New York 1970 - 1992
A good fox always knows to hunt far from the burrow.
In 1970, Vali travelled to New York to start concentrating on selling her work for the first time. Flat-broke, she was, nevertheless, reluctant to sell her work for anything less than it was worth. Painstakingly produced by gaslight, each drawing took anything from 6 months to 2 years to complete. Vali's first supporter in New York was Abbie Hoffman who introduced her to the Chelsea Hotel and it's inhabitants. Andy Warhol suggested Vali print reproductions of her work to sell to enthusiasts. It was also at the Chelsea that Vali met a young Patti Smith. Vali's warpaint had taken on a permanence with intricate facial tattoos and Patti asked Vali to tattoo her knee with a tiny little lightning bolt in 'tribute to Crazy Horse'.
Salvador Dali praised the quality of Vali's drawings and urged her to start exhibiting formally. He recommended that Vali show her work in Holland and in 1972 Vali held the first of many exhibitions there. George Plimpton published a second study of Vali's drawings in #64 of The Paris Review in 1975 and in 1980 he wrote the introduction to her now much sought-after, self-titled book. The book combines Vali's work from 1949-1979, personal photographs and especially written captions for each drawing in her fabulous calligraphy.
In 1989, Australian filmmaker, Ruth Cullen, released her beautiful film on Vali Myers, 'The Tightrope Dancer'. The film perfectly captures Vali's double life of an almost hermitic, rural existence in Il Porto and her mad, lightning 'Viking trips' to New York to sell her work. In the film, Vali talks of her plans to return to Australia and in 1993, she finally made the trip - after an absence of 43 years: