Azulejos, glazed blue ceramic tiles, are everywhere in Portugal. They decorate the winding streets of the capital, Lisbon. They cover the walls of train stations, restaurants, bars, public murals, and fountains, churches, and altar fronts. Azulejos can be seen on park benches and paved sidewalks or adorning the facades of buildings and houses in towns and municipalities all over the country. For Portuguese visual artist Diogo Machado known by his many fans and street art enthusiasts as Add Fuel, these traditional tessellations serve as inspiration for his current practice.
Exploring a wide range of both manual and digital techniques in the fields of drawing, painting, ceramics, and printing, Add Fuel's practice expresses a sophisticated dialogue between the old and the new, between heritage and modernity. He effortlessly blends and reinterprets the language of traditional decorative elements of tile design and the Portuguese tin-glazed ceramic azulejo, which results in new forms that reveal an impressive complexity and a masterful attention to detail. Diogo’s work has been described as a storied art form within a contemporary lens.
“In my work, I always suggest an adventure, a journey through focused attention in the composition, and the discovery of nuance through layers, patterns, allegories, and the unstoppable constructive dynamism of the story I present in each piece. It guides the viewer to discover intricate details, and a story over time,” said the artist in a statement.
His work can be seen on small and medium sized tile panels and on large-scale stencil and freehand painted murals, which create balance and harmony from symmetrical repetitions, a build-up of layers and techniques of visual illusion such as trompe-l'œil, his multi-layered patterned compositions that produce a poetic rhythm that plays with the viewer's perception and the (multiple) possibilities of interpretation. His work also features graffiti cartoon style illustrations from a cast of slimy, eccentric and joyful creatures, influenced by a variety of his interests ranging from video games to comics, animation, sci-fi, designer toys, and urban visual culture.
His art has been presented in solo and group exhibitions in reputed galleries and museums and numerous public art interventions around the world, including at one of the world's largest open air art museumsWynwood Walls in Miami’s famous Wynwood Art District.
Diogo Machado lives and works in Cascais, Portugal.