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 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, GONZO247, has received many awards and accolades. He was awarded the Houston Press Best Art Curator in a Non-Museum Setting Recognition (2010); Two of his works are in the City of Houston Art Collection at The Houston Permitting Building (2011); He was mentioned in The History of American Graffiti, (2011); He was interviewed for the Center for Arts Leadership at the University of Houston, (2013); His oral history was recorded for The Houston Metropolitan Research Center; His work is in the Texas art collection of The Senate of The State of Texas on display at the capitol office of Senator Rodney Ellis (2015); He received Congressional Recognition from Member of Congress, Sheila Jackson Lee for “Arts in Community” in honor of Hispanic heritage month (2018); He received the Houston Metro Hispanic Heritage Month award for “Cultural and Historic Trailblazers” (2018); He was awarded a City of Houston Proclamation on September 27, for his artistic efforts and education in Houston (2016); he also received a City of Houston Proclamation on September 18, as part of the Mayor’s Hispanic Heritage Award for “Art in Community” (2018); He was co-awarded, with Harris County, Preservation Houston’s Good Brick Martha Peterson Award for his efforts on re-painting and preserving the Rebirth of Our Nationality mural (1972-1973) in East End Houston (2019).
– Eric B. & Rakim