We had the oppurtunitty to talk with Portuguese artist ADD FUEL about his work, what it means and about his plans for the future. ADD FUEL works with stencils and gives a new touch to the traditional Portuguese tile throughout his work.
-What you choose to drink? Coffee, Tea, Beer, Soda or something else?
Let’s go with beer.
I’m Diogo Machado (or Add Fuel), portuguese, from a small town near Lisbon called Cascais. My work has been evolving throughout the years and it’s in a point right now where I’m exploring the patterns and shapes of traditional portuguese glazed tiles “azulejos” (mostly but not exclusively). I use mostly stencils to paint my artworks and murals (mostly but not only) and I also work with ceramic tiles. I use a digital gel ink technique and I also use the traditional technique with high temperature paint. I like to do different things.
-Where does your tag name come from?
Add Fuel is short for Add Fuel to the Fire.
-How do you define yourself? Artist? Street artist? Anything else?
I really don’t like labels but I guess they are necessary in today’s society. I guess I’ll go with Artist.
– How did it all start for you, and what is it nowadays?
I have a university degree in graphic design and I worked for a quite some time as a graphic designer and illustrator. I don’t really define myself as a graphic designer considering I haven’t worked as such for the past ten years. Illustration has always been a passion for me, I’ve been drawing for a long time and I felt that graphic design wasn’t the right path for me so I moved on to freelance illustration. Back in 2008 I had the chance to do a project in my hometown of Cascais, a steeped in history coastal town near Lisbon, so I really wanted to do something that would translate its legacy and history and that I would also identify myself with as a Portuguese. I incorporated my illustration in a simple pattern and used the 17th century blue and yellow color scheme. It worked quite well and as I was pleased with the result I really felt I needed to explore and develop this theme further. I checked out some ceramic techniques and got a few machines for my studio to make tiles. This is when I felt I had to put my work up on the streets. I kept exploring that area using the ceramic tiles to create several limited editions but I also started delving into the stencil technique onto the walls.
These days I’ve been working on stencil works, murals and ceramics, based on tiles and patterns mostly around the azulejos (glazed tiles) universe.
-What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
I got to have breakfast. Big or small doesn’t matter. My mind doesn’t work without food!
-Street art is mostly a visually stimulating form of art To add one more sense to it, what music would you pick to accompany your art work?
My work can be considered as a “remix” of tradition, so I will always choose a music that’s also mixes these two elements, the new and old.
-In all forms of art, inspiration is crucial. What is it that inspires you?
I’m inspired by culture, tradition and heritage. My work is adaptive, so when I’m doing a project, mural, painting outside of Portugal, I do extensive research about that country’s culture and related visual elements, which I then include and adapt into my work.
-What is the hardest part while working on a piece of art?
There are many hard and difficult parts in the process of working on a piece of art. Sometimes the problem can be sketching the initial composition, sometimes it can be finding the right balance between all the elements that compose the piece It’s never easy but it’s always rewarding if you put your heart into it.
-Do you have an artist(s) you admire and what for?
I tend not to look much into other artists work. It’s really easy to be influenced by all the information you are exposed to nowadays and I try to avoid that. Anyway, I think I can say my inspiration comes mainly from all the old ceramic masters of Portugal.
-Which cities are the most inspiring for you?
I love the feeling of Lisbon. Recently it has become such a vibrant place, full of culture and art. A beautiful place where old meets new. My second home, right after Cascais.
-What other passions do you have apart from art?
Music (even thou I don’t play any instrument nor actually do any music…. apart from the occasional shower singing) and video games (i like to blow stuff up and shoot virtual bad guys haha).
-Do you have a wild project that you dream of achieving some day?
One of the wild projects I always dreamt of is coming to life this summer in Lisbon. I’ll have a large scale, permanent ceramic panel in one of the most prominent avenues of Lisbon, alongside legendary portuguese artists. I’m ecstatic! I’m sure more good projects will happen. I’ts just a matter of dreaming big and thinking positive.
-Tell us about your art, does it include symbolisms, messages or repeated patterns?
Yes, not direct ones and obviously yes 🙂
– How long time does a piece of art work of yours usually survive for?
Well it depends on the piece. A mural can last for a long time or it can be painted over in the next day. My ceramic pieces they last for a very (very) long time.
-What do people first think of, or feel, when they see one of your works on the street?
I believe the first reaction it to always takes people to a familiar place, I think my work emits a vibe of something you’ve always seen. This is why my work requires a second (and third and fourth) look. This way people discover all the details and elements within my works.
-Do you have a secret you would like to share with us? 🙂
Secrets cause problems. No I don’t.
-What are your creative plans for the future?
I just want to continue to do my thing. I’ve been fortunate to work with so many good people and to visit so many nice places and cities along these years. I just want to do more and more
-Is there a specific thought or message you would like to pass to our audience out there?
Do something with your life that makes you happy.
Thank you ADD FUEL for your time and for opening yourself up to us and our viewers! Best of luck.