Outre Gallery

I'll Be Your Mirror

Vali Myers and Foxy - Polaroid self portrait




I’LL BE YOUR MIRROR

I’ll be your mirror
Reflect what you are
In case you don’t know
I’ll be the sun
The wind and the rain
The light on your door
To show that you’re home.
When you think the nights as in your mind
Bent inside, you’re twisted and unkind
Let me stand to show that you are blind
Please put down your hands, cause I see you.
I find it hard
To believe you don’t know
The beauty you are
But if you don’t
Let me be your eyes
A hand to your darkness
So you won’t be afraid.
When you think the nights as in your mind
Bent inside, you’re twisted and unkind
Let me stand to show that you are blind
Please put down your hands, cause I see you.
I’ll be your mirror 

lyrics by Lou Reed

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, Miso and the Leonine Sisterhood

At the exact point of the Moon becoming Full in Leo a couple of days ago, I met with three women who all in their own beautiful way had recently honoured Australian artist, Vali Myers. The special women were artist Stanislava Pinchuk (Miso), who had dedicated her recent mural at NGV to Vali, Gemma Jones, from Outre Gallery who had curated and created the exhibition and book 'Night Flower - The Life and Art of Vali Myers' and Nicole Karidis, long-time friend and supporter of Vali and member of the Vali Myers Trust. When I woke up that morning I felt energy stirring deeply and the strongest elements I felt were FIRE and AIR. I could feel the fierce KNOWING and intelligence of this group of women and I was excited to see what we would brew together . 
I was also going to view Stanislava's mural featuring Vali for the first time at the National Gallery of Victoria, Federation Square and so this is where our gathering took place. Many people have drawn and photographed Vali over the years but Stanislava has managed to convey her true essence - Vali's regal wildness, the tough queendom of her spirit. I also noticed how proud and straight all of the women in Miso's mural stood and I had the feeling that part of the energy was of restoring dignity to her women or perhaps subtly reminding us of how naturally dignified the female spirit is. This quiet dignity is also expressed in the guardian hounds that stand beside their Artemis-like companions.
We spent hours sharing stories of our experiences working with and knowing Vali - some in person, some in spirit - with Vali there is little difference. Her presence is still as strong as it ever was. It was not lost on us to see Vali had finally found her way into the National Gallery via Miso, street artist and tattooist - both female artists in the pirate and outlaw tradition. This day was so special to me. It poured fire into my heart and spine, I felt myself standing straighter as I left. We all came away with so many new ideas on ways to celebrate and share Vali's art and life in the future and a fierce leonine push for our own creative projects. And yes, Vali was a proud LEO! That is the power of women. When we gather together and share our personal stories and art, we realise that those doors that can be so hard to step through can be opened with ease with the help of our sisters. 
If you are in Victoria, I hope you can make the trip to see this beautiful mural by Miso - all done by hand in pencil, painstakingly created over hours and hours in the deep of night when the gallery and the rest of Melbourne were sleeping. This mural will only be up on the NGV wall until October 2013. It is a small altar to the dignity of women, friendship and art and I hope that it will help you in the way that it helped me.
Love to you my wild sisters, love to you Vali Myers. Together let's keep stoking the FIRE.

MISO at work on the mural
Mural Dedication

Meet Your Heroes - ANohni, Vali & MISO

ANohni performing Swanlights, Melbourne Festival 2012

Just over a week ago I was watching ANohni perform Swanlights at Hamer Hall in thrall, captivated by her otherwordly voice and presence. It was one of the most amazing performances I have ever seen. Like a beautiful ancient witch, she cast a powerful spell over the audience drawing us back into childlike awe. The innocence and purity was breathtaking.

There is a saying 'never meet your heroes' but I say do it! It's important to meet people living beyond the boundaries of what society tell us is achievable or even allowed. We are in a time now of reinvention and we must search out those who are already innovating in their work, their art, their lives.  And not to idolise but to galvanise our own spirits and take steps towards extra-ordinary living. Two years ago when I sat down with the Vali Myers Trust and Outre Gallery to help to compile the beginnings of the book 'Night Flower' I sent an invitation to contribute out to people who I admired and who I knew in turn admired the incredible art of Vali Myers. One of the people I wanted to contact was ANohni, who I felt intuitively would love and understand Vali's life and art. But instead of trying to contact her, I felt shy and worried that I might be pestering her or asking too much. On Friday evening I had a beautiful invitation through Gemma and Martin of Outre Gallery who have helped Vali's star to rise through their golden treasure of a book, Night Flower, to meet and talk with ANohni at her exhibition Paradise and discovered that she had been inspired by Vali for years. I was of course, over the moon to discover this and also learnt the valuable lesson - trust your intuition!

Being in a room full of people who were waiting to talk with her, ANohni was calm and gracious and I loved the way that she got to the heart of the conservation quickly - why talk about the mundane? This reminded me of Vali so much - oh the talks Vali and ANohni could have had! We talked about the potent and almost overwhelming energy that Vali's art had on anyone who dared to go deeper. She told me it was hard to pull himself away from her diaries whilst visiting Outre Gallery. When I had the diaries in my home, I couldn't sleep and when I did I dreamt about Vali. In the end I had to take them out of my house to have a rest from their spirit!  We also had a talk about the precious Swan.

ANohni too had her own fantastic tale of how Vali's spirit had reached out to her across the oceans. Four weeks ago she was walking along a street in New York when a piece of paper came twirling down the footpath towards her. It really caught her eye and she couldn't ignore it. She decided to pick up this piece of rubbish and when she opened it out to look at it, it was a Vali Myers poster. She instantly remembered her fascination with Vali from 20 years before and began searching on the internet to find out where she could find her artwork. What she found was that Night Flower was being birthed at that moment in Vali's hometown of Melbourne - the city she was travelling to in 2 weeks time to perform Swanlights.

MISO : Vali Myers is for Girls Like Us
MISO working on the mural for NGV

And as if that wasn't enough beauty for one night, whilst talking with ANohni we were joined by MISO, the artist Stanislava Pinchuk who created the incredible art-nouveau inspired work: 'Vali Myers is for Girls Like Us' that I fell in love with at the Night Flower exhibition. She had just arrived from working on a mural featuring Vali inside the National Gallery of Victoria. MISO is one of the most inspiring artists - you should have a look at her street artist and hand-made tattoos!  I love MISO's visions of Vali and purchased a print of her work as soon as I saw it. She managed to convey Vali's regal wildness, the tough queendom of Vali's spirit that she drew is very real and true. MISO told me that she felt she had missed out because she'd never met Vali in person and I told her that by working with Vali's spirit you come to know her just as well. Over the years I have seen this many many times - strange connections, dreams and messages that come to artists as they work with energy. MISO agreed that she had noticed many strange synchronicities whilst creating her visions of Vali.

I see it as no coincidence that ANohni is touring Australia as Vali's star is rising and that MISO is bringing Vali to life inside the NGV by drawing her image directly on its walls! Like a thief in the night, Vali Myers is appearing stroke by stroke inside the NGV!! This is the magic and mystery of Vali's spirit.  And in this year more than ever she is showing us that the spirit is eternal, immortal and can be inspirational kindling for anyone who takes the time to look deeper.

What a night, kindling for many fires to come. Love for the magical 3.

Photo: Joel Elskins, late 1960s Chelsea Hotel

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 

Do You See What I See - In the Eyes of Venus

lavandula:  frida gustavsson for british vogue
Frida Gustavsson for British Vogue via Sisterwolf

On Monday night we will experience the Full Moon Eclipse. The Moon is in fiery Sagittarius and just days away from the Venus Occultation when we will see Venus making a visible path across the Sun on 6th June. And so this week we will feel the mighty power of the Divine Feminine expressed through Venus, the Goddess of Beauty, Abundance and Love. Like a dancer, she will move across the face of the Sun unveiled, exposed and radiant. 

Astrologically there has been a lot of energy available to us in the last month to begin embracing our shadow, to bring all of the orphaned parts of ourselves into the light. When we do this we realise what we thought was unacceptable or unloveable is strangely beautiful. In these changing times we are being asked more and more: who are you and what is it that you truly want? To truly understand and feel the answer we must be able to look ourselves in the eye and see the incredible amount of potential and beauty that is innate, within us all, just waiting to be unleashed. Do not reject what is strange about yourself, but display it with love, this is your unique gift and this is what Venus can help us to see with our own eyes this week. 
Vali Myers diary inscription Paris, 1956   
www.valimyers.com
Someone who taught me more about true beauty and fearless love was Australian artist, Vali Myers. Here is a photograph and inscription from her earliest surviving diary written in Paris in 1956-57. I love that she dedicates this diary to herself, simply 'My Book'. These inspiring diaries and Vali's paintings will be published in September in an exquisite book called Night Flower by Outre Press. I have read Vali's diaries many times but each time I pick them up I find new inspiration, an invitation to fall in love with your own spirit. On the day that Vali's diaries arrived at my home 2 weeks ago, I took a walk to Williamstown Beach with my friend Sarah and this is what we found waiting on the shore. A faerie house! A beautiful silver mystery waiting on the threshold between the worlds of land and sea. One of Vali's gifts was to teach us to look beyond the mask, the mundane, the ordinary to see the spirit within. May you be inspired this week to see yourself with the eyes of Venus, to look deeply into the mirror and glimpse your spirit. Welcome this spirit like a beautiful creature emerging from the forest, a creature that has never been named or classified because there has never been another like it before. Be YOU! 
Wild Full Moon love to you all x

Faerie House found at Williamstown

Happy Birthday to the Wilde Vixen

Photograph of Vali taken by a very young Mary Ellen Mark in Positano.
www.valimyers.com
In our world, Australian artist Vali Myers would have turned 81 today - in her worlds she is eternally spiralling, diving, and dancing in a cosmos of energy as wild, ancient and mysterious as her beautiful self. Love to you Queen of Foxes, may your memory and visionary art keep inspiring us all. 

Wu man, Vali Myers
www.outregallery.com

Desert Fox, Vali Myers (prints available from Outre Gallery)
Moon Hare, Vali Myers

Vali and her owl Jonnie

Vali playing her gramophone on the beach, photo: Flame Schon

Self portrait with Foxy
Vali & I in Naples 2000