HOUSTON, Texas -- When street artist GONZO247 was growing up in Houston's East End, graffiti was considered vandalism rather than art.
He started experimenting with spray paint as a teen, at a time when most graffiti artists were incognito. But when he decided to turn his passion for street art into his life's work, he struggled to get recognition as a legitimate artist. That's when he made it his mission to change the perception of graffiti.
Today, GONZO247 is Houston's most famous aerosol artist, widely known for the hugely popular "Houston is Inspired" mural in Market Square Park downtown.
His colorful artwork can be seen all over the city, from the Houston Public Library to NRG Stadium and the George R. Brown Convention Center. He recently came full circle, when he was commissioned to repaint a historic East End mural that inspired him as a teen. He worked alongside the original artist, Leo Tanguma, to restore the iconic "Rebirth of Our Nationality", which documents the history of the Mexican people.
"Art is who I am, art is what I do, and I think that's what I'm going to continue to do until I am no more," he said. "And if it wasn't for the East End, I'm not sure I would have found that catalyst to make me who I am today."