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Houston's most famous graffiti artist shows off in rocking Red Bull party: When art & champagne's wild

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News, Shelby, Red Bull Canvas Cooler, Gonzo247, August 2014
Grafitti artist Gonzo247 one of two artists headed to Red Bull Curates' national cooler competition. Courtesy of Red Bull
News, Shelby, Red Bull Canvas Cooler, August 2014
Twenty Houston artists spent the day putting their creative touch on the Red Bull coolers. Courtesy of Red Bull
News, Shelb, Redbull Canvas Cooler, Mr. D Boileau, August 2014
Sebastien "Mr. D." Boileau will compete in the national Red Bull Currates event in Miami. Courtesy of Red Bull
News, Shelby, Red Bull Canvas Cooler, August 2014
Taft McWhorter was one of 20 artists entering the friendly competition. Courtesy of Red Bull
News, Shelby, Red Bull Canvas Cooler, August 2014
Tuyet Ong-Barr uses a hair dryer to help her cooler art along. Courtesy of Red Bull
News, Shelby, Red Bull Canvas Cooler, Gonzo247, August 2014
News, Shelby, Red Bull Canvas Cooler, August 2014
News, Shelb, Redbull Canvas Cooler, Mr. D Boileau, August 2014
News, Shelby, Red Bull Canvas Cooler, August 2014
News, Shelby, Red Bull Canvas Cooler, August 2014

Twenty hopeful artists, 20 wildly embellished Red Bull coolers and flowing Red Bull/champagne cocktails — those were key elements of the scene that greeted more than 1,200 revelers at Winter Street Studios Thursday for Red Bull Curates: The Canvas Cooler Project.

Red Bull tapped the artists and selected 20 bars, lounges and restaurants in which the work would be displayed following this one-night only Red Bull-drenched public showcase. With Red Bull straight and Red Bull cocktails flowing, with a DJ spinning discs and with Twitter comments and swirling images projected on the walls, Winter Street rocked a serious party vibe. 

Houston is part of the eight-city art tour that has included Los Angeles, Chicago, Portland, Denver, New Orleans, Orlando with the final stop coming up in Philadelphia. In each city, two artists are selected by a panel of judges to show and sell their work at the SCOPE Art Show, that will run concurrently with Art Basel Miami Beach in December. Two additional artists will be selected as people's choice contenders, based on the number of Twitter mentions that night using the artist's custom hashtags. Those winners will be announced in November. 

Selected to represent Houston in the Miami competition were graffiti artist Gonzo247 and Sebastien "Mr. D." Boileau

"The metal doesn't breathe like a canvas. It's a difficult beast." 

"I wanted to utilize the entire refrigerator," Gonzo247 tells CultureMap. "I wanted to use every last available paintable surface." His Art Without Barriers design was done with spray paint and included layers of plexiglass to give the piece something of a three-dimensional effect. While most of the artists painted in doors during assigned hours on either Sunday or Monday, Gonzo worked outdoors due to the volatile nature of his spray paint cannisters. 

Judging the colorfully dressed coolers were Washington Avenue Arts District director Susannah Parnin Mitchell, Juice Consulting founder and president Heather Wagner Reed and world champion ice sculptor the Rev. Butter.

Artists splashing rainbows of color across their coolers included Scott Tarbox, Anat Ronen, Deck WGF, Dual, Kelley Devine, Marsha Glickman, Taft McWhorter, Cheryl Tamborello, Van McFarland, Tuyet T. Ong-Barr, #ARTKUNGFU, Dune Tencer, Jesse "Dense83" Greene, Kevin Hernandez, Phillip O. Perez “Article,” Jed Foronda, Jesus Martinez and Anita Varadaraju.

As Tamborello said of the challenge, "The metal doesn't breathe like a canvas. It's a difficult beast." Her effort required six hours to create "Land, Sky and Sea," painted in a style reflective of her unique painting style.

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