Why did you pursue writing?
I was reading zines in the early 90s at some point a light bulb went off and I realized “Hey, I can do this too!” The line between creator and consumer blurred and I started carrying a notebook everywhere and jotting down all my silly thoughts. Then I typed them up, cut up some images, glued it all together and took it to a photocopier. The finished result was my first zine: Fun in a Bucket. I’ve done over 50 zines since then. It sometimes feels not so much as something I pursue, as something that pursues me. Through writing and trading zines I’ve met some of the most amazing people and been able to travel share stories with people. Being part of that community has become really important to me and it all started with writing.
What inspired your book?
I had been making zines for the better part of a decade and I kept seeing all the same problems: images and words cut off the page because they didn’t take margins into consideration, people writing or drawing in pencil that didn’t show up well when photocopied, zines sent with no note so you don’t know why they sent it or if they expected a trade, and on and on. In 2002 I joked about making a zine about how to make zines. I gathered up all my notes on scraps of paper, did all the layout by hand and sent it to an actual printer, a big step after years of using pilfered photocopies! That was the first edition. A lot changed in zines and zine cultures in 13 year so that keeps me inspired to keep updating the book.
How long have you been publishing your work?
I made my first zine in 1995. The first edition of Stolen Sharpie Revolution came out in 2002.
What’s your writing environment like?
Wherever the muses are. Sometimes the back of a bus, on the sidewalk when an idea hits, or on a train crossing the country. That’s where it starts. The rest can be ironed out but if I miss the first beat I may lose it forever.
What projects are you currently working on?
I have a zine I’m slowly working on but not ready to talk about yet. As far as projects, I’m an organizer for the Portland Zine Symposium and I’ve also been looking at seed catalogs and dreaming of what I’ll do with my garden this year.
Alex Wrekk’s life revolves around making things; primarily zines, custom pinback buttons(badges), vegan food, travel plans, and space for a cat in her bed.
Alex Wrekk has lived in Portland, Oregon since 1999 and has been creating the zine Brainscan since 1997. Brainscan zine has grown and changed with Alex over the years with stories ranging from travel, reproductive health, love and loss, emotional abuse recovery, zine culture, and even fiction all wrapped up in text and photocopier art. She also wrote the book Stolen Sharpie Revolution: A DIY guide for zines and zine culture that is now entering its 5th edition.
When Alex isn't doing zine things she is doing other zine things like organizing the Portland Zine Symposium, establishing July as International Zine Month, commiserating with Zine Event Organizers around the world, updating the zine event listings on StolenSharpieRevolution.org, hosting the podcast Nobody Cares About Your Stupid Zine Podcast, fidgeting with her Risograph printer, reading from her zines out loud on zine tours or singing in a zine themed pop-punk band called The Copy Scams.
Alex has been making custom pinback buttons since 2000 under various business names. In 2012 Alex opened Portland Button Works and zine distro, an online and brick and mortar shop in Portland, Oregon selling zines and books and making custom buttons, bottle openers, and magnets in 4 different sizes. She also maintains an Etsy shop with the same name.
Stolen Sharpie Revolution Facebook https://www.facebook.com/stolensharpierevolution
Stolen Sharpie Revolution.org http://www.stolensharpierevolution.org
Portland Button Works Website www.portlandbuttonworks.com
Alex is giving away 5 print copies of Stolen Sharpie Revolution +
a Custom Stolen Sharpie with each one.