I used the imperfect subjuntive - "'Es sorprendente lo lejos que viniera este artista en su carrera" Why gave you used the preterite? I've looked up the phrase Es sorprendente and it does say it will take the subjunctive as is an impersonal phrase.
Es sorprendente lo lejos que este artista llegó en su carrera
Freeform Writing Exercise C1
The subjunctive is not used here with "es sorprendente" needs "que" to trigger the subjunctive. This is a different structure although it looks very similar.
You can use the subjunctive if it says:
Es sorprendente que este artista llegara/llegase tan lejos en su carrera.
It's surprising that this artist got to so far in his career.
Here you have the correct structure that triggers it:
es + adjective + que
Impersonal statements followed by infinitive or subjunctive with que
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