Vali Myers

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Vali Myers (2 August 1930 – 12 February 2003) was an Australian artist who specialized in fine pen and ink drawings, born in Tincombe Street Canterbury, Sydney.

Vali was a flamboyant artist who divided her life between Australia, New York City, and a 14th century cottage in a valley near Il Porto (Positano), Italy. She was acquainted with Tennessee Williams, Salvador Dalí, Django Reinhardt, Jean Cocteau, and Jean Genet, among many others. Vali was the inspiration behind the character of Carol in Tennessee Williams' play Orpheus Descending.

Vali Myers was a huge inspiration to the young Patti Smith, whose walls were covered in pictures of and by Vali Myers. When they met in New York, Vali tattooed Patti with a lightning bolt on her knee cap. This was filmed by Sandra Dailey who also filmed the infamous piercing of Robert Mapplethorpe's nipple.[1]

On 18 January 2003 The Age newspaper printed an article about the artist's life. The article concluded with the following quote from Vali Myers: "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."

In 1949 at age 19 Vali travelled to Paris to pursue a dance career but found herself living on the streets of Saint-Germain-des-Pres Quarter on the Left Bank.

Vali died in Melbourne after a short battle with cancer at the age of 72.


  • Myers, Vali, 1930-2003 Drawings 1949-79 / Vali Myers. London : Open House, 1980 : ISBN 0-905664-25-6
  • Menichetti, Gianni Vali Myers Memoirs Fresno, CA : Golda Foundation, 2006 : ISBN 0-9785606-0-4


  • Vali, The Witch of Positano - 1965. A film by Sheldon Rochlin, co-Produced by George Plimpton. Winner, Documentary Film Category, 1965 Mannheim Film Festival. (Duration: 65 minutes)
  • The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda - 1968. Experimental film by Ira Cohen. (Duration: 22 minutes)
  • Vali: Death in Port Jackson Hotel - 1971. A film by Ed van der Elsken. Features Vali in her "savage paradise", Il Porto, the canyon near Positano where she created her artwork. (Duration: 36 minutes)
  • Patti and Vali - 1973. A short film/documentary by Sandra Dailey. The film shows Patti Smith having her knee cap tattooed by Vali, and also features an off screen commentary by Smith. (Duration: 30 minutes)
  • Vali: The Tightrope Dancer - 1989. A documentary by Australian film-maker Ruth Cullen. (Duration: 58 minutes)
  • Painted Lady - 2002. Ruth Cullen's follow up to The Tightrope Dancer, a documentary that follows Vali at her studio and with friends like Lee Fuhler. (Duration: 27 minutes)


  1. Patti Smith: A Biography (1997) by Nick Johnstone Omnibus Press, UK ISBN 0-7119-6193-X paperback

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