Richard Margolin builds art house


Adoley Swaniker

The artist, Richard Margolin, stands in front of his main centerpiece. Some recurring themes in his work include the use of bright colors and faces to give his art the liveliness it needs.

Jake Hamilton, Opinion Editor

Walking down an alley in the Barrio of Carlsbad, the houses are almost indistinguishable in their structure and design –except for one. The gate of this house is decorated with vibrant paint and shards of mirror. The yard has colored bark and painted stones in a path to the front door. On all sides are pieces of art, many of which commemorate key figures in rock and roll. In the middle of all of this–hard at work following a new creative trail of bread crumbs–is a single old man.

This man, Richard Margolin, has fulfilled every artist’s dream, crafting an art piece with the largest possible canvas: his house.

“It was all dirt, totally bare,” Margolin said. “I just filled in the empty canvas.”

Surprisingly enough, Margolin didn’t discover his passion for art until the age of 56, when he turned his Encinitas bachelor apartment into an art piece. This stood as a popular landmark until it was demolished. He now lives in his art-house in the Barrio which he continuously renovates.

“I know, it’s a crazy story,” Margolin said. “Something just clicked in my brain. It was like, I never knew I was an artist, so it was 56 years of pent up artistic vision.”

He had no specific plan upon starting his new art-house in the Barrio. Each piece underwent many changes before turning out the way it did. It was early in the beginning phases of the project that he got the idea to honor rock greats.

“I always had such a deep love for the early rock and roll people,” Margolin said. “They were such geniuses, and they had so much energy. It was a real treat to expose them in my art.”

Much like the rock and roll genre that the art memorializes, the key to the piece as a whole is its ability to regulate chaos.

“Even though there’s a million colors and textures and everything, I think it’s easy on the mind, because I’ve created a background of order and balance,” Margolin said.

The artwork around the house ranges from decorations on a milk jug to a painting of the Rolling Stones on a psychedelic toilet seat. With so much art work, the place requires rigorous upkeep.

“The hardest part about the place is keeping it all at a high level, because it’s all outside,” Margolin said. “You could finish one piece, and six weeks later, it needs work again. It’s kind of a crazy impossible situation that I’ve put myself into.”

By finding his passion at such an old age, Margolin was able to approach art fresh, without any insecurities. With his different perspective, he recommends a few key tips for young artists.

“Don’t worry about what other people think; that’s the worst thing you could do,” Margolin said. “Let it all hang out. Just do what comes to you, and don’t give up. A lot of my art is based on failure. Just keep going and going, and finally some light breaks through. “