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ART BEAT: Artist Adrian Green paints larger-than-life personalities

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Special Photo Adrian Green's murals of sports legends can be viewed at Bigg Headz Barber Shops on Old Norcross Road and in the Bethesda Walk Shopping Center.

It is no wonder that talented painter Adrian Green is familiar with the heroic themes of sports stars, cultural icons and political statements. Green is something of a hero himself. He is a firefighter now stationed in the Dunwoody Fire Department at Perimeter Mall. Art Beat interviewed Green last year, and such interesting artistic activity has happened since, a return visit was in order.

Green's artwork is certainly visible in Gwinnett. His murals and artwork grace many Gwinnett schools and two popular Gwinnett businesses, the Bigg Headz Barber Shops on Old Norcross Road and the new location in Bethesda Walk Shopping Center.

A Boston native and a 1994 graduate of the Atlanta School of Art, Green has been gradually transitioning in his mind from heroic firefighter to painter of the heroic. With just a few years from possible retirement from the fire department, Green is getting close to achieving the life he has always wanted -- to be a full-time artist.

Over the past year he has continued to paint murals in Gwinnett schools. Mill Creek High School has two of his works, including a new, enormous, four-color school logo which was just finished last week. He also has murals at Peachtree Ridge, Duluth and Centenniel high schools, and Hull Middle.

But logos are not really what Green is all about. He is at his best when depicting larger-than-life personalities in action, such as sports legends and musicians. The opportunity to show this type of work has been helped along by the owners of Bigg Headz, Jamel Jackson and Michael Miller.

Green was invited to paint murals in the first Bigg Headz at 1685 Old Norcross Road. They were such a hit that Jackson and Miller commissioned Green to decorate the walls of their new shop in the Bethesda Walk Shopping Center at 3059 Lawrenceville Highway.

"They have allowed me so much creativity," said Green of the Bigg Headz owners. "I started new artwork in July last year and I am just finishing up now."

The Bethesda Walk Bigg Headz walls so far showcase paintings of sports figures Chipper Jones, Herschel Walker, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Serena Williams, Muhammad Ali and Joe Fraizer, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

With several more murals to finish, Green will be celebrating the completion of this location's artwork with a special exhibition on May 4.

"I will have individual pieces on display along with the eight murals on the walls," he said.

Additional artwork will include Julius Erving, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Jim Brown. He is also planning a music series of paintings honoring great jazz musicians such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Duke Ellington. Politically conscious themes and perhaps dance themes are also being considered.

Green has another goal: To help other artists.

"I would love to promote other artists. I meet artists, but many don't have any networking or promotion," he said. "I've had to learn the business side of creating art, and I would love to also be a promoter and distributor for others."

To see Green's artwork, visit the Bigg Headz locations or visit www.artworkbyadrian.com.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. Email her at hcalmes@mindspring.com.