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Graffiti Art in Action at GreenStreet

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It was a sweaty 95 degrees Monday, the kind of Houston heat where you're dripping just standing in place. But that didn't stop three artists from going up and down ladders working on a new outdoor mural at GreenStreet, formerly known as the Houston Pavilions.

Graffiti artists from Aerosol Warfare Gallery are currently at work bringing art to the outdoor plaza between Fannin and San Jacinto streets, acquired last year by Magic Johnson.

GONZO247, who recently completed a Houston-inspired mural close by at Market Square Park, was brought in by GreenStreet to dress up the plaza, which over the next few months will be turned into an urban park.

"We're trying to revitalize these three blocks," said Gonzo. "What was once a corridor to get from one side to the other will eventually be a destination."

Like Gonzo's Market Square Park graffiti piece, GreenStreet's four-panel mural takes inspiration from the "Houston Is Inspired" marketing campaign, down to four of the words used in the campaign -- hip, tasty, funky and inspired. He's joined by three other artists to create a mural based on these keywords. Gonzo is tackling "tasty," while Gabriel Prusmack has "hip," Kelyne Reis "funky" and Wiley Robertson "inspired."

For his contribution, Robertson is looking to the skyline for his inspiration, creating a pastel scene with his trademark "love" signs in the air. By Monday afternoon, he was almost done with his mural and was planning on finishing it by Tuesday.

"It's hot in the daytime -- I'm trying to paint as quickly as possible," said Robertson, whose work can also be seen down by the Station Museum in its current show on street art. "I love aerosol -- it's so quick."

Reis isn't working in aerosol. The visual artist is creating her "funky" mural in acrylic with the help of artist friends Tania Botelho and Lorena Morales, taking inspiration from GreenStreet's circular pedestrian walkway above Fannin.

"My work is very flat and colorful," said Reis, who has a solo show currently up at Galeria Regina. "It's not difficult to translate into graffiti."

Prusmack was still making his way up from Galveston Monday afternoon before getting started on his blank canvas. The stencil artist is known for his cool monochromatic figures, said Gonzo. For his own piece, Gonzo is looking to Houston's culinary scene.

"I'm going with this explosion of flavor," said the Houston native, who had put up a few red and blue swirls after a day's work. "I'm pacing myself so I don't finish too quickly."

Gonzo's Market Square Park graffiti piece has gotten some flak for its inherent commercialism. One art blogger criticized that the mural says nothing and is just empty hype. The artist takes the criticism in stride.

"I don't get offended if people don't like my work, everyone has their own opinion," said Gonzo. "At the same time, there was a panel of people I had to answer to. In the end, it was my abstract interpretation of what the city has to offer."

GreenStreet's mural may be subject to similar criticism, since it also is modeled after the "Houston Is Inspired" marketing campaign, but you can judge for yourself. The artists will be at work on the mural from 10 am to 5 pm until Thursday, with a reception to follow that day until 8 pm.

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