GONZO247 is an award-winning, internationally recognized multidisciplinary artist, ambassador of the visual and cultural arts, and pioneer in the graffiti and street art movement in Houston.
“Art is who I am and what I can give back.”
Artist Mario E. Figueroa, Jr., artistically known as GONZO247, was born and raised in Houston, Texas. He is a self-taught multidisciplinary artist with over 25 years of experience in graffiti and street art, public and private art commissions. Community involvement has been a considerable component of his work. His upbringing and experiences while growing up in the Houston community and his ancestors’ culture artistically inspire him and is frequently seen in his art and practice. His early-on admiration for art was the public art mural, The Rebirth of our Nationality (1973), by Leo Tanguma in East End Houston, Texas, where he spent most of his childhood. Later on in life, he realized the East End mural was the spark of becoming an artist one day. In his teens, he discovered his artist identity through Hip Hop culture. Every component of the Hip-Hop culture spoke to his heart and spirit as a creative, but his talent to draw and spray paint naturally drew him to graffiti art, the visual-language of hip hop. GONZO247 nods to his roots in his current works and artistic style that continues to evolve. The culture of Hip Hop involved the artistic expression of kids, teens, and generations of younger artists, connected on a cultural level, who looked like people in a more real-world, rather than the older “successful” artist examples shown in school and art galleries at the time. Since the 1990s, he has dabbled in large-scale collaborative efforts. Examples include producing an Aerosol Warfare video series, establishing the Houston Wall of Fame (the city’s first and significant art production of its kind), and participating in projects working with top brand campaigns that speak to urban communities. He is a leading figure in pioneering the graffiti and street art culture as an energetic underground art movement in Houston. In addition to public and private commissions, he strives to make time for independent studio work and on-going longer-term collaborative endeavors through Aerosol Warfare, The Graffiti and Street Art Museum of Texas, and the Houston Urban Experience (HUE) Biennial Mural Festival. He enjoys educating communities through civic art engagement, leading by example, and meaningful large-scale creative and participatory activities. Internationally recognized and inspired through travels; the visual and cultural arts ambassador gives back to his hometown Houston, a true art destination. Artist GONZO247 tries to preserve and fill gaps in graffiti art and culture education for younger generations while innovating and exploring other personal art concepts and ideas.
– Eric B. & Rakim