In 2002, I started a small publishing company called Perceval Press with the help of Pilar Perez, a curator I'd previously worked with at the Santa Monica, California, gallery Track 16. The company's name came from the Arthurian legend in which Perceval and other knights arrive at the edge of a forest and decide each must make his own path through it. This approach, metaphorically speaking, seems to me a creative way to look at life. Before starting the business, Pilar and I asked author and publisher Dave Eggers if he had any advice for us. What we took from him—though his company, McSweeney's, is much bigger than ours—was the idea of being very hands-on and uncompromising in terms of content, design, and distribution.
Putting together books well can be a rewarding challenge. Everyone at Perceval—from our designer, Michele Perez, and Sandra Fu, who took over for Pilar, to my brother Walter Mortensen and myself— has found satisfaction in helping create publications tailored to individual authors and artists. We make sure they're happy with every aspect of the finished work: editing, font, layout, type of paper, images, etc. Writers are often pleasantly surprised that they have so much say. I tell them, "You're not likely to get rich— to be honest, your book may not make a profit for quite a while. But I can promise it'll be a book made as close to the way you have envisioned it as possible, well designed and produced." It's satisfying to be able to provide that service to artists whose efforts might not otherwise be presented in quite the manner they would like, if at all. Viggo Mortensen's book
I Forget You for Ever is available at PercevalPress.com.
What's on Viggo Mortensen's Bookshelf? Read more!