Friday, February 14, 2020

Artistry and kindness, featuring Viggo Mortensen

      Everyone wants to meet a celebrity, on some level, we're almost programmed by society to look up to and want to meet one on a daily basis (wither we realize it or not). We should remember, though, that celebs are just regular people with extraordinarily diff jobs. I've worked with, am friends with, or interacted with many celebs over the years, so when one does something so over the top, memorable and feel compelled to let the world know about their kindness. 

      Next to Aaron Eckheart, Viggo Mortensen is one of the nicest and most caring celebs I've ever met. I've been a huge fan of Viggo for year, I loved him in Disney's Hidalgo but of course everyone knows him as our favorite Dunedain chieftain, Aragorn II from the Lord of the rings franchise. My interest in him, (ok, crush on him) peaked during these films and I unprecedentedly learned more about him. 

    Normally, I don't like to pry into celebs lives unless I'm really curious but even though I don't go too deep into their business. I prefer to get to know someone the old fashioned way by talking to them. Nothing beats a great convo! So during the release of the Lord of the Rings trilogy I found out Viggo broke his leg riding the horse named "Bill" from said film and then later adopted him and a few other horses. Apparently he did the same thing while filming Hidalgo. I then learned Viggo has a horse ranch / animal farm down in Idaho where the horses from both films are housed. 

     Diving deeper, I learned about Viggo's artistic side after hearing him sing in the Return of the King movie. Turns out he's a quadruple threat in that he sings, paints, does photography and writes in his spare time. I also learned he, at that time, had one book published titled "Recent Forgeries". 

    Recent Forgeries is an exhibition catalog from his first solo art exhibition that focuses on a collection of some of Viggo's artwork, photography, poems and has a CD with his spoken words and songs. I liked what I saw of his artwork so I decided to purchase the book, which at that time, you could only do via his publishing company, Smart Art Press.

   Recent Forgeries was extremely hard to come by there was a warning that it would take a long time for me to receive the book once I ordered it. Time was nearing the 2.5 month mark of still no book when I receive an email stating that they apologize for the delay and I should be receiving my book shortly. They also stated the book is hard to come by so would I mind a gently used copy. I replied that I was fine with that, being an author myself I understand how small publishing companies can have issues when only 1 book is ordered instead of a lot of them. Things are different now a days but when you only need one book, it can be a pain. 

     Two weeks after I responded to Smart Art Press's letter I received my book in the mail and was completely shocked to find my book was autographed by Viggo's himself, had an apology from Viggo and the book was from Viggo's personal collection! As a writer. When your book gets published sometimes you are allowed to get a few copies just for yourself at no charge, other times, like when you are self published, you can order copies of your book as a special discounted rate. 
      Turns out Smart Art Press told Viggo about me purchasing his book and why it was taking so long. I hate to say it but I don't think this book at the time had a lot of traction until after Lord of the Rings trilogy was completed. So he offered one of his personal copies, he was very apologetic for the binding being ripped and he autographed it for me! I literally felt like I had just died and gone to Heaven! It was an extraordinarily kind gesture from him and speaks volumes for his character / personality.  

       So what did I think of the book? I love the photography and artwork. The poems were deep and meaningful. The forward was written by actor Dennis Hopper who wrote in length about Viggo's artistic accomplishments. The music part, some of the songs I truthfully didn't like. The melody was a little too slow and drawn out for me but overall I truly enjoyed it all. Since then, Viggo has gone on to produce tons of artistic books that can now be found in most book stores and online retailers like Amazon. 

      As much as I appreciate the ease of purchasing his book now, I'm so thankful this wasn't the case back then, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to obtain his autograph or personal copy! It's an item I will treasure forever and I can't thank Viggo or Smart Art Press enough for their kindness!  

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