We’re starting the working week off with Sara Sutterlin, the Montreal based poet and editor of erotic fanzine Leste. Now onto its third issue, the riso mag features personal interviews with women about sex, intimacy, writing and art. Its contributors are those well known in the digital realms of Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram; they’re people you feel connected to, even if you’ve met in person.
How was your weekend?
A lot busier than I usually like it to be, but overall enjoyable.
Tell us about your journey to work.
Took the subway to work, listened to ‘Consideration’ (Rhianna) on repeat, been doing that for days now, even though the album’s been out forever there’s something about that one track I cannot get over. Traded in coffee for a giant multi vitamin I almost choked on.
Describe the state of your desk.
Messy and not functional at all. I do most of my work from bed. I use my desk for storage.
Which magazine do you first remember?
I love this question! I remember this Canadian teen magazine: Cool. The name itself is great, very bold. It was your usual fluffy, easy and let’s be real, condescending content aimed at teenage girls, but there was something about it, I don’t know, maybe I was just their exact target audience, but I was into it. They’d also give away little gifts with each issue, bracelets, stickers, etc., which I loved.
I believe it’s still in print today, which seems significant, especially for a french language magazine with limited readership. Another magazine that comes to mind is Filles D’aujourdhui, which in contrast to Cool was for a slightly older audience with more compelling articles. I loved both!
What magazine matters to you the most this morning?
I’d say I have pretty romantic feelings about Mousse. But that goes for every morning.
What poem matters to you the most this morning?
This one, by my favourite poet Aurelia Guo:
Told u I was using u
u dont come around
See Dick come
down into the ground
into the earth
where its dark
u groaned, hid yourself and didnt think
paupers like us
sees every structure as the ruin it will turn into
horrible truth being the future is a continuation of the past
What makes Leste different from other erotic titles around (like Baroness, Tissue and Odiseo)?
I’m a fan of those magazines, but I also started Leste in reaction to them. I think we are focused on transparency in a very new, important way.
We offer our contributors monetary compensation for their work as well as share our budget, our costs and our profits with them, in the hopes that this encourages artists and writers to be comfortable with demanding payment for their work and normalising the experience.
We are huge supporters of GET ARTISTS PAID, and believe what we’re doing is radical and crucial. We hope it inspires other magazines and publications to do the same.
A lot of your contributors have a strong Instagram presence. How does Leste use its Instagram feed to reflect the ideas behind the print mag?
The IG is an extension of the magazine and we want it to have the same feel; transparent, open, warm, and honest. It has taken off in a very interesting way, proving that the need for this kind of platform is real. We hand people the keys to the jeep and let them speak for themselves, which is our same philosophy with the magazine. The idea that there needs to be a space, a public space to exist online where there is no agenda pushing, no guidelines, no restrictions is important to us.
Pick a spread from the new issue and tell us what it says about your magazine.
Pages 52-53 are beautiful and I think it says a lot about our commitment to making a beautifully designed, rare object. Kevin Mccaughey is my long time creative partner, we’ve collaborated on different projects over the years and he is responsible for Leste’s iconic design. I love his idea of giving words full spreads, like you would photos.
What are you finding most frustrating about your work this week?
Miscommunications. Movement, traveling. I wish everything could be done from home.
What’s going to be the highlight of this week for you?
Finally being able to issue out payments to contributors for issue three!
What will you be doing after this chat?
Going back to the hell that is my email inbox…