One artist that I've been thinking about a lot lately is Vali Myers. In many ways, I think she must have been the exact opposite of me; she seems like she was just completely fearless, and lived her life making choices that were shocking to most people. She spent years as a homeless ballet dancer in Paris, then several decades in a remote village in Italy, living with two men and countless animals, including her pet fox.
She tattooed her face.
She inspired, befriended and loved many famous artists, including Salvador Dali, Tennessee Williams, Patti Smith, and Mary Ellen Mark and Annie Liebovitz, who took this photo of her in 1974:
Her artwork is unique and passionate, and utterly painstaking: She used a technique similar to pointillism, creating beautiful works of art using tiny pinpricks of ink. It was an incredibly time consuming process, and could take months or years to complete. She herself, her animals, and her lovers were often the subject of her artwork.
She lived her life with joy, and fire. She was free.
She died after a short bout with cancer in 2003, back in Australia, where she'd been born.
"I've had 72 absolutely flaming years. It 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." ~ Vali Myers, 2003