For most of his life, Mario E. Figueroa Jr. made art that wasn’t really considered art at all. Doubtless many people thought he should have even been locked up, given that what he was doing was technically illegal. These days, the 44-year-old Figueroa—better known as GONZO247—has gone legit, though the artwork itself hasn’t changed that much. Now he paints inside the lines, so to speak, having been commissioned to spray-paint his vivid and dynamic street art all over Houston. Most recently he was hired to grace the walls of the newly expanded George R. Brown Convention Center with his bold brush strokes, a sure sign that GONZO247, and the art commonly referred to as graffiti, has been pulled out of the back alleys and into the mainstream.
Bob Phillips, whose love of the Lone Star State is surpassed only by his love of cheesy roadside souvenirs, has been the host of Texas Country Reporter since 1973.