I began my professional life as a classical musician playing the oboe and English horn with various ensembles in the Pittsburgh region, including but not limited to the Pittsburgh Symphony, Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. Eventually I realized that freelancing as a musician did not keep me engaged or busy enough. I had taken art classes for years but wanted a marketable skill, so in 1992 I went to school to learn graphic design. After earning my Associate’s degree in Visual Communications, I worked for about seven years as both an oboist and a graphic designer. In my first full-time graphic design job I created an in-house design department for a small public relations firm. In 2001, I was hired by PPG, one of the world’s leading coatings companies, as the in-house graphic designer for its corporate marketing and communications department; at the same time, I permanently put away the oboe.
At PPG my initial responsibility was to offer design services to corporate departments and business units throughout the company. In 2012, I was promoted to Manager of Visual Communications, expanding my role to include strategic thinking to ensure PPG brand consistency and awareness. Internal clients included high-level executives, plant managers, HR recruiting/talent management team members, scientists, marketing and communications specialists, government affairs representatives, building-services personnel, assistants, leaders of the PPG Foundation, directors and managers. I retired from PPG in the fall of 2016, and now offer graphic design services and commisioned fine art through Smoliar Design.
My musical instrument sculptures grew out of fund-raising projects for the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra; my collages were inspired by a desire to consolidate and display my children’s artwork, and my painting of found objects (and incorporating them in my paintings) came from seeking creative uses for what might otherwise be thrown away. Please contact me if you’re interested in what I can create for you.