A native of Toledo, Ohio, Philabaum earned a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Arizona in 1983. He began his art career doing paintings and drawings then working with clay. In the mid-1970s, he introduced glass to his repertoire and began having his glass works exhibited throughout the U.S. After earning his degree from the UA, he remained in Tucson and set up his studio and gallery.
Philabaum’s work is part of collections at locations throughout the world including the Tucson Museum of Art, Seattle Art Museum, the University of Florence in Florence, Italy, Glasmuseet Frauenau in Germany, Glasmuseum Ebeltoft in Denmark, and the Arizona State University Museum of Art. He also has works in a variety of businesses throughout the U.S. including Tucson International Airport and a Saks Fifth Avenue in Miami. The Tucson Museum of Art has six works by Philabaum in the permanent collection.