“Now is the time to take words from boring codex forms and put them everywhere.” Vivian Sming talks Latin American artists’ books with Alan Sobrino.
As part of her curatorial fellowship at Letterform Archive, Vivian Sming has been introducing us to innovative book artists and independent publishers. In this installment, she sits down with Alan Sobrino of Errant Press who distributes and publishes books by Latin American artists, often in bilingual editions. All the books shown here are now part of the Archive’s collection of visual language.
Vivian Sming: Can you introduce yourself and tell us what prompted you to start Errant Press?
Alan Sobrino: My name is Alan Sobrino. I’m from Mexico City originally, but I have lived the last 10 years in a city called Culiacán in Sinaloa, Mexico, one of the most violent cities in the world. It’s the hometown of a lot of drug dealers. While I was living there, I started working on Errant Press. I knew that what I was trying to make and what I was writing was never going to be published in the way I wanted them to. If you go to traditional publishing houses with ideas that are outside of the box, like putting some poems in matchbooks or like playing with the containers, well, obviously, they’re going to react. They liked the texts, but I got rejected all the time trying to put them together as a project. After a while, I decided to start doing it myself. My first books didn’t look like the ones I make now. They started as small projects for friends. I shared them with people who I knew would like them. They eventually started growing and becoming more popular between friends and zinesters in Mexico. I decided to create Errant Press as a gateway for putting all these works I was making already out there, and also to make a little bit of money to keep producing. Because I realized that without money, I couldn’t keep publishing my work. I thought Errant would be a good way to make some cash flow so I could keep producing.