With Houston's constant growth comes many uninspiring cement walls. But for graffiti artist Mario Enrique Figueroa, more commonly known as GONZO247, they are blank canvases. The Houston native has created several murals in the Bayou City, including the popular Houston Is... mural on Travis Street. He's latest project is located in Rice Village next to Black Walnut Café on Morningside Drive. The colorful new work spans more than 30 feet wide and eight feet tall and is inspired by his own experiences in the historic shopping and dining district.
His lifelong passion for graffiti art inspired him to start his own paint company, Aerosol Warfare, that is “run by artists, for artists.” Through his company, Figueroa has been commissioned to do several murals around Houston, as well as for companies, like the Urban Rhythm Houston wall for Red Bull.
Besides working with aerosols as a hobby, Figueroa wants people to view his work as art rather than just graffiti. Many of his designs are pro-Houston, as he believes Houston is under appreciated and has more to offer than hot summers and decent shopping. He hopes that his Rice Village mural will promote happiness with its bright colors and fun, easygoing designs.
“Whenever I come [to Rice Village], it’s the beginning of a good day or the end of a good day, but it’s always a good day,” Figueroa says. “My thought was to let this mural capture that feeling and hopefully give people a moment to stop and think, ‘Hey, life is pretty good.’"