The Ava Farber Project

Mick met Ava Farber in June of 2008. She had shown up in his recording studio on Vestry Street on the arm of a musician friend. Upon learning Ava was a singer, the musician had wrangled a first date by explaining he had just written a song “Ava” for his friend’s daughter, and wouldn’t it be neat if she sang on it? Little did they know, trained in classical and operatic singing, Ava had the voice of an angel, and a face that would launch a thousand photographs.

At 17, Ava came to New York City from Jonestown, Texas. She studied acting at Circle in the Square, and sang in church choirs. Ava began posing for a painter, Prudence Whittlesey, who asked Ava to act out alter-egos and made Ava a co-collaborator in the work, inviting her to chose poses and bring in props. The work was psychologically and creatively deep, working with sexual and psychic head spaces. Prudence’s goal was to get from the figurative to the abstract.

Ava got into working as a dominatrix after finding a Norwegian Madam in the yellow pages. The original plan had been to try and sell some of Prudence’s paintings for her "dungeon" establishment. The paintings didn't sell, but the encounter did create a new career path for Ava.  The madam saw Ava’s power and energy and offered to train her; among other things teaching her not to apologize every five minutes. One of the perks of Dom work is paid world travel. Ava met Tina Jane at a session in Hong Kong. “She walked in, a wild British, latex-clad whirlwind, and within ten minutes had offered to let me stay at her place for two weeks.”

All along Ava was doing music: cantoring at weddings, funerals and masses. In her 30’s Ava began performing in bands.  First was “Genes and Machines,” to which she brought her voice and musicianship, as well as her understanding of a need for theatrical structure. She designed costumes and developed set lists, which allowed a more narrative unfolding of the show. She now plays in “Netherlands”, a metal band, which tours frequently.

Throughout Ava’s career, as a singer, a performer, a stylist, and a model, she is working collaboratively in story telling.  She accesses emotionally and psychologically -psychically- informed space. Ava likes working with Mick because: “Mick meets you where you are.  He doesn’t impose his vision. You can be silly or somber or gross and you feel appreciated. He captures something of my intention that might not fit my physical state. I think this is why I look so different in each photo. Then, even when the intention is not ‘beautiful,’ he manages to produce an image that is beautiful.”

- Kat Hellman 2018