Arts & Culture

Final Four’s Impact Extends Into Local Arts Community With A Unique Commission

Houston artist Gonzo 247 has been asked to create an illustration of the NCAA bracket in his signature graffiti style.


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Picture of Gonzo 247 with art
Houston artist Gonzo 247 with his graffiti-inspired illustration of the NCAA’s tournament bracket. The winning team’s logo will be fixed in the center.

Several months ago, Houston graffiti artist Mario Figueroa, Jr. (better known around town as Gonzo 247) was approached by the NCAA with an unexpected request.

"And essentially, the question was, ‘Are you open to the idea of creating a street-urbanized bracket system for the tournament?'" Figueroa says. "And I was like, ‘Sure, that sounds amazing.'"

The athletic organization wanted something unique when it came to designing the bracket, which is the diagram that displays all the college basketball teams competing in the tournament.

"Typically, the bracket is a grid format with straight lines," Figueroa explains. "And I thought, ‘Well, how can I do something different that still has that formation of the grid system, but not so linear?'"

The structure, standing eight feet high and sixteen feet long, is an explosion of colors radiating from an empty spot in the center, which will eventually hold the winning team's logo. As teams advance to the next round, Gonzo updates the blank spaces.

"The NCAA had been talking to us about the local art community and really wanted to do something special when it came to the bracket," says Rachel Quan, Vice President of External Operations for the Final Four Houston's local organizing committee. "One of the things that's been really important to us is making sure that Houston's own flavor, flair, and brand is on the games."

Figueroa's piece is on display at the Houston Zoo until next week before moving to the Hyatt downtown, the headquarters hotel for the Final Four.

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