Viggo Mortensen’s drive to express himself in a variety of media has resulted in a volume of surprisingly good work. A photographer since his teen years, he took up painting more recently. Many of his pieces are almost collages of painted canvas with fragments of photographs and poems. Often his photographs are manipulated, scratched and written on as well.
I was stunned when I first listened to Viggo’s poems and music. They were completely unexpected, and I’ve found that the more I listen to them the more they grow on me. Many of his poems are gems when read on the book page. But when Viggo reads them in his low, husky voice, often with musical background or sung to simple melodies, it generates an emotional charge that seems to drill the words directly into my soul. Is this fine art? An actor’s craft? I just know that I like it. I’ve included some audio clips here so that you can judge for yourself. Don’t miss “Angeleno.” I laugh out loud whenever I listen to it.
For Viggo’s paintings and books I recommend going to the Perceval Press web site (see bottom of this page) and browsing their selection. I can personally recommend Coincidence of Memory and Recent Forgeries and am saving my pennies for Sign Language and Miyelo. Several of the Viggo Mortensen fan sites listed on the Viggo links page have quite a few online samples of Viggo’s work.