The Life of John Liggett Meigs

      “The new year brings new ideas and, of course, New Year’s resolutions. Are you planning to live healthier, helping more in the community or doing something you have always wanted to do? Most elderly people you ask will say they regret the things they didn’t do, not the things they did in their lives. Some achieved their dreams and wrote books. Here is an author you might want to include in your private library.
            “Never A Dull Moment: The Life of John Liggett Meigs by Mark S. Fuller captures the life of an extraordinary person. When I started reading the book, the first thought that crossed my mind was, how could this be true? I started my own research and yes, John Liggett Meigs’ life was indeed as fascinating as Fuller’s description of him.
            “Meigs’ life started out by being kidnapped by his father, never to see his mother again. He was a reporter in 1936 and worked in Hawaii, where he first encountered the world of art. He became one of the first original designers of the Hawaiian aloha shirts, creating more than 300 designs. Meigs encountered many famous people, including General Sam Houston’s last surviving daughter. He was the boyfriend—though admittedly only for a short time—to Porta Porter de Prieto, who was one of the first female bullfighters in the early 20th century.
            “The book continues with vivid descriptions of Meigs’ adventurous life and career in the U.S. Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor, such as when a friend pulls a stunt flying between chimneys of a U.S. destroyer, participating in combat operations in the Pacific, encountering a Japanese U-boat and, far away from home, receiving the news of his foster mother’s death. After Japan surrenders, Meigs immediately leaves the Navy to concentrate on his art. He meets artist Peter Hurd in Hawaii. That encounter brings Meigs to New Mexico, where he meets other artists, including painters Andrew Wyeth and Georgia O’Keeffe, poet Witter Bynner, oilman and cattleman Robert O. Anderson and actor Vincent Price.
            “Meigs settled in San Patricio after being invited by Hurd. They became lifelong friends. Meigs worked in a variety of mediums, starting with a mural that he worked on with Hurd in Texas. He also worked in oil, watercolor, ink and was an avid photographer. Meigs had more than 50 exhibitions in New Mexico, New York City, Texas and Hawaii. In November 1993, a decade before his death in August 2003, Meigs received The Governor’s Award for Excellence and Achievement in the Arts. In 1997, the Honolulu Academy of Arts hosted an exhibit of aloha shirts with Meigs designs from the late ‘30s and ‘40s. His art, including his aloha shirts, graphic designs and paintings, are in private, corporate and academic collections around the world.
            “Fuller manages to write in a fast and entertaining style, capturing the witty sense of humor of Meigs. He corrects some of the memories of Meigs with an accurate timeline that is backed up in depth in his notes with links in the back of the book, as well as comments from friends who were witnesses to Meigs’ life. This book is Fuller’s first biography, an account of the fascinating life of his deceased friend, Meigs, whom he met later in life. Fuller’s book was accepted in the Amon Carter Museum of American Art Research Library in July 2016 and the Adobe Gallery Art of the Southwest Indian in August 2016. This book is for anybody who is interested in history and it gives an insight into an era of revolutionary artists who changed the way we see the world.”
      —Christina Stock, Roswell Daily Record