Today we’d like to introduce you to Molly Meng.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I’ve been a teacher, a host, a greeting card designer, a professional organizer, a collector and an artist. It took me ages to use the title “artist” in person or on my business card. I started with little pieces and lots of great connections. Friends with other businesses truly encouraged the life I lead today. Until the pandemic came along, I’d had my own art studio for 15 years, the most recent being in the Spring Arts Tower in DTLA. I worked on shows, personal work and taught classes in those studios. Now, while the art business has thankfully kept me busy, I do all of those things from a room in our home. I sell artwork on Instagram or my personal website and I teach workshops virtually. I feel very lucky to have a dedicated, supportive base of people who commission my work, as well as those who promote it, and to all those who actually engage in my artwork and my workshops. It’s all come a long way since the early days of being in my apartment in NYC, making one-of-a-kind greeting cards and selling them at a craft market.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I consider myself lucky, as far as the road being smooth. The biggest struggle is my own mind, which seems to own a lifetime subscription to the issue titled “imposter syndrome 101”! I’m blessed to have a very outgoing personality that allows me to enthusiastically engage with people who own galleries, or shops, or design companies, the people that have a wide reach amongst the public, and therefore can help my artwork extend further. There was a time when I was still designing greeting cards and had quite a bit invested financially when suddenly the trend turned and I found myself on the opposite end of that popular form. Ultimately, it’s why I got out of the card business: it’s fickle and demanding in a way that didn’t fit with what I enjoy doing. When I finally made the decision to close that business, call my reps and the shops and donate the remainder of my stock, I was sick about the financial loss but also worried about the next step. Was there a next step?! How was I going to stay in a creative business? Flipping “failure” on its head, it was about finding my way back to enjoying the artwork involved and realizing that one of a kind art pieces are what I wanted to be doing….so, how could I do that? I had to start using the title “artist”. And then, of course, DO THE WORK.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I create art that tells the untold stories. I live by the phrase, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. Using materials that are salvaged from old homes or discarded piles, I build new lives. I listen as the past speaks through the objects I collect and now hold in my hands. I work with vintage ephemera and textiles. I rip, cut, stitch, put it back together in a different form. I may best be known for my Stitched Quotes. I’ve made hundreds of them: I had a show in San Francisco a couple of years ago and I made 101 of them, which all but a few sold pretty quickly. People love a great quote. They love how it lands, depending on the day, the mood, the space they’re in. Something about the layering and peeking at just some of the papers included, as well as the stitching around the quote, I think it’s soothing for people. I’m most proud of the really large commissioned work that lives in apartment buildings in Nor Cal. I love the idea of tons of people streaming by these works and maybe just some of them taking the time to stop and look deeply, walking away with a feeling that doesn’t leave them. Of course, I love that the artwork lives in so many homes that I’ll never know exactly where it is or what it’s doing for someone on a particular day. But something I created has made someone else in the world smile for a time.
Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
I love the weather in So Cal. Born and raised here, and then having traveled the world, I truly appreciate our temperate outdoor vibe. I also love how friendly people are in LA. Friends of mine in NYC and SF, when they visit, are always surprised at how it feels like a little town, where everyone has a dog and a smile! I also love the availability of ANYTHING you could want: food, outdoor activity, parks, cityscapes, views, caves, rivers, wild animals…. we’ve got it all! I absolutely deplore the traffic. (which also means I wish everything was “closer”! ha)
- Website: mollycmeng.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/molly_c_meng
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/molly.meng.12
Molly C. Meng