• Class of 2017: Sage Adams


    With eyes ahead to the new year, we brought together the fresh new faces that are challenging the status quo. Artists, activists, and musicians, our Class of 2017 is forging the path ahead with hope and optimism.

    Sage Adams can’t seem to settle. The 19-year-old creative and activist curates writing and poetry for Art Hoe Collective, makes art across mediums, writes for publications like Fader and Nylon, and dabbles in creative management, but still can’t decide what they want to do with their life. With a list of accomplishments like that, maybe that’s a good thing? 

    Age: 19
    Occupation: Artist, Curator, Activist 
    Sign: Pisces, Aquarius Cusp
    Senior Superlative: Most Likely to Not Know What They're Doing in the Next Two Weeks

    Photo by Logan Jackson

    Who is Sage Adams? 
    Sage Adams is a person who is trying to figure out what they're doing for the next year, or just trying to figure out what to do post dropping out of college. I'm doing some management of creative stuff now, which is really exciting, so I guess Sage Adams is a creative in the loosest sense of the term. 

    You do some writing as well, correct? 
    Yeah, I did some writing for Fader, for Princess Nokia, Destiny Frasqueri. She's really cool. I like to do occasional writing stuff because it's part of my first love. That's how I got into stuff on the internet, just writing different things, and I got to do an interview with Cherry Glazerr for Nylon that was pretty cool. So I've been doing a few more interview things in terms of writing and doing blurbs and stuff.

    You’re a curator for Art Hoe Collective. To you, what are the goals of the Collective? 
    The goal of the Art Hoe Collective is to represent marginalized artists and connect them with the tools to make their passion their profession. I curate the writing and poetry and I also do a lot of the project-based things. 


    When did you first realize that you were a creative person? 
    After I realized I didn't want to limit myself to just being an artist. I was painting for the last three months as my senior project and I really got into it and I really liked it but I realized that I have ability to touch so many mediums and I like to think of myself as a creative more than an artist because I feel like artist puts yourself in a box, like a commodity box.

    Do you feel like you’ll ever settle on one thing? 
    I feel like I'll be forced to settle for one thing. I don't know if I'll actually settle though. I thought I was settling, a lot of times, to do just one thing and in a year or in a few months things change so much, you never really know. I just don't want to get stuck with anything.


    You’ve mentioned your accidental evolution into activism. When did you first feel like you’d found your voice? 
    In early high school I definitely found my voice. I definitely had it but I don't know if it was respected or validated until I got a little bit older and started doing more media-based stuff and then people all of a sudden wanted to listen to me. It's a little bit frustrating but at the same time it was an amazing thing to finally be able to be heard. I would definitely say leaving high school, that's when I got my footing and felt validated in using my voice.

    It was like you were articulating these sentiments, but you needed a platform? 
    I was using Facebook, pretty much, to talk about activism and race and making my personal political and then everyone on Facebook would always just shit on me. I had a lot of close-minded white friends and people around me that I thought were my friends. It turns out they didn't really respect my humanity in the same way I would expect someone to who was my friend so I moved off of Facebook and started posting on Instagram and kept up my Tumblr. My Tumblr was really big a few years ago so that bled into Instagram and then it all went crazy from there.

    Are there any artists, of any medium, that are on your radar who are making great work? 
    I always cite Kara Walker as an incredible role model for me. When I was doing my senior project in highschool, I was looking at her journals into making the sugar factory piece. I was looking at her little watercolors and notes and stuff, so I started to do that in my own time and it really helped me expand my knowledge and think of art as way more than just one thing. Her notes that accompanied the piece were so spot on and they were really articulate and detailed about where she wanted the boys placed and how she wanted the sugar blown on them. 

    In a lot of ways it showed what a creative director would do and what an art director would do but also what an artist would do to get a really full end product. I'm all about a content-filled end product that's actually worth something and meaningful so she blew my mind with that. That completely messed me up and had me in crazy head space for a while trying to figure out how I was going to incorporate it into my own life.

    Photo by Logan Jackson

    How do you use the platform you have now to encourage action and involvement by the people in our generation?
    Encouraging action via Instagram and stuff is looked down on for some reason, which is kind of weird to me because I think it's really cool to care about things. I think it's really cool to spread information, especially because a lot of the news sources we have now have prevented us from getting actual information due to the 24-hour news cycle. My friend Djali Cepeda is an amazing activist and artist and dancer and I re-post her stuff all the time. I feel like for Standing Rock and things like that it's really important that you go to someone who's genuinely affected by it. She's a native person, and an indigenous person and has huge roots in the indigenous community. I think the best way I can use my platform is giving a voice to those who need to be heard and speaking up when I need to speak. Just taking responsibility as someone who has a big platform.

    It’s also about giving them genuine physical space. Art Hoe worked with Djali after we posted some of her stuff to give her a physical space to manifest those words because that's really important to us.

    What do you hope for yourself in 2017? 
    I hope in 2017 that I become more decisive, I guess. I definitely need to work on that. 

    What do you hope for the world in 2017? 
    I hope the world becomes more decisive as well. I think we need to decide if the past four years are going to be a phase or if they're gonna be our future in terms of embracing gender and sexuality and people's differences. If that's going to be just something we look back on in 20 years and say "Oh! The 2000s, just like the eighties," or if it becomes our new world order, I think that would be really, really cool.



    Read more interviews with the Class of 2017
    Shop Class of 2017