Melvin the Sad...(ish) Robot created by Joshua Margolis
Developing the Artist
Joshua Margolis grew up in Saratoga Springs, New York during the tail end of the seventies, the eighties, and the beginning of the nineties. It was somewhere in this time that he went to a local summer arts camp at Skidmore College and was exposed to his first creative interaction with clay. He began like anyone else who was new to the medium, learning to make pinch, coil, and slab forms. It would have been an uneventful and insignificant experience if not for the kind words and encouragement from the late ceramics icon Toshiko Takaezu who spent two weeks at Skidmore each summer. At the time Joshua shrugged off her words of encouragement and went on with his confusing adolescence. But subconsciously those words of encouragement gave him the confidence to continue working with clay throughout high school and then on through college where he focused his studies.
At school in Buffalo, New York is where Joshua truly came into my own, focusing on the figure as a way to express his thoughts and emotions. This is also where he began to explore the great influences of his childhood, such as George Lucas, Jim Henson, and all the comic book visionaries that he was so obsessed with.
After graduating from Buffalo, Joshua relocated with his parents to Tampa, Florida. They entered Florida on January 1st, 2000, and what was intended as a brief stay, ended up as three and a half years of unhappiness while being stuck in a hot, hellish place. But with this unhappiness there came a huge development creatively and professionally. Artistically, Joshua started working at the University of Tampa under the guidance of Professor Jack King. It was here where he was taught the in and outs of being an artist and the fundamentals of how to teach ceramics. Teaching others became a great way for him to process his own creative outlet and led him to another positive experience in Florida, which was working at a company called Creative Clay. After exhibiting his work in some local shows Joshua was asked to be a guest artist teaching clay to adults with developmental disabilities at Creative Clay. Working with these students he discovered the true meaning of love, and also began to develop himself as strong, and patient teacher.
Needing a change, in June of 2003 Joshua loaded up his car and headed west to San Francisco. It wasn’t the easiest place to make a living, and there was no job or art opportunities waiting for him. But the fact that he knew a few people made it seem like a much better choice than Florida, or going back north to the cold. He started working at a non profit called Seneca that provided services for children with behavioral and emotional challenges, and on the weekends he also taught at a clay studio called Kids N Clay. After a few years living and working in the east bay Joshua took a job teaching ceramics at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco and moved all his belonging into the city.
In 2010 Joshua joined FM Oakland Art Studios. If you are interested in seeing his work in person or buying directly from the artist, stop by our studio every first Friday from 5-9pm, at 483 25th st., right off of Telegraph Ave.
In January of 2013 Joshua made the triumphant move back to the east bay and rooted himself in the Oakland art scene while keeping his job duties at the JCCSF. Although the move back to Oakland was exactly what he wanted, he found himself feeling the same sense of loneliness he had during his stay in Florida. So he did what made the most rational sense. He got a dog, and life has been almost perfect since.
Photo by Daisy Mayorga