top of page

Rui Gago




He is a transdisciplinary artist, multimedia designer of performing technologies, and cultural speaker on avant-garde areas, with a pioneering focus on the potentialities of alternative aesthetics in artistic entrepreneurship. He is one of the three founders of the company Custom Circus; of Nirvana Studios; of the Custom Café Theater, of the macro community of musicians Band Boxes, of the Erasmus Hub, among other pioneering projects in Portugal and recognized in Europe.

Born in Portugal, 1970.




Since the first dawn of Custom Circus, he impregnated his renaissance DNA in this company, forging the most explosive side of this troupe's performative imaginary. A vast mission that he has been successively signing through the hand of his diabolical persona, Dr. Apokalipse, throughout the following shows:


“Le Cabaret Rock” - Reloaded (2022-present)

“Going Crazy” - (2021-2022)

“Art For Peace” (2021)

“Loco'Motive” - (2020-present)

“Absurdium” - (2017–2019)

“The Journey” - Best Of (2015-2017)

“Heirs of the Apokalipse” “The Performance” - (2016-2019)

“Bizarre Chic” - (2014-2015)

“Le Cabaret Rock” - (2012-2013)

“Gigolo Dance” - (2008-2011)

“Performers of Fire” - (2007-2008)

“Prisoners of the Blues” - (2006-2007)

“Theatre on Wheels” - (2005-2010)

“Custom Party” - (2004-2010)

“Full Moon” - (2004-2006)

“Custom Parade” - (2003-2009)

“The Saga of the Wheel” - (2002)



Among several other exhibitions, as a visual artist he was co-creator of the following projects:


• The Paradoxical Collection:

Saga Caravan (since 2021) Resident piece at the National Railway Museum - Entroncamento, curated by Manuel de Novaes Cabral 

Loco'Motive (since 2020) Resident piece at Nirvana Studios, curated by Silvana Bessone

Atland Monowheel (since 2019) Resident piece at the National Coach Museum - Lisbon, curated by João Mendes Rosa


• Limbus infinitus

Vernissage at the STRANGE Gallery in 2020

Curated by the Foundation of the National Railway Museum by Maria José Teixeira and Carla Alexandra Serapicos


• Heirs of the Apokalipse - Time Capsules

Since 2016 - Vernissage at Oeiras Marina

Curated by Fátima de Llera (CEO of In Situ)


• Nirvana Studios - Outdoor Art Gallery

Visitable since 2004


• The 7 Deadly Sins

Vernissage at STRANGE Gallery in 2021

Curated by Michel Alex



• Le Cabaret Rock (2023), a 60-minute television episode directed by West Coast Films International representation by the distributor Lukarn France

- Imdb TV Special

- This program premiered in its cinema version at "Atlântida Cine" in the Azores 

- He was one of the main protagonists of this episode


• Loco'Motive (2021), a short film directed by Action 300, premiered at "Cinema São Jorge", as part of the "Lisbon Motorcycle Film Fest".

- He was one of the main protagonists of this episode 



In his path of artistic and cultural entrepreneurship, he was one of the three co-creators of the following projects:


“Custom Circus” - Transdisciplinary Theatre and Visual Arts Company - Conceptualized in 1988 - Founded in 1996 - Consolidated in 2002

“Nirvana Studios” - The Alternative Cultural Center - Conceptualized in 1996. Founded in 2003

“Band Box - Band Boxes” - Macro Community of Musicians - Founded in 2007

“Teatro Custom Café” - Transdisciplinary Theatre - Conceptualized in 2004 - Started in 2008 - Opened in 2012

Gallery STRANGE - Pluridisciplinary and Experimental Gallery - Inaugurated in 2004 - Entitled Black Box until 2012

Custom Ville - Artist and Student Residencies - Opened in 2017

Erasmus Hub - International Hosting Platform for Cultural Internships - Opened in 2022  

Art Express - Wall of Fame - Cosmopolitan Artist Residency Facility - Inaugurated in 2008



He has been a tutor of internships of cultural courses since 2008, working with several universities, polytechnics and professional schools, nationally and internationally, collaborating mainly in the Erasmus and IEFP program


“Oeiras Fora da Caixa” - Editorial coordination (since 2017)

“OBS - Oeiras Band Sessions” - Production (since 2009)

“STRANGE Gallery” - He has been one of the curators (since 2006)

“Nirvana Studios Festival - Open Day” - Artistic production (since 2004)

“Indie Market” - Production (since 2022)


Before he officially co-founded Custom Circus in 2002 - from then on devoting himself more to his side as a performer and designer of multimedia art and scenic structures - he had gained extensive experience in show business and entertainment since 1990, both as a creator and producer of international events, and in the spheres of art exhibitions, cultural heritage, and industrial archeological heritage.     


(1990 – 2004)

• Assistant in the Portuguese cultural companies group Antevisão and Arquivisão, in the areas of International Exhibition Design, Museology, Architecture and Industrial Archaeology until 1992


• Attended the Arts and Design course at IADE in Lisbon 1992


• Worked for the production company Eutaxia - Assessoria Cultural from 1992 to 1996 in the area of tours, where he consolidated his professional training in the following areas:

In addition to the component of the show, in the production company Eutaxia he was also designer and graphic creative of the Lisbon Festivals from 1992 to 1996.


• He was the graphic designer and supervisor of the image department of IFICT- Instituto de Formação e Investigação Cultural e Teatral from 1991 to 1992.


• In 1994 he joined the multimedia team of Lisboa94-Capital of Culture in the Vanguard Theater department, working integrally for the 3rd time in an international production of La Fura Dels Baus.


• In 1996 he co-founded the production company Nirvana where he managed and designed dozens of corporate events and multimedia theatrical happenings for film and album releases for Warner, Polygram, BMG, Sony, Universal, among others.


• Between 1996 and 1997, in the production company Nirvana he co-created and co-produced in the former Restelo's Aquapark the two editions of "GML- Grande Meeting de Lisboa", which was the 1st Portuguese event dedicated to Custom Culture in its globality. 


• In 1997 he was co-creator of the Digital Award of the Portuguese Phonographic Association.


• He co-produced for Portugal launch events of several productions, films and albums such as:


• Throughout the Expo 98 - Lisbon, he took on the role of designer for the various events and happenings produced by Nirvana Produções for that long international celebration, namely on the perimeter of the Praça do Comércio under the direction of Eutaxia, and in the Expo's own restaurant areas.


• He was part of the production team responsible for the inauguration of the Dr. Francisco Machado High School (Dili) given to Timor by the Lisbon City Hall 2001

•  Was co-creator of the international platform Nirvana Roadshows that provided and managed dozens of exotic vehicles and roadshow trucks for multinational corporations and institutions tours


• Managed the department of corporate events integrated in the platform of tours and roadshows Nirvana Produções throughout the "Euro 2004".

 (1985 – 1990)

• He started acting in youth theater groups in the Algarve and Lisbon, becoming part of several theater productions organized by the Portuguese Scouts. 


• He joined several environmental organizations related to renewable technologies and ecological movements, where he undertook several radical expeditions as a guide in climbing, canoeing and survival techniques.


• Developed several activities related to artistic photography, Pop screen printing and illustration.


• Participated in the II Salon of Visual Arts in Lisbon 1989


• Started in 1988 as an assistant in the Portuguese cultural companies group Antevisão and Arquivisão.



Fifteen months after Neil Armstrong happily hopped on the moon, somewhere in the Lusitanian South shone an apocalyptic star that would have once again attracted the Three Kings, but this time on a noisy caravan of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.


The fruit of a professional administrative woman and a gentleman officer in the Portuguese Air Force, this future adventurer was born in the twilight Portuguese Estado Novo. From his father, who died when he was only 3 years old, he inherited an endless thirst for adventure and the notion that our planet is vast and fantastic.

Thus, he was and is a traveler without borders, whose great Atlas serves as his Bible. He has spread cells of his tanned skin over the 5 continents he has crossed from end to end - and where the few places he missed are still well marked in one of his Steampunk notebooks. 


Self-taught in everything that aroused his curiosity, and with enormous teachings about nature and rural life transmitted by the experience of his grandparents, he went through an adolescence marked by action and risk, which he reconciled in a Zen-like way with the multidisciplinary arts.


Early on, he undertook several environmental campaigns and dedicated years of his life to promote alternative and radical ways of life, such as climbing, mountaineering, canoeing, adventure camping, bicycle touring, survival techniques, and Upcycling construction in wild or urban environments.


Along with his passion for classic machinery and vehicles from hell, he was also a Biker activist in the Road Runners for 9 consecutive years - what was an exciting life immersed in the tribal subculture of two-wheeling, was complemented with tours in old propeller planes, dizzying Peruvian trains, and kamikaze-certified Indian rickshaws.

bottom of page