By Emma Regolini
July 24th, 2020
Renowned for his detailed ceramic visuals, Portuguese visual artist Add Fuel (short for Add Fuel to the Fire), Diogo Machado has continued to expand his appetite for tile-based art across the world.
Leaving university with a degree in Graphic Design, Add Fuel spent a few years in design studios in Portugal, a short stint in Munich and then honing in on his focus and craft in 2007.
The visual and aesthetic origins of his mosaic-tile details originate from cartoons, skate culture and urban visual culture. Intrigued by the possibilities of incorporating these topical inspirations into symmetrical patterning and tessellations, Add Fuel began to build on the design language we see from his work today.
Add Fuel’s approach to Portuguese ceramic and tile design blends traditional and contemporary decorative elements and references. The layering of compositions creates a trompe-l’œil visual illusion.
The artist’s unique process and visual approach creates a dialogue between the history of ceramics as an art form in Portugal and his contemporary visual references. When speaking with Juxtapoz, Add Fuel explains the importance of ‘Azulejo’ tile mosaics around the 13th century.
Azulejo is a form of Portuguese and Spanish painted tin-glazed ceramic tile-work. Azulejos are found on the interior and exterior of churches, palaces, houses, schools, and nowadays, restaurants and bars.
Azulejos ornamental art form and geometric canvas opens up the opportunity to work use these elements has a canvas for creative expression as Add Fuel has done over time.
The level of visual and physical craftsmanship involves a considerable research process. Add Fuel’s work is adaptive in that it can tell as story though a mural, in a gallery or a real tiled space.