Andrew Jacobs is a writer for Stuck In The Past, a "90's hardcore webzine" dedicated to reviving (or, at least, blogging about) music that has since faded from the limelight. Recently, Jacobs had an interview with Sage Adderley, a self-made businesswoman, former tattoo artist, and mother. Feeling that this interview didn't quite fit in with his own webzine's theme, Jacobs suggested that the readers of this blog might find it interesting!
I'm of the opinion that women owning and running businesses is one of the many pinnacles of the feminist movement. As the owner and operator of Sweet Candy Distro since 2004, Sage Adderley is a fine addition to that lofty peak. Ms. Adderley is also a 13 year accomplished tattoo artist and she puts her extensive tattooing expertise to good use as the National Tattoo Art writer for Examiner.com. I hope that you enjoy this interview with this extraordinary woman. — Andrew Jacobs
Jacobs: When and why did you start doing zines?
Adderley: I made my first personal zine in 2004. At the time, I was taking creative writing courses at Kennesaw State University in Georgia and I thought it would be wonderful to create an indie publication featuring a variety of literary and visual arts. I began searching online for groups to post submission calls and I found a zine community. I was intrigued by some of the zine descriptions, so I ordered a zine from a writer in Florida. I popped a dollar and a stamp in the mail with a handwritten note requesting her zine. When the zine arrived, it was love at first sight.
J: Who were some of your influences when you first started doing zines?
A: My first zine was centered around my childhood, basically what it was like to grow up with heavily tattooed parents (one of them a tattoo artist) in the '80s and in the Bible Belt. I would have to say I was greatly influenced by my family and my mom's tattoo studio.
J: You own and operate Sweet Candy Distro. For those people reading this who don't know what a distro is, please provide a layperson's description.
A: A distro is a distributor of independent media. Some distros solely carry music, while others carry zines and often you'll find distros that carry a mixture of both. I carry a variety of items at Sweet Candy. The majority of items are zines, but I also stock CDs, DVDs, pins, handmade items, books, and magazines. My mission is to support zine writers and do-it-yourself creators by making their goods available to a wider audience. Some distros do mail order, I prefer to have my distro online but I do receive some mail orders.
J: Are paper zines and distros still viable in the digital/internet age? Why or why not?
A: Most definitely. There is something completely special and magical about paper zines that the internet would never be able to replicate. It's like comparing a book to an audiobook. It's two totally different experiences. For me, the beauty behind the zine is the process in which it was created, by hand!
J: You may have already answered this but just in case you didn't, because you come from the paper zine world, what are your views on digital only zines and the blogosphere in general?
A: I love reading blogs. I follow quite a few but I think there is a huge difference between a blog and a digital zine. I truly don't have an opinion about digital zines because I don't read them. I don't mean to sound like a jerk but digital zines just don't interest me.
J: You were a tattoo artist from the mid '90s until 2010. Do you recall doing very many Straight Edge, vegetarian and/or vegan tattoos during that time? If so, what sorts of those types of tattoos did you do?
A: I tattooed in a small, southern town so it was very rare to get people in the tattoo shop who lived these types of lifestyles. I'm not saying they weren't out there, I just never saw them getting tattooed during that time. I probably tattooed the triple X symbol a handful of times.
J: Was there anything that you refused to tattoo on people? If so, what and why?
A: No, I never felt like it was my place to judge what others wanted to get tattooed on their bodies but I think if someone had come in for a homophobic or racist themed tattoo, then I would have turned them down. Luckily, I never encountered anything of the sort.
J: If you don't mind me asking, why did you decide to stop tattooing?
A: I took a break from tattooing in 2009 when my son was born. I tattooed almost my entire pregnancy with him. It's tough to raise a family in this industry. The hours aren't 9-5, you know? My husband tattoos full time, so I decided to take a break to stay home with my son. I also have two daughters, my hands are pretty full. Whether it is a temporary or permanent break is yet to be determined.
Right now, I am having a blast writing about the tattoo industry and tattoo info articles. I had an interview published in Urban Ink Magazine and I am the National Tattoo Art writer for Examiner.com. It feels great to be able to offer guidance to tattoo clients through my writing. I receive quite a few emails from people who read my articles and ask for tattoo advice or opinions on tattoo artists and studios. I am still a part of the tattoo industry, just in a different way now.
J: Feel free to shamelessly plug any of your other endeavors here.
A: I'm looking forward to releasing my new issue of Tattooed Memoirs zine at the Portland Zine Symposium the weekend of August 5th. I'll be tabling Sweet Candy there! Locals should come out and say hello.