Growing up, art was everywhere in our home, in the attic, basement, closets, everywhere. My brother Patrick and I were taught at an early age to appreciate nature and artistic expression. Now called Mena by her grand children, Mama was taught the same by her mother Francis and in turn Francis (Nanny) was by hers. She continued this inspiring artistic lineage by studying art through college which lead her to work in fashion illustration. After Patrick and I were born, she shared her knowledge as our elementary art teacher and later found an interest in glass which she indulged in by working in a glass gallery in Atlanta. She clearly had a diverse interest in different mediums and styles. I distinctly remember road trips to see our grandparents Nanny and Poppy in North Carolina. The element that struck me even back then was the modern design and the Asian influence throughout their home. I don't know how far back in her family this interest in Japanese/Asian design started but it clearly was engrained in me as a young child.
Not long after Lori and I met our mutual love of Japanese design became the focal point of our own home. We talked of her Japanese/Hawaiian roots and how they influenced her design eye. Growing up Lori's Mom, now called Oma by the grand children, would share their Hawaiian heritage by performing the Hula and playing traditional instruments at her school. From the beginning of our relationship we talked of influences, defining our wants as a couple and for a business we had not yet formulated. When we dreamed of ME Speak Design we knew family, heritage, and craftsmanship would define our core belief. We looked to express this in our name and logo.
When I was young there was one piece of art that stood out in my mind and stayed in my heart. This piece never was displayed front and center but was hung in the hallway leading to Patrick and I's bedrooms. I would walk by it everyday acknowledging it's existence but not fully appreciating it's value. Back in college Mama hand carved a wood block self portriat. Instead of a subtle smile, in her true fashion, she carved one of of her silly faces. The eyes are serious but she played to her dry humor. At night when it was time for bed I loved the walk down the hall where that portrait hung, waiting with a funny face. Just like the carving, Mena is always ready to laugh. That carving now hangs in our home and is a reminder of one of the many reasons we do what we do; Now she smiles that quirky smile at her grandchildren as they head off to bed.
Now, time has passed and Mama has Alzheimers. Although her laugh is still prevalent her ability to express herself has all but disappeared. In designing our logo, Lori and I took inspiration from her block print. Bringing in family and representing a Japanese art form we both appreciate and our combined heritage.
The cardinal represents Lori and I. Named after the Catholic Cardinal in red, they are monogamous birds and both share in nesting and feeding duties. The red in the cardinals feathers is our favorite accent color, a strong color of Japan and so happens to be Mena's favorite. To complete the design we hand carved the first logo in wood and stamped it, officially tying the past with the present.
ME Speak Design is US, Eric and Lori Wright. Our name and logo express ourselves, giving a creative voice to one without and continuing our love and heritage rooted in Japan and expressed here in the United States South.