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Elizabeth Meggs
Elizabeth Meggs is a Brooklyn-based artist, designer, and writer. BFA: Virginia Commonwealth University; MFA: Pratt Institute

A daughter’s tribute to her graphic design historian father.

Philip B. Meggs, wearing a white striped dress shirt and dark necktie, sits in front of a computer at a desk. He’s smiling and looking directly at the camera. He has short dark hair parted on his left side. His hands are clasped in front of his body. The computer screen has a montage of images related to graphic design history, such as the Rosetta Stone and petroglyphs. This is a black and white photo.
Philip B. Meggs, wearing a white striped dress shirt and dark necktie, sits in front of a computer at a desk. He’s smiling and looking directly at the camera. He has short dark hair parted on his left side. His hands are clasped in front of his body. The computer screen has a montage of images related to graphic design history, such as the Rosetta Stone and petroglyphs. This is a black and white photo.
Philip B. Meggs in his office at Virginia Commonwealth University, August, 1996 (photo: Dennis McWaters)

As you read my father’s writings on design, imagine what it might be like to grow up as the daughter of design historian Philip B. Meggs. At first, the idea of life with a scholarly researcher might seem dry, full of bibliographies, bland biographies, and dusty boxes of books. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Life with my father was always full of adventures, outrageous and outstanding people, amazing imagery, and fascinating stories, and that was without ever leaving the room. His sense of humor and fun, and his sense of the poetic, informed his approach to life. He…


Or, why I might say, “No!” if you invite me camping

Biscuit dough looped around a stick is cooked over a burning log. A partial view of a figure is in th background.
Biscuit dough looped around a stick is cooked over a burning log. A partial view of a figure is in th background.
“Biscuits On A Stick,” by Virginia State Park Staff (Image not modified. Image licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 General License.)

Poison ivy was not the worst thing I learned about at Camp Holly Dell. The major lesson I learned as a ten-year-old Girl Scout was this: Never go camping, especially not with a team of ten-year-olds wielding green Girl Scout pocket knives. Camp Holly Dell will always be my own personal Guantanamo Bay. The November weekend I spent there, I was convinced I would never make it back home alive. …


Finding hope within ourselves and in the communicative power of form

: This is an image of the poster discussed in the article. A vertical rectangle is filled with the color grey. At the top of the rectangle, colorful forms, in red-orange, purple, a gradient from orange to yellow, green, magenta, and blue, are made from the interior or negative spaces in the letterforms of the word HOPE. The letter strokes of the word HOPE are grey, matching the background, and merge into the grey background, letting the colorful negative spaces of the words become prominent.
: This is an image of the poster discussed in the article. A vertical rectangle is filled with the color grey. At the top of the rectangle, colorful forms, in red-orange, purple, a gradient from orange to yellow, green, magenta, and blue, are made from the interior or negative spaces in the letterforms of the word HOPE. The letter strokes of the word HOPE are grey, matching the background, and merge into the grey background, letting the colorful negative spaces of the words become prominent.
HOPE poster, 18" x 24,” by Elizabeth Meggs

Hope felt elusive in 2020 and into 2021, but one wall amplifies a message of hope. During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and amid a surge of protests demanding systemic change relative to police brutality, racism, climate change, many inequities, and elections, the Hope Poster Wall project was launched in Richmond, Virginia, on Shields Avenue in the historic Fan District, by John Malinoski, Ashley Kistler, and Rob Carter. On this wall, a rotating exhibition of posters conveying the overall theme of hope, especially in the context of social and racial equality, resides from September 2020 through August 2021. An…


How Artists Connecting During the Darkest Days of the Pandemic Led to a Book and Art Exhibit

A book, resting upright and slightly open, rests on a white surface witha white background. The book’s cover has blue circular forms in an abstract composition, with the title “202021” in white typography.
A book, resting upright and slightly open, rests on a white surface witha white background. The book’s cover has blue circular forms in an abstract composition, with the title “202021” in white typography.
“202021” Artist Book (Photo courtesy Ward Yoshimoto)

“Hi Guys -

How’s everyone handling the lockdown? I was thinking about hosting a chat on Zoom, let me know if you’re interested. Nothing formal, just a little something to break up the day. Let me know some times that you’re available, too — I’m actually working from home so nights are best for me.

Stay well!

Mike”

On March 31, 2020, the above message came like a small streak of sunlight into the email inboxes of a scattering of artists, from our friend, artist Mike Sorgatz.

Just days earlier, on March 22, 2020, at 8 p.m., New York City…

Elizabeth Meggs

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