Getting to know: Anita Radin
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Getting to know: Anita Radin

From murals to woodwork, Radin’s art can be seen throughout the Pittsburgh area.

Anita Radin and her Ironman Triathlon mural (Photo courtesy of Anita Radin)
Anita Radin and her Ironman Triathlon mural (Photo courtesy of Anita Radin)

Ever since growing up in Baldwin, Anita Radin has proven the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none” wrong.

For the past 20-plus years, she’s worked in woodburning, painting, room design and more.

The Chronicle caught up with Radin in her workshop trying to figure out which paints to use for her next project. She was considering touching up a mural she has at her home, while waiting to hear about work coming down the pike.

The Mt. Lebanon-based artist recently finished a commission of a surprise mural that depicted each stage of an Ironman Triathlon. A Realtor contacted Radin and “she wanted to surprise her husband — he’s an Ironman — and he had a competition coming up,” Radin explained. “She called me and said, ‘I’d like you to do a mural of an iron man on our pool house in our backyard while we’re gone,’ which really got my attention. I just loved that. I loved the idea of a challenge.”

While Radin said she’d never enter an Ironman herself — “Do I think I would do it? Hardly,” she laughed — she manages to stay busy. While she has always been able to draw and paint, she said, woodburning came later. Still, she retains an early memory of her brother giving it a try.

A woodburning piece of “a treasured memory” (Photo courtesy of Anita Radin)
“I remember [my brother] at my father’s workbench fooling around with a burner, and I think that that was the only time I had ever really seen it growing up,” Radin said. “Later on, I was in a store one time and saw a woodburner hanging on the wall and thought, ‘I’m gonna try this’.”

It’s now the namesake of her business, Burningwood by Anita, where she takes commissions for everything from cutting boards to Christmas ornaments. She said she does some woodburning work just about every day.

“I don’t have a lot of formal training, so I try to be constantly teaching myself. It’s not work to me … I am doing what I love, and I’ve been fortunate enough to get paid for what I do,” Radin said.

But she hasn’t always been a full-time artist. Two decades ago, she transitioned to making art after owning a hair salon.

A woodburning piece Anita Radin made for an auction (Photo courtesy of Anita Radin)
“More and more people started asking me for commission pieces,” Radin said. “At one point, I just said ‘No more doing hair.’ I just didn’t want to stand behind a chair anymore.”

From murals to woodwork, Radin’s art can be seen throughout the Pittsburgh area. A member of Beth El Congregation of the South Hills, she has a piece hanging in Rabbi Alex Greenbaum’s office, along with other works throughout the synagogue.

“I love getting the positive response from people,” Radin said. “When people are looking for things, I always look for a way to make it personalized to them. [It’s] always that big ‘ta-da!’ moment at the end that I really love.” PJC

Ethan Beck can be reached at ebeck@pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.

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