Our Hero Margarito Melchor
San Martin vaguely resembles what it was just two decades ago. The addition of well manicured citrus groves and added levels to formerly single floor homes makes navigating the growing town a challenge when trying to reconnect with artists. Adding to the confusion, the village now boasts newer generations of younger Oaxacan Wood Artist studios who have no recollection of the artists decades before.
The lost artist we were trying to find again was the famed Margarito Melchor maker of the iconic cats. Gatos that graced the covers of books on Oaxacan Woodcarving with their purely geometric patterns. Hidden in a courtyard between two other studios we found Margarito working on a blonde unpainted elaborate feline composition.
Margarito Melchor has aged gracefully over the years. Putting the art form on the map, he is one of a dozen or so first generation artists. We first encountered him in the early 1990s and he consistently remains one of friendliest artists in Oaxaca. His modesty and enthusiasm for his creations win everyone over. His focus and passion alway impresses.
His cats are still as unique as they were decades ago. Their playful innocent expression capture folk art purity. His scale he works in is much larger and weightier than most. These are sculptures you put in a place that people can touch. They complete a Mexicolor southwestern decor like no other. Although very slow in output the ones he brings to life retain all those special qualities. We are lucky to have a brilliant assortment of his cats along with his equally legendary leones. Check out in our Animalito Gallery.