Night Flower

I love you Vali Myers

Vali and Foxy - Self Portrait Polaroid
Today would have been Vali Myers' 83rd birthday.  I remember that Vali once told me she was born with a head of thick red hair and came out howling - she said it set the tone for the rest of her life. Vali was one of the most important people in my life. Knowing her, just spending time being in her wild presence, changed me forever and I am still, only now, understanding the pearls of wisdom that she gifted me so long ago.
I was honoured to be asked to write the foreword for Night Flower - The Life and Art of Vali Myers. I hope it inspires you today to remember Vali and your own wild spirit. And I hope it encourages you to seek out her incredible art and this wonderful book. Viva Vali.
01Night-Flower-Softcover

 

Night Flower - The Life and Art of Vali Myers

Published by Outre Gallery
Foreword by Julia Inglis
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
Edgar Allan Poe  1827
 
What you hold in your hand is a spark. A spark from the immortal spirit of Australian artist, Vali Myers. Vali has been called many names -  witch, bohemian, outlaw, gypsy, visionary. And they are true and they are not true. How do you name a force of nature? Or define a spirit that comes both from an ancient place and a far distant future?  The only name that Vali cared for was artist. She dedicated her life to making her art deeply personal, raw and true and she put the same energy into living her life. Vali never lived life on the surface, like her tattooed face she fearlessly wore her spirit on the outside. Everything about her was deep and wild, her beautiful strangeness so natural that she was supernatural.
The ancient Celts believed that we had two selves one that lived in this world and at the same time, one in the Otherworld. This mysterious ‘other’ is usually separate from our knowing but in Vali it co-existed with ease. The Australian Aboriginals call the Otherworld the Dreamtime and Vali used this word often and with love as if it were the real world, a place where creations are born, ancestors reside and the future was already known. Vali was a walker between the worlds. She even called her paintings ‘spirit drawings’ as if pulled from the ether. She drew only for herself with no intention of selling for years, so what you are holding in Night Flower is a book of paintings and writings created by her spirit for her spirit – to romance the other. By opening this book you are crossing a once secret threshold. This is the first time Vali’s notebooks have been unearthed and published in such length and I believe they are important not just for artists but for anyone wanting to know how to befriend their own spirit. Tenderly written and intricately illustrated, these notebooks are literally dreaming manuals on how to live an extra-ordinary life.
Vali was never just a muse, that is too passive a role for a firestarter, an awakener. She is more like an ancient Dakini, a sky dancer who is guardian of the deeper mysteries. Like the Dark Goddesses Lilith and Kali, Vali is a truth-bringer, her bright energy illuminating the darkness and smashing all that is false or a danger to nature. At 19 years of age Vali sailed alone from Australia to Paris in the clothes she stood in carrying a small satchel containing her artwork and a ten pound note. From the sheer force of her spirit she forged a magical life that traversed continents and crossed paths and inspired luminaries such as Jean Cocteau, Django Reinhardt, Salvador Dali, John Lennon, Patti Smith, Tennessee Williams and Marianne Faithful. For most of her life she kept two homes. One her beloved Il Porto (The Port) a wild volcanic valley and animal sanctuary she shared with Gianni Menichetti in Positano, Italy where she withdrew from the world and painted. The other was wherever her spirit urged her to sail to sell her artwork to support her animals.
It was never Vali’s intention, to inspire generations of existentialists, beatniks, hippies ,punks, artists, rebels and beautiful dreamers. She simply trusted her ‘fox nose’ in a constant search for what was real and true, and this was naturally found at the centre of the most important art and cultural movements in modern history. Not that Vali was ever part of anyone else’s ‘scene’ she was simply already there before them. In Night Flower you will glimpse the effect of Vali’s wild magic in written, photographic and drawn contributions by: Gianni Menichetti, Ruth Cullen, Nicole Karidis, Devendra Banhart, Chris Stein, Eileen Polk, Donovan, Lina Eve, Flame Schon, Carol Beckwith, Carlo McCormick and the late Ed van der Elsken.
 
What would Vali have thought of all this? She would have cared about the art. That her creations pulled from the dreamworld, some taking decades to birth, were still alive. It makes sense to me that after passing away ten years ago and ‘going to ground’, an expression used by fox hunters when the vixen magically disappears from sight, that Vali has returned to fire us up again. In these changing times when we are being called to honour and protect the earth and her creatures, we must first learn how to nurture and protect what is natural and wild within ourselves. We need to know that people like Vali exist. They are rare but they exist. It was my greatest honour to know her personally and my life has never been the same. My hope is that Night Flower opens a door to a time when Vali’s art and life becomes known and celebrated in new ways. I would like to thank all of those who have contributed to the creation of this beautiful book. Together we are creating the possibility of this spark becoming a raging fire.
 
But first, this spark is for you. A gift from Vali Myers, a woman who dedicated her life to art and honouring the sacred power of nature. May Night Flower kindle a fire in you to seek the wild and the real, and to embrace your own beautiful otherworldly twin, the dreamer with the dream.
 

Wu-man-Vali-Myers

Vali Myers is for Girls Like Us - Sydney Launch!

Hello to the Vali Myers tribe! Look what arrived at our studio today - MISO's print: Vali Myers is for Girls Like Us - Always Ran Real Wild. This beautiful offering by MISO was created for the Melbourne launch of Night Flower - The Life and Art of Vali Myers published by Outre Gallery. When I saw this work of art it took my breath away because it was such a true embodiment of Vali's spirit - her queendom! 
A pre launch celebration in Sydney for Night Flower will be held this Friday 30.11.2012 at Platform 72, 72 Oxford Street Sydney at 6pm and then the launch itself will be at Outre Gallery on Crown Street, Sydney on 7.12.2012 at 6pm. Let's celebrate Vali's immortal spirit! Get your foxy selves down there and you too will own this treasure of a book!

To RSVP and pre-order your copy (just a few copies left now of the limited edition black cloth-bound cover) contact Outre Gallery: www.outregallery.com to find out more about the magnificent Vali Myers: www.valimyers.com

Vali and ANohni

Vali and Mackie her crow

Vali Myers and her crow, Macki - 1959

Photo of Vali's journal or her 'notebook' as she liked to call them.

It seems so right and true that Vali Myers has inspired singer and artist, ANohni.  Vali would have adored her too, I can imagine it very easily. ANohni has an exhibition on as part of the Melbourne Festival (click here for more information) and will be performing the incredible Swanlights tonight and tomorrow. I am so excited I literally can't sit still.

Golden dreams for all of the wild swans tonight.

Vali by Mary Ellen Mark

Vali Myers by Mary Ellen Mark

I have always been fascinated by this photograph of Vali. It was taken by one of my favourite photographers, Mary Ellen Mark when Mary was very young and on her first photography scholarship in Italy. I am not exactly sure of the year but it would have been around 1964. Vali told me that Mary had seen her around Positano and kept asking to take Vali's photo. Finally Vali consented and invited her up to 'Il Porto' her animal sanctuary in the wild valley where Mary took many photographs. When Mary got the roll of film back to America, she was in the middle of processing when someone came into the dark room and turned on the light. All of the photographs were ruined, disappeared - all except this one. Vali smiled when she told me this story...capturing the mysterious is never easy.

 

Kindling for your Fire - Night Flower the Life & Art of Vali Myers

It's here - it's real!  
YES!!! The new book: Night Flower - the Life & Art of Vali Myers has been birthed at a beautiful launch and exhibition at Outre Gallery in Melbourne on the Eve of the Spring Equinox. Thank you to everyone who turned up to celebrate Vali and her extraordinary life & art, what a fantastic night and it even included a visit by the cops - Vali would have loved that, she would have disarmed them with her fox ways and invited them inside. The biggest hugs in the world for Nicole Karidis & Ruth Cullen of the Vali Myers Art Gallery Trust and Martin McIntosh & Gemma Jones of Outre Gallery & Publishing. Wow - it's really here. I remember the first day years ago when all of sat around my dining room table and the seed of this dream was born and to hold this luminous, golden dream of a book in my hand right now is so exciting. 
It was an honour to be asked to write the foreword for Night Flower, to express in words the magic & wisdom that Vali gifted to me during our friendship. This gift is a creative 'quickening' that is open and available to you all in this book and I encourage you to READ IT, SPEAK OF IT, SHARE IT and then let it inspire you to CREATE. Wild, flaming love to you Queen of Foxes and to you all - THE DREAM IS REAL. Julia xxxx.
Night Flower is available from Outre Gallery where you can also see for a limited time Vali's original drawings, personal diaries and talismans in a current exhibition. Go and see it!!!
Inside the Outre Hive before opening with 
Nicole Karidis & Ruth Cullen of the Vali Myers Trust
with Gemma Jones & Martin McIntosh from Outre in the background

Night Flower with Vali's personal diaries and talismans
Original painting: Queen of Thorns Vali Myers
Original painting: Stella Maris by Vali Myers
love you Vali 

Night Flower in bloom at Blue Full Moon

Moon Hare, Vali Myers 1973
Hello foxies, getting ready for your Blue Full Moon tonight? Here is some Vali magic to help inspire you: the launch of 'Night Flower - The Life & Art of Vali Myers' will be held at SPRING EQUINOX at Outre Gallery in Melbourne on Friday, 21st September 2012. This is going to be a very special evening and will coincide with an exhibition of original works. RSVP is a must and you can do so with the lovely people of Outre at www.outregallery.com. See you there!
Wild Fox Dreaming to you all on this Blue Moon Eve xx