For GONZO247, spray painting is more than just a hobby — it’s a way a life.
“The idea for my name came when I was living my life with graffiti art 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said.
GONZO247, a professional graffiti artist, instructed students in a workshop at ISAS, April 4. Students were given the opportunity to spray paint a section of a large white canvas after watching a brief demonstration.
“Listening to a professional gave me a new insight on graffiti,” junior Katherine Wu said. “I now see that it can be art instead of just vandalism.”
Previously known as Mario Enrique Figueroa Jr., GONZO247 discovered his interest in graffiti art decades ago.
“In the 1980’s, I was inspired by the art inside the album covers of rap and hip-hop music,” he said. “After graduating from high school, art was the main thing going for me, so I decided to pursue it seriously.”
GONZO247’s work has gained widespread recognition in numerous exhibitions. Some of his most prominent pieces commissioned by the City of Houston include a mural across from Market Square Park and another in the Downtown Public Library’s parking garage.
“I love that each day of my job brings a different challenge. I have the chance to make my own art for a variety of clients,” he said.
GONZO247 attributes his success in graffiti art to perseverance.
“I definitely had some luck, but it was mostly persistence,” he said. “I think too many people expect overnight success or instant fame, but I put in a lot of effort to prepare myself fully.”
The workshop to complete the second half of the graffiti art piece will be held in the plaza on April 5 at 10:00 a.m in front of the demolished Winston Hall.