TueNight 10: Hope Meng

(Hope live-painting a collaborative mural at LetterWest conference. Photo by Matt McDowell.)

Age: 43

Basic bio: Hope is a designer and artist who believes in the power of letters to communicate through both their content and their form. She is the designer behind Monogram Project, and the artist behind TEXT/TILE Studio.

Beyond the bio: I have experimented with many different interests, sports, and hobbies. For whatever reason, I tend to compartmentalize – never letting my passion for typography and design intersect with my passion for sewing (for example). As I get older, I see those walls breaking down and combining into an expression that is uniquely my own. 

What makes you a grown-ass lady? Taking responsibility for my emotions. No one else makes me feel anything, and I know how to honor and process my feelings without being unproductive about it. That doesn’t mean I don’t get grumpy or lose my temper or feel sorry for myself sometimes, but that I understand those emotions are my choice. There is real power in that.

1. On the nightstand: The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson, Luster by Raven Leilani, and a stack of half-read New Yorkers.

2. Can’t stop/won’t stop: Puzzling. Since the pandemic started, I have completed 19 (and counting) 1000-piece puzzles. When the world feels uncertain and out of control, there is great comfort in puzzles. The little endorphin hit you get after finding the rightful home for a piece and clicking it into place – a puzzle is not just an activity, it is 1000 tiny accomplishments.

3. Jam of the minute: Not exactly current, but I just introduced my 6yo daughter to Salt-N- Pepa’s “Push It” and she’s obsessed. I’m obsessed with how obsessed she is with this song.

4. Thing I miss: Hanging out with friends indoors. Dinner parties.

5. ’80s crush: River Phoenix.

6. Current crush: Any woman who has found her voice and isn’t afraid to use it. Famous examples include AOC, Sarah Cooper, Padma Lakshmi – but there are plenty of lesser-known women who are quietly going around leading extraordinary lives.

7. Latest fave find: Pomelo-flavored San Pellegrino.

8. Last thing I lost: The notion that liberals are not complicit in the preservation of white supremacy.

9. Best thing that happened recently: Right before shelter-in-place began, I completed a mural at The Progress using my TEXT/TILE alphabet. TEXT/TILE feels like my unique artistic contribution to the world, and the mural was a huge validation of that project.  

10. Looking forward to: The day when I don’t have to worry about germs all the time.

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