Art student spotlight: Tyler Podomik

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, January 31st, 2018 at 6:49 PM
Art student spotlight: Tyler Podomik by Rick Chernicky
Photo: Rick Chernicky

He seemed hesitant to speak at first, apologizing for being late due to clay club obligations. His mannerisms were sincere, with no visible ego. A junior at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Tyler Podomik sat down for his interview, trying not to grin, as he gently placed his box of Chinese food to the left.

When asked what messages Podomik was trying to convey within his dual concentration of ceramics and painting, he explained: “With ceramics I try to just do functional work while showing some evidence of life cycles. I like to show sun cycles and water cycles on my pots. As far as painting goes, it really all just depends on the painting. I like doing portraits a lot. I pretty much put all the colors together, and I use that to convey a message of humanity.”

Podomik’s personality was slowly surfacing as he explained himself. When asked how long ago he began pursuing art, he said: “I started in February of 2015. I used to be a business major at CCAC in Pittsburgh. I ended up taking a painting class there and loved it. As far as ceramics goes, I started doing that in 2016.”

Before finding himself through art, Podomik spoke of working at Bowser Automotive in Pittsburgh where he was continuously getting in car wrecks, and in which he was digging himself into even more debt. He said that working a 40-hour schedule was not uncommon and that it was a “dead end job.” This eventually led him to CCAC. 

“My uncle told me that a business degree would set me straight. I learned that business was the farthest thing from what I needed, so I changed my major a bunch of times and found painting,” said Podomik. 

“When I started painting I went really dramatic with it. I turned my whole upstairs garage into a studio and sort of confined myself to solitude, and whenever you’re confined to solitude it forces you to figure things out about yourself,” he said. 

Since then, Podomik has painted many life-like portraits of real people that incorporate advanced surrealism. He managed to earn two years of painting credits at CCAC before transferring to Edinboro for the art program. 

When asked how he learned so fast, he made sure to state that he had “a lot of room to grow.” 

Podomik continued: “When I first started painting I realized that I liked moving paint with a brush and that made me focus on it, and whatever the hell you focus on and practice at, you get good at. It’s a very intuitive process. I sort of just make a bunch of marks and keep going off of that. I really don’t know what I’m doing, but as I don’t know what I’m doing, I learn where to go.” 

When asked if he had any prior interest in art before 2015, Podomik explained: “The only reason I was interested in art before 2015 was because it was the fun class in high school. Sometimes I would draw lines in my notebook, but I would never really draw as a hobby. Everything sort of fell in line at 20 years old.” 

As he was discussing his story, Podomik’s grin only got bigger, his hand gestures more energized. 

“I was always an introvert until I got into art. For instance, when I get confidence I’m more comfortable being an extrovert. I like learning and talking to people, hearing experiences, and that makes me want to go back and think about that stuff while I sit alone and paint,” he said.

When asked why his work was important, Podomik responded by saying: “A lot of times I don’t think it’s important. That’s a conflict that I have in my head. I mean it means things when certain people see it. For instance, I could set a painting up in here and 500 people could walk past it, but one person could like it and it could affect their day for 30 seconds. Only when other people find happiness in my art, that’s when I think it becomes important because it’s not about me anymore.”

Rick Chernicky can be reached at ae.spectator@gmail.com.

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