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 studio art practice, mural painting, private art commissions, and community involvement. GONZO is the founder of Aerosol Warfare Studios, founder and producer of HUE Mural Festival, and founder of The Graffiti and Street Art Museum of Texas. He has produced an Aerosol Warfare video series, established the Houston Wall of Fame (the city’s first and largest art production of its kind), and has participated in over 300 exhibitions and art projects, including work with top brand campaigns that speak to urban communities. GONZO was artistically inspired by his community and culture in his youth with his first exposure to the public art mural The Rebirth of our Nationality (1973) by Leo Tanguma. As a teenager, he discovered his artist identity through the visual language of Hip Hop, graffiti art culture. GONZO strives to educate communities through civic engagement and advocacy projects. As an internationally recognized visual and cultural arts ambassador, GONZO hosts tours for diverse communities, always advocating for making his hometown of Houston an art destination. GONZO pioneered graffiti and street art culture as a leader of the alternative art movement in Houston and remains active in the Houston Hip Hop scene through his main activity and artistic expression, graffiti.
Artist Statement My philosophy and mission are to produce, curate, promote and appreciate quality, positive, community-centered art that stands the test of time. I devoted my time to expose myself to many forms of art including, but not limited to Contemporary art, Ice art, Folk Art, digital and video expression, international art, fashion, and other forms. These influences have translated into my versatile artistic abilities and openness to continue evolving as an artist. This versatile background, along with my many interests and travels, has created a wholeness inside me and within my art. My artwork reflects my fearlessness in trying new approaches, be it the application of the medium or the surface on which it is applied. My art is a constant journey and I love the moments of discovery. As I create murals, canvas work or other productions, I try to find a way to make an artistic statement through spray paint, but most of the time my statement is simply that I am comfortable with myself as an artist. I aim to uplift and encourage positive dialogue and interaction through my work.
2nd Ward, Houston, Texas 77003