Ava Mendoza (US)

Ava Mendoza
Ava Mendoza © Jonathan Forsythe for Monheim Triennale

Looking back on her involvement in the Prequel edition of the Monheim Triennale, New York based artist Ava Mendoza points out she feels like ‘this is half residency, half festival – because we have extra time together, and by this we artists are enabled to get to know each other better. It is such a luxury to have this extra time together.’

During her artist talk Ava recounts that classical guitar was her first high school love, but only when Blues music came into her teenage life she felt like ‘transitioning to writing my own music and this playing solo guitar in my own way happened.’

But Blues was not the only genre having a huge impact on the artistic genesis of Ava Mendoza, she owes Punk at least as much if not more. Especially SST Records, home of bands like Black Flag, Sonic Youth and hardcore guitarist extraordinaire Sylvia Juncosa, was of high importance.

Like many others, Ava struggled with the pandemic quite a bit. As a musician used to constantly record and perform with other musicians, she usually is practicing constantly new music – but there was always the outlet for the results of that work: the gigs! ‘So when I had none of that coming up and it was just down to me practicing what I want to practice, I thought: “What is the thing that I do want to work on if I don´t have all these situations coming up?” That was interesting, in terms of my own voice that I wanted to work on. I learned a lot about that during last year.’

On a rather positive note Ava used the off time to visit her folks in Los Angeles, both to help them and to escape New York. ‘I went there to go shopping for them and be the person that left the house basically because they are in their mid 70s’, she remembers. ‘Talking about feeling like a teenager – in this spare room, making room noises on the guitar … They must have thought: „What is she doing in there? Is she ever gonna make some money again? What´s up with this kid?’

Thank God after this period we have some perspective, now we are all able to make plans. Asked what she wishes for the Monheim Triennale 2022, Ava is coming back to her Prequel experience: ‘My vote would be to get in earlier and get to know each other and rehearse and at the end of the week we have performances.’

All quotes are from the Artist Talk with Thomas Venker as part of the 2021 Prequel issue.