Add Fuel (Diogo Machado, 1980) has been building a solid reputation as a visual artist and graphic designer in recent years. Having first created a unique visual universe populated by sci-fi inspired, fun-loving creatures, this Portuguese artist has recently redirected his attention to reinterpreting the language of traditional tile design, and the Portuguese azulejo (glazed tiles) in particular. Filled with irony and humor, his vector-based designs or stencil-based street art reveal an impressive complexity and a masterful attention to detail.
All started back in 2008, when Add Fuel had the chance to do a project in his hometown Cascais (town in Portugal, 30km from Lisbon).
He wanted to do something that would translate his town history and would identify himself as portuguese. At the time Add Fuel was working as a freelance illustrator (as he is still today), so he get an idea to include his illustration universe in the pattern ceramic style. The result turned out really good, so he felt this was something he need to explore.
"This is something that I have always grown up with. Well, it's in every Portuguese mind. We grow up with patterned tiles in houses, inside and outside, and the project for Cascais was to be a canvas applied to a building facade, so at the time it just felt natural and made sense to me to do that."- Add Fuel
For the last years he have been working as an artist on stencil paintings, murals and ceramic, based on tiles and patterns, mainly azulejos. (portuguese glazed tiles).
"I think that it's important for us nowadays, as citizens of a fast pacing and technological advanced world, to think about what our traditions mean to us and how can they can be preserved. Growing up in Portugal I've seen these tile panels all my life, inside and outside of buildings." - Add Fuel
This made him realize that he could use his work to create "layers of history", to create surfaces underneath or on top of the existing structure or wall. This adds one more layer of complexity to the already double vision effect one gets when looking into my work, as it looks so traditional from afar, then you discover all the elements that compose it and they are pop and contemporary.
Another important thing for Add Fuel is to contextualize his interventions, so he usually re-draw patterns from the surrounding location. The core intent of his interventions (this is the most basic essence of his work) is to, by catching the attention of passersby, to make them think about what lies beneath the beauty of the cities that usually is something that has always been there, culture. He don't have a specific inspiration, so he gather resources for his work from the elements that are more present in his life. He is a big fan of games, sci-fi and horror. He also like tattoos, street and contemporary art.
Check more works of Add Fuel on his website and Instagram: