“If that’s outsider art then I never want to be indoors”: Guinevere Pencarrick interviews Perro Verlag’s Jo Cook

There isn’t a form on this planet that a renegade publishing house and a nut like me wouldn’t turn on its head, and The Interview is no exception. Ours started out as an image collage, and then we hacked up all our written/transcribed material and again used collage to reassemble it. Then all that became a script. But then we knocked it back into an interview. And so you’d never even know that it had ever been anything else.

Guinevere Pencarrick: Jo, you and I have done a lot of drawing together and you’ve brought a crazy number of artists in on joint projects. Perro Verlag is like a vast dinner table with people coming and going, talking and making art on interdimensional napkins. I can’t interview you as a single individual—what you do and who you are is so much bigger than the little tangle of being one person.

Jo Cook: The interview is definitely a difficult structure to get at what we do. For every book I’ve published there is a story, which means there are more than a hundred stories, many of them now out of print. Why talk about one rather than another? Each publication is important to me. I’m also an interviewee who has been paralyzed by direct questions her entire life! But the dinner table metaphor is a good one. That’s what Perro Verlag feels like to me, too. My partner Wesley Mulvin and I live on this island and friends come from the mainland to stay for a few days to work with the letterpress. After a day in the print shop, there are late nights sitting around the kitchen table where we plot new work or simply make plans to change the world. The collaborative process is the backbone of Perro Verlag.


Enjoy gems from Perro Verlag’s archives and read the whole of what Cook and Pencarrick have to say to each other about community-based art practices, exquisite corpses, and “the Holy/Sexy charge” of picking up a new book in The Capilano Review 3.28 (Winter 2016).

Jo Cook, Wesley Mulvin, Owen Plummer, and Terry Plummer, Exquisite Dino World Corp, 2007, collaborative drawings (22 pages), side-stapled, with red binding tape finish, 21.5 × 13.5 cm

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