Perpetua Press

Tish O'Connor and Dana Levy were equal partners in the creative endeavor of Perpetua Press, although their skill sets were very different and complementary, Tish as editor, Dana as designer. They learned from the collaborations with artists and scholars, writers and publishers who shared their knowledge and passion—as well as from each other.

Dana circled the globe, designing books for a decade in Tokyo, then for museums and publishers in New York, before returning to Southern California where he had earlier graduated from Art Center College of Design.

Tish was lured from New England, after graduating in the first class of women at Dartmouth College, to Paris, then returned to New York to launch a career in publishing. In the offices of George Braziller, she met Dana, who impressed her not only with his skills in book design but in photography, which was featured in his first two books, Bamboo and Water: A View from Japan.

Together they moved to Los Angeles, when Tish accepted a position managing the publications office at LACMA and developing its exhibition catalog for the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival. Tish chronicled her discovery of Los Angeles by writing two guides to its cultural life, commissioned by the Los Angeles Times and the J. Paul Getty Trust. Dana continued to explore Japan, organizing an exhibition of its early commercial graphics, Kanban: Shop Signs of Japan, and documenting its hot springs and public bathhouses in Furo: The Art of the Japanese Bath. Dana mastered the evolving technology of the computer age and enjoyed teaching book design and typography at UCLA Extension.

It takes two hands to clap, was the principle that guided Tish and Dana’s decision not to expand their business beyond their core partnership. This archive represents what they accomplished together as Perpetua Press, 1984–2016.


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