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Viggo Mortensen on The Social Power of Art and Staying Childlike To Be Creative

ViggoMortensen-AMFMFest“The function of artists is to keep people childlike in a positive way. To keep open to the world.”

Viggo Mortensen continues,

“Apart from traveling to different countries, to different communities, to different parts of your city, I think that art is one of the greatest anti-war and anti-poverty weapons.”

I found this quote on the Tumblr site Viggo Mortensen’s Art – there is also a Facebook page:

His quote comes from a video interview: “Viggo Mortensen Meets Alex Jones.”

Here is a clip – follow the link above to see the full interview on Youtube.

Viggo Mortensen on Being Childlike from Douglas Eby on Vimeo.

Mortensen has talked about his admiration for actor and photographer Dennis Hopper and his endless curiosity – certainly part of being childlike. See my earlier post Curiosity and Creativity for more perspectives.

[Photo: Mortensen with his Dennis Hopper Award from The AMFM Fest.]

What is the value of staying childlike?

Creativity researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi writes in his article “The Creative Personality: Ten paradoxical traits of the creative personality” (from his book Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention), he writes that “Creative people combine playfulness and discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility” and that “Creative people tend to be smart yet naive at the same time.”

A child mindset

Sherri Fisher also writes about this in her Positive Psychology News Daily article Nurturing Your Creative Mindset: “Do you ever wish you were more creative? New research has shown that adults can be primed to become more creative simply by being asked to think like children.”

Read more in post: Childlike creativity: Nurturing Your Creative Mindset By Cat Robson.

Like children, many creators have multiple creative interests, and may develop them as adults to be multitalented artists.

Viggo Mortensen is well-known as an actor, but his creative pursuits include painting, photography, poetry, music, plus spoken-word recordings. In 2002, he founded Perceval Press to publish works of his and other artists and authors.

The image is the cover of one of his photography books (on Coincidence of Memory.

One of my favorite quotes of his, about being a creative polymath or multitalented artist:

“Photography, painting or poetry – those are just extensions of me, how I perceive things, they are my way of communicating.”

– Quoted in my post: Multitalented Creative People.


Viggo Mortensen on The Social Power of Art and Staying Childlike To Be Creative

Douglas Eby

Douglas EbyDouglas Eby, MA/Psychology, is a writer and researcher on psychology and personal development related to creativity; creator of the , and author of books including [link to book site with excerpts.]
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APA Reference
Eby, D. (2013). Viggo Mortensen on The Social Power of Art and Staying Childlike To Be Creative. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 14, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 Jul 2013
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