Creative, Sweet

Fuego X BurgerFuel

Posted by Creative, Sweet

In 2021 our friends of the Fuel, the TMD crew celebrated their legacy and paid homage to the graffiti culture of Aotearoa with an immersive, large scale exhibition at the Dowse museum in Lower Hutt. As this show was about celebrating the legacy of TMD, the artists also saw it as an opportunity to make sure that legacy stays alive. A particular artist had been on the radar for some time, his work ethic, style and dedication to the culture was enough to earn himself a formal invitation. We sit down with Fuego and talk about his introduction to the culture, his life as a graffiti artist and where he sees himself in the future.

HASER: Thank you for joining us, for those that are first time observers of your work, can you tell us who you are and where you’re from?

FUEGO: First of all thanks for having me, I really appreciate the opportunity! I go by the name, Fuego. I’m currently based in Whanganui and have been based here for 3 years now but I am originally from Wellington.

Wellington seems to breed creativity, I hope to reside there one day. 

I remember meeting you when you were really young, I imagine you started painting when you were a kid. When did you start writing, and what got you into it?

I started writing in 2008 but had always been a keen drawer of letters and cartoons. You’ll find most Wellington writers come out of Wellington High School, so going there and making friends with a particular bunch of kids is definitely what got me into writing. I was originally from Porirua so I had an hour commute by train and bus to get to school, so I guess that would have played a big part too, seeing all the trackside and tags on the bus.

As much as society writes off graffiti as vandalism, I think it creates an interesting journey, especially along the rail corridors. When Auckland removed all of the graffiti along the rail corridors, the commuters that pushed for it suddenly realised how boring their commute was without it. 

What do you think draws you to the graffiti culture?

What drew me in at first was simply having a great group of friends that wanted to work together and create a buzz around town. Most of my friends were older than me or had already started, I would say I got dropped in the deep end. So now as I get older what draws me in is still kind of the same but in a more personal way, basically pushing myself to get better.

Nice work, it pays to have aspirational people around you. On that note, you were recently asked to be a part of the TMD crew, how has that impacted your art career?

Being asked to join the TMD family still seems crazy to me. A good group of people I have slowly gotten to know from the age of 16. One year in the crew so far has given me massive motivation to act on my ideas and think of myself as more of an artist and not just, ‘that graffiti guy’. Very keen to see what the future holds.

I know what you mean, as one of the older fellas, it’s just as important to have young blood and fresh ideas coming through. It creates some good energy and it also fuels that competitive drive. 

It’s great that you consider yourself an artist, have you been able to convert it into a full time gig?

Yes, Thankfully.

I guess a part of that full time gig is your screen printing business Fresh Press, what kickstarted that?

I’ve been interested in branding and streetwear since a young age, screen printing from home and helping people with designs and all that stuff but I never took it as seriously as having a hospo job and a lot of distractions got in the way. Now that I’m living in Whanganui and living expenses are a bit cheaper, it seemed like the right time to start a business.

Props, and what’s an average day for you?

I get up and arrive at Fresh Press around 8am. My work consists of either printing shirts, organising upcoming commission jobs, liaising with clients to let me do graffiti on their walls,


working on our magazine (Fresh Press) and just thinking of more ideas to add to the business. If I have no work I will be out painting or hanging out with my partner or both :)

Nice priorities, it can be a hard hustle when you’re constantly thinking of innovative ways to survive.

What artists are currently on your inspiration feed?


I wasn’t fishing for that shoutout, but I’m always stoked and grateful when I make the list.

Travelling has become a thing of the past lately, but with borders opening up again, where are you off to first?

Man we have been waiting for too long, would go anywhere!


When art isn’t at the forefront, what else do you do to occupy your time? And does that inspire the process or do you prefer to keep your art and life separate?

Honestly, it’s all I think about and do. If not, I’ll be out catching some nature with my partner or enjoying a beer or two.

And If money wasn’t an issue, what would be your dream gig?

Doing what I’m doing now

Great attitude, I’m glad you took that step and I look forward to see where you take it.

What advice would you give your younger artist self?

Patience is key.

’Tis indeed, I always felt like rent gets in the way of that theory though. 

BurgerFuel has a large fleet of classic vehicles, what’s your dream machine?

A Renault Fuego ;)

Last but not least, favourite burger from the Fuel?

Open a store in Whanganui and I’ll paint it lol. And then I will answer the question properly. Can’t beat a good burger. I spent 3 years flipping patties. Could work there if things don’t work out at Fresh Press.

I’ll be out of a job, maybe we’ll both end up behind the grill.

Thanks a lot for your time Fuego, if you would like to see more of Fuegos work you can follow him on the grams or find out more about Fresh Press here.