Ultra’s World

Portrait of Ultra Violet, posing in front of one of her paintings

Salvador Dali’s muse. One of Andy Warhol’s chosen ‘superstars’. Ultra Violet, now well into her seventies, still has a steely gaze and the considerable charisma that you might expect of her.

Ultra Violet poses for the photographer in front of her artwork

Ultra Violet, her artwork and a glorious hat

I took her portrait at the residence in Nice, France, where Ultra spends time (when not in her New York home). In one lounge, another photographer was already in place when I arrived, lost in concentration shooting her latest installation piece, ‘Self Portrait’. Tradesmen were rushing to and fro. Ultra was alone at the centre of it all, calm and industrious.

Her French home/workshop consists of 2 sprawling garden apartments that cross the top floor of a large belle epoque building. It wasn’t clear whether she had kept the interconnecting wall intact by absent-mindedness or design. But in any case she demonstrated more agility than I, springing out of one bedroom window and entering ‘next door’ by another bathroom window as she showed me around.

Portrait of Ultra Violet, in front of one of her canvases

Ultra, atop one of her many beds

Room upon room was chock-a-block with a jumble of works of her own art – some complete; some in progress- , installations, plants, books, furniture and all kinds of decorative objects. Including the 4ft high frog that made me jump by croaking loudly whenever I walked past. Many rooms contained a bed, all made-up with simple white sheets.

“I don’t have a bedroom. I sleep wherever I feel like sleeping at the time”.

> See Portrait portfolio

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