Jefferson Hills man creates mural for CCAC South

Tyler Podomik with mural
Article by: TribLive
Community College of Allegheny County South Campus student Tyler Podomik was given the opportunity to showcase his artistic talents with a mural on the wall at the theater department entrance.

Podomik, 22, was asked to create a mural by George Jaber, CCAC theater professor and department head.

“He's an excellent young man, and I am hopeful for his future,” said Jaber, who had Podomik as a student in the oral communications class.

Jaber said Podomik stood out because of an email he received from the student regarding “Ideas and Opinions” by Albert Einstein. Podomik told Jaber that a quote from one of the book's topics, “Education for Independent Thought,” reminded him about the class.

“The impact we have as teachers only goes so far as the vessel allows,” Jaber said.

Nearly three years later, Jaber awarded Podomik the Kevin Dilworth Memorial Theatre and Dance Scholarship, which was used to fund the mural project as well as participate in a painting retreat with artist Andor Paposi-Jobb.

Jaber offered the theater wall for the mural.

“He said to do what I wanted,” Podomik said. “I wanted to paint people who were influential in theater.”

The 2012 Thomas Jefferson graduate researched various people and selected five whom he believes are theater legends. The mural features Vladimir Danchenko, Eugene Ionesco, James Baldwin, Tennessee Williams and August Wilson.

Podomik started during the school's winter break in December and finished in February. The 8-foot-by-26-foot mural took 170 hours to complete. His original sketches were projected onto the wall where he penciled some of the facial features. Podomik then painted in layers to make the facial features realistic.

“It was overwhelming because of the large space, but it was something I had to do,” Podomik said. “I enjoyed it.”

Not bad for a student who picked up a brush only two years ago when Podomik decided to take a painting elective class with associate art professor Scott Cornish.

Podomik started college as a business major then switched to communications. When he started painting, Podomik discovered his talent and passion.

“His first couple works were pretty good,” said Cornish, who realized Podomik's talents with his landscape portrait of Easter Island.

After the first painting class, Podomik converted the loft area above his home's garage into an art studio.

Podomik will graduate in May with an associate's degree in art. He would like to attend Arizona State to major in painting and minor in ceramics.

“Eventually, I would like to teach,” Podomik said.

“Tyler is a very good communicator,” Cornish said. “He would be a darn good teacher.”

Podomik picked the Phoenix area to study because of a solo trip to Sedona that he took on a whim. Both professors said one day they received an email from Podomik saying he wouldn't be in class the next day because he was in Arizona.

“I love to travel,” Podomik said. “I haven't found a place I like as much (as Sedona).”

Traveling is something that Cornish encourages with his students. Several CCAC students are at the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts in Portland, Ore., this week.

“Experience outside the classroom is just as important,” Podomik said. “Coming here and having the ability to travel has changed my life.”

Jim Spezialetti is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-388-5805 or