As a teenager, Enrique Machado was captivated by the tactile nature of water. "At the time, I was attending New World School of the Arts and started making these ice sculptures of people that I would hollow out and place a light source inside," the 28-year-old Miami native recollects. "I was interested in working with concepts relating to the transfer of energy."
After graduating from the Kansas City Art Institute with a degree in sculpture, Machado found a job working in the art department at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind in Little Havana, where he taught visually impaired adults and children arts and crafts.
"It was the most inspiring few months of my life," he mentions before adding that working with his students to mold pots from wet clay was a sensory-enhancing experience. That was around 2007, and soon he found himself at a local Home Depot, where he was seized by an inspiration.
"It was in the caulking tube section of the store where I noticed that silicone tubes came in a variety of colors," says Machado, who filled a shopping cart with a caulking gun and silicone tubes. "When I drove back to my studio, I instantly fell in love with the process because I was excited to paint all over again."
Since then, Machado has combined his love of the local environment and newfound media to create abstract work. Typically he can be found in his Homestead studio, where he substitutes traditional paint brushes, oils and acrylics with a caulking gun, directly applying the silicon to his chosen surfaces in a labor-intensive approach that brings to mind a pastry chef squeezing frost from a piping bag.
"The themes that inspire my work are the ocean and water," says the artist who creates deeply textured imagery of powerful, crashing waves. "Within these themes I try to convey subjects of life, love, obsessions and the struggles in it."