By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Nov 22, 2004 at 5:05 AM

{image1}A month after Adam Nilson graduated from MIAD in 2003, his son Jackson was born.

"It sounds so clichéd, but Jackson has changed everything. He's a spark that keeps me going," says Nilson.

Nilson is arguably one of Milwaukee's most employed artists. Recently, he completed the Mona Lisa mural at Sven's Café in Bay View, a "comet/galactic mural" inside Avante Salon in Brookfield, all of the interior restoration work for Cans Canteen on the East Side (including restoration of the copper dome atop the building), an exterior mural for The Gig, formerly Barrel Riders, in Riverwest, and a full makeover for Hairy's Hair Bar.

"I gave it (Hairy's) a modern, urban feel with faux steel, rusted rivets, relief techniques and I-beams. I also painted the floor, walls and helped direct interior elements," he says.

Nilson's latest project is The Groove, a bar/restaurant opening soon at 3007 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

"It will be modern yet nostalgic," says Nilson. "It will pay homage to pioneers in music, especially rock, soul and funk."

Nilson is particularly excited about this project because he shares a love for music with The Groove's owner. Nilson collects records and is an avid WMSE listener.

"The Groove will have a collaboration of photos, illustrations and murals pertaining to the love of music," he says. "I've brought together about five other artists and designers to contribute their work."

Nilson, who grew up in Beloit, says he's been an artist for most of his life but really decided on it as a vocation after taking time off from MIAD when his stepfather died from cancer and his Oakland Avenue apartment burned down.

"I soon decided to return rebuilt, with a new outlook on my art and life itself," says Nilson, who currently has studio space in the Hide House in Bay View. "I switched my major from illustration to fine art drawing under the life-changing guidance of instructors Paul and Polly Caster, as well as Waldek Dynerman."

Nilson says his dream is to be a guest designer/muralist on a home makeover show that helps families in need. But for now, he has plenty of work to keep him busy and just enough free time to spend with his son.

"I feel incredibly blessed," he says.

For more information, call (414) 324-2510.

Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.

As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.

She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that. 

Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.

Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.

In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!

When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.