About the Project
To help celebrate our Centennial, Houston Zoo collaborated with local graffiti artist, GONZO247, and other local artists for a mural project highlighting the Zoo’s international conservation work.
On June 2, in collaboration with our friend GONZO247 and the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, we unveiled the first Centennial mural, featuring the Galápagos Islands, at Tuffly Park in the Fifth Ward. The Centennial mural project concluded with the unveiling of the fifth and final mural, along with a fundraiser, at Saint Arnold Brewing Company on Sunday, July 10.
Five murals are featured around the city highlighting the Texas Wetlands, South America’s Pantanal, Africa, Asia, and the Galápagos Islands. Locations are in the inner loop and include one Houston park.
Featured locations include:
- Fifth Ward
- Houston Heights
- Third Ward
Meet The Artists
GONZO247 is an award-winning, internationally recognized multidisciplinary artist, ambassador of the visual and cultural arts, and pioneer in the graffiti and street art movement in Houston. GONZO247, was born and raised in Houston, Texas. He is a self-taught multidisciplinary artist with over 30 years of experience in graffiti and street art, public and private art commissions.
Community involvement has been a considerable component of his work. His upbringing and experiences while growing up in the Houston community and his ancestors’ culture artistically inspire him and is frequently seen in his art and practice.
Artist GONZO247 tries to preserve and fill gaps in graffiti art and culture education for younger generations while always innovating and exploring other personal art concepts and ideas.
Jessica Rice is a painter and mural artist living in the Houston area. She earned a Bachelor of Art from the University of Houston- Downtown with a focus in education and art. After studio painting professionally and participating in gallery shows for five years, she painted her first mural in 2012 and began a career as a mural and street artist. Her style can be interpreted as blurring the line between fine art and low-brow art and is extremely illustrative and whimsical. She draws inspiration from pop-surrealism of the last 3 decades, as well as nature and her experience as a woman.
“Not only do I love the Houston Zoo for their amazing conservation efforts, but I also grew up visiting the zoo and now share the experience with my children as we enjoy the stunning beauty of the animals and the incredible exhibits together. So, the Houston Zoo is truly a special place to me and I am thrilled to be a part of a project where I get to create something for a place that holds so many wonderful memories for me.”
Usagi Wasabi (Wendy Delgado) is an illustrator from Houston, Texas. She has a passion for nature and animals, both of which are prevalent in her intricate illustrations. Usagi Wasabi creates lush imaginative worlds full of meaningful details – each piece has a unique story to tell. Her latest projects include designing and painting local utility boxes in Houston as part of the Mini Murals project to help beautify the city and promote positive energy and appreciation for local wildlife.
“Animals and nature are the two things we take for granted and are easily abused. I hope my artwork can inspire people to find the beauty and appreciation of their fragile existence.”
Emily Ding is a muralist who draws inspiration from flora, fauna, and human temperament. Her large-scale work is characterized by expressive animals and figures, which come to life through bold color gradients and a fluid, painterly style. Resonating deeply with the phenomena of the natural world, she aims to communicate emotions and experiences, through storytelling with wild creatures and people.
“Every kid has taken that field trip to the Houston Zoo, it’s a quintessential experience of our city. I remember when I visited, I would bring paper to do little sketches and write notes about the diverse wildlife at the zoo, like I was a nature biologist. Now as one of the “grownups,” I’m so overjoyed to come back as an artist and paint for their Centennial celebration. Looking forward to creating something in honor of the Houston Zoo and its animals!”
Mathieu Jean Baptiste
Mathieu Jean Baptiste is an acclaimed artist specializing in painting, drawing, metal sculpture art, and installation whose artwork is displayed locally, nationally, and globally in museums, governmental buildings, educational institutions, healthcare clinics, hospitals, murals, and private art collections. He is a premier art expert, consultant, and instructor to educational institutions, private penitentiaries, and civic organizations.