A new generation artist with a heart, 29-year-old Adam Podber is making waves with his hip, colorful murals and large-scale projects, including pieces along the Atlanta BeltLine and at the Coca-Cola Roxy theater in SunTrust Park.
Podber’s story comes from a passionate place where he was diagnosed as a young boy with cancer. It propelled him into a career of art and paying it forward to help others through art therapy. Podber, who attended The Epstein School, Woodward Academy and The Weber School, is now featured as a volunteer on the website of Camp Sunshine for children with cancer. “I looked at some of the counselors … who have been there for such a long time, and thought, ‘That’s going to be me.’” Podber made good on his pledge to help others.
With his fine art degree in industrial design from Savannah College of Art and Design, Adam’s brightly colored modern art can be seen on walls 150 feet by 20 feet, at art galleries, and private corporations wanting to appeal to “out of the box thinkers” with his stimulating street vibe.
Jaffe: As a child you had health challenges which impacted you.
Podber: At 9, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Before that I was super athletic. After the chemo and medications, I couldn’t be as active and turned to ceramics and ultimately self-therapy through art.
Jaffe: How would you describe your talent?
Podber: I lie in bed at night while I’m calm, and ideas come to me. When I slow down, I can envision murals and eye-catching designs. I lean towards tangerine, hot lime and bright blue colors with the goal of being modern and exciting with attention to detail.
Jaffe: How did you come up with the name Hot Grits for your design firm?
Podber: When I was in Savannah doing metal sculpture, I liked listening to the rapper Camoflauge’s “Hot Grits.”
Jaffe: Who are some of your most-memorable clients?
Podber: The Roxy theater at SunTrust Park was one of my favorite projects. I also create smaller studio art for galleries, commissions and private collections.
Jaffe: How do you go about executing a large-scale project?
Podber: I start with mock-up drawings and computer renderings. Then sketches go on the wall, aerosol spray paint and house paint. The end result is bright, original and stunning!
Jaffe: What’s your involvement with the BeltLine?
Podber: Atlanta’s BeltLine is really cool. My studio is on Metropolitan Parkway, which is near the extension to the Westside (Trail) BeltLine. My work has been in the Facet Gallery and Kai Lin Art. My first BeltLine project was a 2015 sculpture.
I did a large-scale sign for a gym, which required a lot of perseverance.
One of my most difficult projects was a mural on Edgewood and Boulevard, a happening area. It was during the coldest winter, and I was outdoors alone for days on an old-fashioned, shaky ladder. It was a nightmare with equipment, time, the large scale, and the client – seemed like it all was working against me.
Various spots are open to street art. There are weird “power grabs” on the BeltLine in choosing to paint over other people’s art. There is normally an understanding of respect. Someone painted over an artist’s work, which had been there a decade. He/she got a lot of negative press for doing that.
Jaffe: You believe in giving back to the community?
Podber: Camp Twin Lakes (for children with serious illness and life challenges) and Camp Sunshine are important to me personally. I was a camper from age 10 to 18. I still volunteer as a summer arts and crafts counselor. I executed a large mural there for families. One of my favorites was a large kite project at Twin Lakes.
I am also involved with ColorATL, a nonprofit with other artists creating a coloring book exhibit. I enjoyed leading projects with Georgia State and Kennesaw State Hillels, where we did hamsas and stars of David stencils on t-shirts.
Jaffe: Where do you see yourself in years to come?
Podber: I want to travel to paint large-scale projects like the sides of buildings. I want to continue my studio work, exposure in galleries and being employed in the entire Southeast. Follow me on social media … I’m all over Instagram!