Publisher Thriving at the Intersections
Lisa Pearson ’93 Works Where Art and Literature Meet
by Nicky Tiso ’10
Lisa Pearson ’93 runs Siglio Press, a fast growing Los Angeles-based publishing house dedicated, in the words of its founder, “to publishing uncommon books that live at the intersections of art and literature.”
As an Evergreen student, Pearson focused on feminist and literary studies through a series of independent learning contracts. The social science-artistic hybrid she developed as a student formed the basis of the Siglio Press niche. In a description that could have come from the Evergreen course catalogue, Siglio’s web site states:
“Siglio books defy categorization and ignite conversation: they are cross-disciplinary, hybrid works that subvert paradigms, reveal unexpected connections, rethink narrative forms, and thoroughly engage a reader’s imagination and intellect.”
Pearson began to shape her vision, at age 14, of “a space in which different kinds of artists, writers, and thinkers come together,” she said. “I always thought it’d be a physical space with a cool little café, but that’s just not cost effective.” Yielding to reality, Siglio is run out of a capacious, studio-like garage.
A hallmark of a Siglio book is the synthesis of aesthetics and content, making it not just a good read, but a good experience, a feast for the senses. Her ability to visualize and manifest interdependence adds an aura of intimacy and wholeness to each work.
Pearson manages every aspect of the press, from design to distribution. She is currently working on a new anthology of “image+text” work by women artists and writers such as Eleanor Antin, Louise Bourgeois, Theresa Cha and Alison Knowles, and two dozen more writers who may be, in Pearson’s estimation, highly revered, supremely under-appreciated, or virtually unknown.
“It will be a massive, 350-page book,” she explained. “It creates space for each artist’s work to truly live on the page.”
As a publisher, Pearson is driven and directed. Her books are entertaining and culturally important. Her professional ethic speaks to generosity and collaboration. “Any creative, independent enterprise is about relationships,” Pearson said. “In my case between the press, the author, the book stores, libraries, or media bringing the book to the public, and the people who actually read the book. That’s why you’re never really independent. When you say you’re independent what you mean is interdependent.”