The Algarvean life-themed electricity boxes have created quite the stir on social media and makes people smile as shown by locals and tourists alike who take selfies with these iconic boxes, under the hashtag #carvoeiroboxes.

These beautiful painted boxes were created by Phil Francis aka “Phil da Bife” and his colleague Helder Jose under the name Bamby. I had the pleasure of speaking with Phil da Bife about this creative initiative and his tattoo studio.

The original idea was inspired by Phil da Bife’s trip to Porto where they had done something similar but he wished to incorporate something colourful in his own town in the central Algarve. I went on to ask the artist why he felt that the theme of the Algarve should be chosen.The boxes celebrate Algarvean life and he said how he had: “fallen in love with the place and I love its culture and quality of life. The people are friendly here so you can get to know everyone” and undoubtedly these boxes are an ode to just that.

He put the idea forward to the Freguesia who absolutely jumped at the chance to work on this idea of making their streets more vivid while adding a spark of creativity to the town. Phil da Bife had never graffitied before, so was aided by Helder Jose who is a well-known professional graffiti artist. Their mission was to introduce more colour into the area as the electricity boxes were a dirty grey colour, so they renewed them into pieces of art.

Although the idea was positively received by the Freguesia, they had to wait for it to be approved by the owners of the boxes, the electricity company EDP. This wonderful initiative started in 2015, after EDP granted permission and Phil da Bife and Bamby started their creative project, designing and painting the boxes. The duo did two to three boxes a day until they completed the electricity boxes in 2018, totalling to 150 boxes.

What is truly remarkable is that these boxes are hand drawn and most notably based on the theme of ‘Vida Algarvia’ which translates to Algarvian life, You can find their incredible work on Rua do Barranco, Rua dos Pescadores, Estrada do Farol, at Algar Seco, Lagoa 25 de Abril and on Rua de Ajar in Silves. In the past they have also been asked to paint some private boxes. Phil da Bife is also the creator of the beautiful Sardines mural on the stairwell in Carvoeiro’s square.

They add bright colours to the streets they are on so their work is a great asset to the community.

Phil da Bife moved to the Algarve in 1986 as a young boy and has always worked multiple jobs in the Hospitality sector but due to a back operation a new talent emerged. He had always been passionate about creating art but had not followed in his parent’s footsteps as they are both artists. The operation left him bed bound so he spent every day drawing until he decided to do a tattoo apprenticeship in 2014. He was mentored by Mario Algoz who at the time owned Tattoo Studium.

Phil da Bife is a dot work tattoo artist and is now the current owner of the Tattoo Studium in Carvoeiro. The cosy studio’s interior is covered with pieces of art and creates an inspiring vibe for anyone getting a tattoo. He is a talented professional who tattoos original designs, so his studio is definitely somewhere I urge you to check out if you are interested in getting a tattoo.

View the street art electricity boxes throughout Carvoeiro or for further information about the Tattoo Studium, please email phil13dabife13@gmail.com or alternatively visit the shop located on Estrada do Farol in Carvoeiro.