, Add Fuel deviated from the practice and focused back on his true passion: illustration. After a stint as a freelance illustrator, in 2008, he was commissioned his first project in his hometown of Cascais. To evoke the legacy and history of Cascais, he drew inspiration from the traditional tile designs and colour patterns of Azulejo, tin-glazed ceramics with blue and yellow colour schemes that have been historically used in Portugal since the 17th century.
Since then, he’s further developed the technique by working with stencils, ceramics, and more to merge his artistic universe with the unique aesthetic of Azulejo. His tile designs have become a melting pot of the traditional tile designs mixed with modern elements of sci-fi, horror, street art and tattoos.
The signature style of Add Fuel can be found in various parts of Portugal, as well as in numerous contries around the World like the UK, Italy, Norway and China. Each time, the artwork is adapted to the local culture’s colour schemes and tones, while keeping a little piece of the Portuguese traditional aesthetic.
Last stop was Montreal to present his solo show, XVII-XXI, at Station 16 Gallery. The vernissage took place August 9th and the exhibition will run until September 1st, 2018. Stay tuned for our interview with the artist.