ADD FUEL is the world wide work of Diogo Machado, illustrator and street artist.
Lisbon Part II: Where Street Art is Becoming “Urban Contemporary”
A trained graphic designer and illustrator well versed in the language of skating and his own youth as a graffiti writer, he’s become known internationally for his characters and his large-scale stencil-painted murals that incorporate the classic and traditional visual patterning of Portuguese tile work, or Azulejo.
On an overcast day his buddy and slightly younger peer, the sculptural Street Artist who works with recycled trash, Bordalo II, offers to take us to Cascais, a coastal town 30 kilometers west of Lisbon, where Add Fuel lives and has his studio.
While we visit the two of them break off into rapid-fire Portuguese conversations about some collaborative projects they are working on – and we learn that Add Fuel often gives his rejected tiles and discards to the recycling Bordalo II. “For me there are no mistakes,” says Bordalo II, “I love mistakes.”
Big thanks you to Jaime and Steve from Brooklyn Street Art and Bordalo for the visit.
"Street Artist Add Fuel is exporting azulejo to the rest of the world. Slightly differently than they did in previous centuries.
Via his own pop-culture interpretation of the interlocking curvilinear, geometric and graphic motifs, the Portuguese artist is firing new pieces daily in the kiln of his studio in Cascais. For a decade or so his interpretations of the tin-glazed ceramic tilework have been appearing on inordinate secondary city skins in the paths of pedestrians: visual illusions meant to appear as layers of urban bark peeling back from surfaces you take for granted to reveal heritage, history, artisanship.
While the interiors and exteriors of churches, palaces, schools and subway stations are covered with azulejos in Lisbon, thanks to Add Fuel (Diogo Machado) they have traveled to other cities and cultures as well. Each time he is attracted to the tilemaking traditions locally, and he often incorporates his study of these new histories as well."
Photos ©Jaime Rojo / BSA
As an avid gamer this was a really interesting experience for me and an amazing feeling to have my work on display in the virtual world of Fortune Valley.
Tiles are considered a fairly everyday item to some but in this case urban design culture has been the catalyst for a modern spin on an ancient craft.
Hailing from Portugal ceramic and stencil artist Diogo Machado a.k.a Add Fuel is making waves in the urban art world with this seemingly humble medium.
Decorative ceramic tiles or Azulejos as they are traditionally named, form the identitary art of Portugese culture with roots dating back to the 16th Century. Known for his contemporary approach to the historical art form Add Fuel was invited to produce an urban installation, the result: Louvor Da Vivacidade (translated roughly as Living City), was recently unveiled on the historic Avenida Infante Santo in Lisbon’s Estrela district."
Thank you Nadine for this beautiful article.
Thank you Donna!
Exactly one decade ago, Diogo Machado, AKA Add Fuel, took it upon himself to point out just how quickly and easily cultures can get buried underneath these new rituals and iconography. Taking his native Portuguese culture as an endless source of inspiration, namely the well-known Azulejo tiles, he adapted the rich but pre-existing concepts and embedded them into universally understandable, symbolic language. Firmly attached to his roots, he modifies and embellishes, celebrating the beauty of multiculturalism and all the elements it has spawned; a precious concept much needed in the current climate."
Big thanks to Sasha Bogojev for the interview, Hugo Moura for the portrait and to Evan Pricco for the invite.
His technique of revealing and obscuring surfaces beneath or on top of existing structures and walls creates a unique optical illusion effect. From a distance his vector-based or stencil works appear to be recreating traditional motifs but are in fact brimming with pop and contemporary art references. On closer inspection it’s possible to discover a hidden world filled with humour and rendered with a masterful attention to detail. At the core of his practice is this desire to encourage the viewer to think about the history and heritage that lies beneath the facades and pavements of our cities."
Thank you Julie!