11:27 AM

Graffiti Artist Paints Campus Mural

Mario Figueroa, Jr.In keeping with its ongoing “Be Your Bold Self” campaign, the University of St. Thomas has commissioned local graffiti artist Mario Figueroa Jr., better known by his artistic name GONZO247, to paint the first permanent mural on campus. The mural will be located on the side of Crooker Center, facing the Campus Life Mall.

A native Houstonian, GONZO is renowned throughout the city’s art community. His work includes the iconic “Houston Is Inspired” mural located at 315 Travis Street. Recently, he completed one of six installations at the new Saint Arnold’s Brewing Co. Beer Garden and Restaurant. Apart from his portfolio, GONZO also has a personal connection to the University: His sister is an alumna and former employee.

The Design

Born and raised a Catholic, GONZO used the University’s patron, St. Thomas Aquinas, for the focus of the design. Additionally, he often incorporates Houston imagery into his works, which includes the University’s mural.

“There were a lot of angles that inspired the design,” he said. “One was taking a tour of the campus and seeing objects or designs that jumped out at me. Also, the history of the campus and of the saint himself, and, of course, the vibrancy and diversity of the city, which I think is reflected in the diversity of the student body here. So, all that meshed together is what is in the design.”

GONZO will begin work on the mural Feb. 11.