Softcover, 58 pages
6x 9 in • 15.24 x 22.86 cm
Once Seen, the first book of paintings by novelist Percival Everett, is a meditation on race in America; in particular, on the horrific history of the lynching of black Americans. During his research for his latest novel, The Trees (Graywolf Press, 2021), Everett stumbled upon a 100-year-old issue of The Crisis, the magazine founded by W.E.B. DuBois for the NAACP in 1910.
It was a special issue focused on lynching and Everett knew he wanted to include it in his new book of paintings somehow. We ended up reproducing the issue in full, with his paintings—made 100 years later—juxtaposed against the pages of the magazine’s articles and ads from 1921. There is a cut-and-paste, ’zine-like quality to the project, an apt but disturbing metaphor—one we hope sparks new conversations about how much progress we have made as a country, but also how much we have regressed.
Once Seen was produced by Hat & Beard Press to accompany an exhibition of new paintings to be shown in Los Angeles at Show Gallery in West Hollywood in the fall of 2021.
Percival Everett is the author of more than 30 books of fiction and poetry. Among his titles are the novels Telephone, So Much Blue, Erasure, and Glyph. His latest novel is The Trees. He has been awarded Guggenheim and Creative Capital fellowships. He is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California.
The paintings in Once Seen serve as companions to Percival Everett’s novel The Trees. The works are mixed-media collages. He uses oil paints, watercolors, and photographs of his own paintings to create portraits of an American landscape that is ever-present but conveniently ignored.