Stephanie Sailor

Stephanie Sailor

Stephanie Sailor, otherwise known as: Stephanie Kennedy Sailor, Stephanie "Vs. The Machine" Sailor, Lady Cyborg, Stephanie Jayne Sailor, or simply "S2," is an American artist, designer, entrepreneur, firearms instructor, marketing/public relations specialist, writer, and former athlete, model, and musician. She was also an "anti-politician" -- a three-time candidate for U.S. Congress, running cyber campaigns on budgets of $0.

Family history

Stephanie Sailor was born in Idaho, 1973. Her father served in the U.S. Navy, working on nuclear submarines. In the late 1970's, he left the military to focus upon nuclear engineering, specifically, nuclear power. He eventually became a nuclear reactor licensing instructor, strictly adhering to U.S. Department of Energy regulations, certifying -- or failing -- potential operators of nuclear reactors.

Stephanie Sailor's mother initially wanted to become a Roman Catholic nun and, at the age of 14, she attended Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, [ Immaculate Heart of Mary Province] , in Mishawaka, Indiana. Sailor's mother left the nunnery a year later. Stephanie Sailor's mother and father married on November 28, 1970.

Sailor's military family moved frequently. They lived in the West, Midwest, and East Coast of the U.S. After her parents separated in 1987, Stephanie independently managed many of the household responsibilities, and voluntarily took motherly watch over her younger brother. [ [ Northwestern Chronicle: Interview with Stephanie Sailor ] ] These experiences would later shape her libertarian viewpoints of self-sufficiency and independence.

Her parents eventually divorced in the late 1980's, remarrying new partners in 1990. Sailor has a brother, Jeff and sister, Rebecca, both of whom are writers. They have a stepbrother, Joe, who manages a ski resort, and stepsister, Allyson, who is an elementary school teacher.

Today, Sailor's mother and stepfather own a scuba diving business, specializing in shipwreck diving. Prior to this, her mother was a court advocate for domestic violence victims/survivors.

Currently, Sailor's father has retired from the nuclear industry and is an artist and avid bicyclist.

Early life

Stephanie Sailor was a quiet child, finding joy by escaping into a world of creativity. At five years old, Stephanie Sailor learned perspective drawing. During her elementary school years, she would go days without speaking in the classroom setting, symptomatic of [ selective mutism] . Years later, Sailor broke away from self-silence, eventually being named "Most Outspoken" by her graduating high school class. Speech/debate, art, human anatomy, and social studies became Sailor's favorite subjects. As a junior, her speech teacher arranged for her to formally debate teachers, in addition to students, during speech class.

Nearly 20 years before "being green" became trendy, during Sailor's high school years, she founded a Student Action committee which took on several projects, including organizing her city's first recycling program and planting over 300 trees to revitalize heavily-trafficked road areas. Sailor also launched an Amnesty International letter-writing group.

Sailor was selected from her junior high class to represent the [ Lakeshore Rotary Club] by attending "Girl's State", a week-long mock-government program held during the summer of 1990, hosted by the State of Michigan Rotary Club. Upon arriving to Girl's State, attendees were assigned to one of two parties: Nationalist or Federalist. Each party had particular platforms. Sailor disagreed with the involuntary assignment of a party and its platform. For the first time ever in Michigan Girl's State history, a third party -- The Liberty Party -- was created by a small group of independents, including Sailor. This experience would influence her later political work, when she opted to run as an independent candidate for U.S. Congress.


Sailor was a natural athlete, excelling in sports an at early age. She had unprecedented strength and flexibility. Little did Sailor know that she had Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a rare connective tissue disorder leading to joint hypermobility. In her younger years, the joint hypermobilities were an athletic asset, for her body could be pushed beyond normal limits. Though chronic pain started around age 12, it wasn't until decades afterwards that she was diagnosed with EDS. The delayed diagnosis, combined with multiple childhood injuries which rarely received adequate medical attention, would eventually lead to serious debilitating physical limitations later in her life.

During high school, Stephanie Sailor was a swimmer and played volleyball, known for her ambidextrous spiking abilities and off-the-charts jumping heights. Mobility issues started to affect her in junior high school, so she opted to focus on non-running events in track, excelling in high jump, discus, and shot put. She broke several high school field event records ["The Herald Palladium", Benton Harbor-St. Joseph, Michigan, Sunday, May 19, 1991, pg. 6D] and competed in the 1991 Michigan State Track & Field Finals. [Michigan High School Athletic Association, 1991 Track and Field Finals, Grand Rapids, Michigan, June 1, 1991] At her former high school, Stephanie Sailor still holds the female bench press record of 175 pounds.

Sailor was a dedicated bicyclist. In July 1989, she joined her father's cycling team from D.C. Cook Nuclear Plant ["D.C. Cook Nuclear Plant Newsletter", September/October 1989, page 4.] , participating in RAGBRAI, a nearly 500 mile bike ride across the state of Iowa.

Sailor spent a partial semester as a member of her college track team, but left before the season ended, due to injuries. It was on the track team where she first met UK runner Clive Bonelle, the only college athlete at their university who was also an art student, other than Sailor. Later, Sailor and Bonelle would collaborate on art projects.


;Early work:Sailor won an Idaho state award for a book she wrote in 1983. [The Post-Register, Idaho Falls, May 1, 1983, Section A-9.] The book stemmed from a story her older sister initially composed, indicative of Sailor's early exploration of appropriation. Stephanie Sailor expanded upon her sister's original concept, and included hand-drawn illustrations.

In 1984, Sailor joined forces with a schoolmate Alice Brown, to publish a magazine, "Kid Report," which they sold to fellow elementary school students. Sailor and her co-creator had access to Brown's father's photocopy machine, enabling mass publication. "Kid Report" magazine issues were humorous and tabloid-like, featuring photocopied cut-outs of students' heads from their class group portrait, which were then transposed upon celebrity bodies found in "Teen Beat" and other media, accompanied with outrageous commentaries by Sailor and Brown. The magazine was a hit. But their media venture hit a speed bump when a parent complained to school officials about the "inappropriate" content. The elementary school Principal banned the selling of "Kid Report" at school. Sailor and Brown continued to sell "Kid Report," standing one foot off campus grounds in the early mornings, until they heard the starting bell of the school day.

In 1987, Sailor won a Berrien County Michigan Bar Association Award for a competition themed "We The People." ["Law Day Speaker Praises High Court", The Herald-Palladium, pg. 3, May 5, 1987.] Of notable interest is that her general disdain for most lawyers would become evident in her [ 2002 campaign for U.S. Congress] . [ [ Stephanie Sailor vs. The Machine ] ]

;Later work:Sailor has collaborated with Creative Director Jim Courtright, copy writing for various ad campaigns. She also wrote and coded the content of all her Congressional websites (see below). Sailor's public relations writing background is summarized [ here] . She has a penchant for writing personal letters -- both critical and complimentary -- and maintains an expansive archive of letters sent to corporations, companies, politicians, and individuals. Perhaps her most notorious piece is " [ Rod Tries to Ban Guns, Vibrators] ", sent in 2000 to former Illinois Congressman (now Governor) Rod Blagojevich.


;Areas of interest:
Appropriation, found objects, happenings, installation art, and mixed media.

;College work:Stephanie Sailor's college work was prolific. Prior to graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Fine Art, she had participated in ten group exhibitions, and also showed her work in ten solo shows. Of those solo exhibits, two were censored by her university: "MILK - What a surprise!" and "The Gallery Within the Gallery".

;1995 Exhibit, "MILK - What a surprise!"MILK - What a surprise!" pushed appropriation and copyrighted photos to extreme limits. So did the content, which was literally, mixed "media" containing images of everyday advertising from magazine pages, everyday pages from erotica magazines, and everyday pages from a book. The "MILK - What a surprise!" series was professionally matted and framed by the artist herself, comprising of four pieces, each in triptych format. The juxtaposition of the images in "MILK - What a surprise!" was jarring to most any viewer, including the artist herself.

In one window of the matted work was an image of a milk-mustached celebrity (one of which was fully nude -- Kate Moss), followed by an erotic magazine image of a woman (most of whom were clothed) yet wearing their "milk mustaches" and in the third window of the triptych appeared a cold, black and white image from a book, exposing the brutality of commercial animal abuse, fueled by meat & dairy industries and big government USDA. Sailor took a punch at the preliminary stages Bozell ad agency's Got Milk? ad campaign, which would later run for years.

Within a few hours of the Sailor's installation of the exhibit, the Art School Dean ordered censorship of the exhibition, and, on September 27, 2005, barricades were placed in front of her work. This violation of The First Amendment lead to a [ uproar regarding free speech on campus] . [ [ Censorship at the Art School (The Michigan Review) ] ] [Artistic Freedom Under Attack Volume 4, People for the American Way, pg. 81, 1996]

In an [ October 16, 1995 review] written by B. Tubbs of "The Michigan Daily", it was stated, "Studying photographic images, Sailor breaks into something much broader than the visual quality of any two dimensional form: The ninth dimension of psychology." [ [ Beyond the censorship battle lies an intriguing work ] ]

With the increased foot traffic into the art school, and people lining up to view "MILK - What a surprise!" behind barricaded walls, Stephanie Sailor took control of her work, removing it several days before the scheduled close of the exhibit (unannounced to her instructor or any art school officials). Simultaneously, a local contemporary art gallery, The Alexa Lee Gallery, sought Stephanie Sailor and signed an exclusive contract to represent her -- much to the resentment of Sailor's fellow art school professors who had been turned away by the very same gallery.

In 1998, Sailor was approached by a Museum Director, requesting to purchase the "MILK - What a surprise!" pieces. Sailor declined, and kept the work in her possession. Today, the whereabouts of the "MILK - What a surprise!" series is unknown.

;1995 Attempted Exhibit, "The Gallery Within the Gallery"As a course obligation for Stephanie Sailor's Fall 1995 Contemporary Art studio class, students were required to create a work of installation art within the school. The only limitation on the assignments was that the installation must be no larger than 10'x10' floor space, located within the school.

Sailor viewed this as an opportunity to push the boundaries of installation art and public space. With the assistance of her then-boyfriend [ Ian Adams] and friend/rocker [ Greg Siemasz] (aka The Wolf -- future co-host of "Radio Fever" WKRK 97.1, Detroit), they erected a 10'x10' insta-gallery, made of wood and drywall, including preparations for a wheelchair-accessible door. Sailor planned to run extension cords from internal walls of the art building for suitable lighting, thus using the electricity she was paying for, for she was paying for her school.

Sailor had lined up weekly exhibitions for "The Gallery Within the Gallery", including not just her work but also other exhibits she'd curated, including a jurored competition. "The Gallery Within the Gallery" was located in The Street Gallery -- the same space in which "MILK - What a surprise!" had been censored. Adams, Siemasz, and Sailor assembled "The Gallery Within the Gallery" during a weekend, when the Art School was virtually empty.

The work was 75% complete when, the following Monday, the Art School Dean ordered Sailor a cease and desist of art completion, on the alleged grounds of "fire hazard dangers." Sailor offered to install a 2nd wheelchair-friendly door onto her work in progress, to make it more fire-safety compliant but the Dean demanded immediate removal of the nearly finished work of art.

Valuable time and money were lost in the process. However, not all was lost, for [ Ian Adams] and [ Greg Siemasz] were able to hold recording sessions for their band, The Direct Hits, in the men's bathroom on the first floor of the Art School in the wee hours of the morning while taking a break from assisting with installation of "The Gallery Within the Gallery".

;Later work: Sailor coined the phrase "art by proxy" -- an artistic medium in which the artist focuses upon directing the production of a creative work from afar. Her most recent example of this is a proxy piece titled "Low-Flow Toilet Blowup", which was held in Idaho, hundreds of miles away from Sailor, on April 27, 2008. [ This video illustrates the work by proxy] , and the website, [ Low Flow Toilet Blowup Awareness Project] , explains the concept. The work hints at Marcel Duchamp's Fountain, but takes toilet-as-art to a more explosive level.

;Other areas of interest:Sailor has an intense interest in human anatomy, and she maintains a vast collection of x-rays, CAT scans, MRIs, and other medical imagery of humans and animals. Sailor is fascinated with light and often integrates external imagery with internal, visceral, anatomical images. Sailor's 2-D work is often presented in a storyboard fashion, reminiscent of cartoon layouts or religious triptychs, revealing an orderly story to viewers, with the use of little or no words.


Under the authority of the Honorable Judge James Sexsmith, Stephanie Sailor and Ian Adams were married on July 18, 1996, at the Courthouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They drove away from the wedding in their 1968 Cadillac hearse. The couple initially met at a Halloween 1993 art school fund-raiser organized by Sailor, where Adams' band, The Luxurians, performed a set. Over the following years, Adams and Sailor collaborated on numerous creative and musical projects. Exactly 4 years after they married, on July 18, 2000, Adams and Sailor filed for divorce in Chicago. The breakup was peaceful; they shared voluntary joint custody of their dogchild until 2006, when Sailor agreed upon full parental dogchild custody rights to Ian Adams and his his wife, [ Sarah Palso] , whom he married in 2005. Sailor and Adams remain friends through today.


From 1996–1997, Stephanie Sailor and Ian Adams performed in the poppy punk duo The Popsickles. Adams played lead guitar (Rickenbacker 12 string), lead vocals, drum machine, and Echoplex. Sailor performed rudimentary guitar (Silvertone, Rickenbacker 12 string, Fender Stratocaster), Farfisa organ, and light vocals.

In addition to numerous original works, The Popsickles covered The Go-Betweens, including "People Say" and songs from The Clean, such as "Tally Ho", "Beatnick" and others.

"Funeral Party", written by Sailor, was a bittersweet yet melodically upbeat testament to the untimely death of her best friend from junior high school. The lyrics integrated Sailor’s recollections of the Catholic open-casket wake/viewing of her teen friend.

The Popsickels performed in Chicago and England. Ian Adams maintains the collection of The Popsickles' unreleased recordings.


Beginning in 1995, Sailor starting working as an apprentice to award-winning creative director [ Jim Courtright] . [ Stephanie Kennedy Sailor vs. Jesse Jackson, Jr ] ]

In 1999, she also began attending part-time Northwestern University courses in advertising, held at [ Leo Burnett Worldwide] -- a company known as an "icon agency that builds icon brands," creating "ideas that inspire enduring belief." At Burnett, she received intensive hands-on training from high-level creative directors. The ad classes weren't for the weak. If a student presented particularly paltry work at a class critique, sometimes a creative director would toss the "F" work onto the floor, urging the individual to go back to the drawing board.

"The best education I ever received was apprenticing to Jim Courtright, combined with being taught by creative directors at Leo Burnett," says Stephanie Kennedy Sailor.

Prior to her apprenticeship to Courtright and training at Burnett, Sailor acquired a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts by attending a few other colleges which shall remain unmentioned as the experience was hardly an "education."


Leonardo DaVinci, Jim Henson, Jeff Koons, Frida Kahlo, Marisol, Francis Bacon, Damien Hirst, Piet Mondrian, [ Donna Ferrato] , Marcel Duchamp, Scott McCloud.

;Bands/musiciansTraditional steel guitar (lap, console, pedal), especially that of Hawaiian music and yesteryear performers such as Maddox Brothers & Rose, Hank Williams, Sr., Speedy West & Jimmy Bryant.

Instrumental music, especially surf greats including The Astronauts, [ The Shadows] ('60s British), The Ventures, Dick Dale.

Others: [ Luna] , [ Dean & Brita] , [ The Submarine Races] , Link Wray, Janis Martin, Wanda Jackson, Bo Diddley, Gary Numan / Tubeway Army, Velvet Underground, The Go-Betweens, The Clean, and Detroit garage rock, including [ The Hentchmen] and White Stripes.

Crispin Hellion Glover, Bruce Schneier, Henry David Thoreau, Nadine Strossen, Jim Goad, Doug Casey, Eminem, Frederic Bastiat, Wendy McElroy, Reason Magazine, Michael Crichton (in particular "Next" and "Terminal Man").


[ Bill Clinton, and wife, Hillary Clinton, and all the criminals they released from prison, days -- hours -- minutes -- prior to the President's exit from elected office] , as documented by author Barbara Olson ["The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House", Barbara Olson, Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2001] . Also: [ Jesse Jackson, Jr.] , Jesse Jackson, Sr., Chicago Mayor Daley. All the Kennedys, especially [ Ted Kennedy, reckless driver / killer on the loose / Senator.] [ [ Stephanie Kennedy Sailor vs. Jesse Jackson, Jr ] ] .

Firearms work

Stephanie Sailor has been a [ certified firearms instructor] since 2000 and has taught scores of women and men basic hand gun safety and firearms usage. "Despite her fervent support of firearms for self-defense, she has never been a member of the NRA." Stephanie Sailor partnered with Megan McClellan in the Spring of 2000 to co-found the Chicago Second Amendment Sisters.

Sailor's evolution in becoming a gun rights activist was detailed in a May 2005 article, [A Million Moms for Muggers,, 5/13/00,] written by [ J.D. Tuccille] , titled [ A Million Moms for Muggers] . In Sailor's 2002 run for U.S. Congress against anti-gun incumbent Jan Shakowsky, Stephanie Sailor's insights about firearms and self-defense were [ further clarified] via her campaign website. [ [ Stephanie Sailor vs. The Machine ] ]

Sailor has also served as a Range Safety Officer for [ Boomershoot] , an annual guns and explosives event held in North Central Idaho. [Newsweek, May 20, 2002,] In 2005, NBC Seattle shot [ video coverage] of Boomershoot, capturing Stephanie Sailor detonating the old laptop she used for running her 2004 cyber campaign for U.S. Congress against Jesse Jackson, Jr.

Political Campaigns

Stephanie Sailor ran for U.S. Congress in the state of Illinois in 2000, 2002, and 2004 as an Independent candidate. She vowed to spend only her creativity and none of her money on all three campaigns. "Sailor even refused to spend any money on becoming a dues-paying member of her party."

In 2000, Sailor ran against Democrat Louis Gutierrez, and she garnered 11,476 votes. [ [ The 2000 Election ] ]

In 2002, Stephanie Sailor took on the machine of Democratic Jan Shakowsky with her name appearing on the ballot as " [ STEPHANIE "VS. THE MACHINE" SAILOR] ". After her ballot nickname had been approved by the Illinois Board of Elections, it was illegally removed by Cook County clerk David Orr. A court battle ensued, and, days before the election, a judge ordered Orr to put Sailor's nickname back on the ballots. [Judge orders Cook County clerk to put nicknames back on ballots, Daily Herald, 10/23/02] [Candidates win ballot's name game, Chicago Tribune, 10/23/02] Sailor lost to Shakowsky [,_2002#Illinois] , and, shortly after the election, state officials rushed to pass a law banning nicknames from future ballots. Link to 2002 campaign website: [] . Sailor was endorsed by [ The Northwestern Chronicle] . ["Northwestern Chronicle", Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, 11/01/02]

In 2004, Stephanie took on the name "Stephanie Kennedy Sailor," challenging Jesse Jackson, Jr. (Link to campaign website: [] .) Jackson refused to debate Stephanie Kennedy Sailor. [ [ Stephanie Kennedy Sailor vs. Jesse Jackson, Jr ] ] Stephanie Kennedy Sailor's renegade cyber campaign on $0 was detailed in an [ article from The Daily Northwestern] . [Anti-machine candidate aims to end the dynasty by Troy Appel, "The Daily Northwestern", 10/22/04] The Chicago Reader newspaper released a front-page story about [ Stephanie Kennedy Sailor's unconventional campaign] . ["Could a Gun-Loving Libertarian With No Campaign Budget Beat Jesse Jackson Jr?" by Jeff Felshman, The Chicago Reader, 10/15/04]

Later life

Sailor was diagnosed with Ehler's Danlos Syndrome in 2006 and has been on hiatus since then.

[ The Stephanie Sailor Foundation] was established in 2008 to preserve the works of Stephanie Sailor, including her creative contributions to art, music, and other mediums.

External links

* [ The Stephanie Sailor Foundation]
* [ Stephanie] (Old portfolio of commercial creative work)
* [ Stephanie Kennedy Sailor vs. Jesse Jackson, Jr.] (2004 cyber campaign for US Congress)
* [ Stephanie "Vs. The Machine" Sailor vs. Democratic Queen Jan Schakowsky] (2002 cyber campaign for US Congress)
* [ Guns 101: Gun Basics for Beginners] (Certified firearms instructor)
* [ Boomershoot: Ready. Aim. Fire. Kaboom!] (Range assistant for pyrotechnical guns & explosives event in Idaho)
* [ Low-Flow Toilet Blowup Day] (Art-by-proxy project)


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