Vali Myers. I met her and I fell a little bit in love.
In her 60's, she was like a dear sweet child beneath her black kohl rimmed eyes, with a world of cool under her belt. I was in my twenties, she was a charmer and I was charmed.
My boyfriend was equally swayed and being a singer, gave her the gift of filling her studio with a deeply lovely song. His voice was a thing of beauty reverberating through the space. She was kind and grateful. It was one of those rare moments you where you feel blessed for just being alive and in the right place at the right time.
She took me under her wing in those moments and told me about her Maori moko, we compared tattoos and she was kind. I loved her. She was the bohemian artist, painter, dancer... She had lived her life on the streets of Paris, in the Chelsea Hotel New York, with her animals in Italy, all larger than life and more romantic than you could ever dream up. Her art was like seeing into her fantastic, magical soul.
Her gift to me is now I can't see a fox without thinking of her dear Foxy, in her arms and in her art. When I get a tattoo I think of her, so unafraid of what people thought of how she looked, how she delighted in decorating herself for herself. When I am troubled by that difficult relationship that the artist has with art, I think of her- Vali was her own work of art first and foremost. I conjure her in my memory, she is my Muse.
In her dying days in Melbourne she was as much a part of the nature of things as her years surrounded by her beasties in Italy, as the Witch of Positano.
In the month before her death she said in an article "I've had 72 absolutely flaming years. It [the illness] doesn't bother me at all, because, you know, love, when you've lived like I have, you've done it all. I put all my effort into living; any dope can drop dead. I'm in the hospital now, and I guess I'll kick the bucket here. Every beetle does it, every bird, everybody. You come into the world and then you go".
So you do.