Making Room Artist Spotlight: Mario Pietrantoni

There are many brilliant artists at PARC, across disciplines and with varying levels of prolificity and publicity. Walking through the halls of PARC, you see paintings, drawings, sculptures and other installations by members, some of which have been facilitated by Making Room and others of which haven’t been. We’d like to start showing some of these artists’ work on our website as a part of an ongoing series of artist spotlights, and this is the first!

Mario Pietrantoni, as seen in the video above, is a celebrated writer and speaker living with bipolar disorder. Mario spent much of his young life not knowing how to read and write until choosing to enter into the East End Literacy Program in order to hold onto his career in security. Having excelled in the course, Mario began workshopping his poetry there and in 1990 published From the Heart, to great acclaim.

These days, Mario frequently speaks to groups struggling with mental health, disability, and other barriers. He is a staple at the PARC writing group and a friend to all at Making Room. Here are three poems of his spectacular catalogue to give you a sense of his work.

 

Collective souls

These hands were dealt
To look at the future
And in bracing those shared
The past your strength
Posses the inner voice you
Commands
To sail a new course of
uncharted
Watered no one know were to
Lead this passage to
Paradise as the message
Of the silence to share the
Magic transforming a new
Vision all these seeking
Happiness
The wisdom you have that is the joy
To carry the torch of enlighthment
All you see the vanishing point to a
Moment
Light a new angel shares a
World that you never seen
Before


Solarium

Sitting in this room full
Of strangers
Frozen ghost and we looking
To find a Way in this
Chemical fortress
Unknown minds to wonder
Between these walls system as
A role of salvation play the savoir
Shares the truth
These walls are walking dead
Falling in the cracks
Authorities are there to
Look for solution
The spirits is the holy
Book in one hand and the
Demon to redeem
Salvation
Taken by the Spirits
We’re In the unknown Looking
For freedom to rule the world of
Make believe plays to
Share Resurrection is a
Long way from home

(Solarium was written from the solarium of St. Mike’s psychiatric ward in 1977)

Happiness

Is a station that
That you work for
We ignore to grow up
When we are lost to change
You got to recognize where
The symptoms is insight
Are the wealth of the inner
Soul there so much to life
For we look at ways to
Learn how we can be
better people my history
is to get to better so I can
share my insight and hope
to share life and it
is time for me to share
Years of work is therapy
It took a life to get where I
Am it took years of work
And now I am giving back
A new life as evolved is
A surreal in a healthy life
I hope if you see my insight
To this light is to grow and
Life gives happiness

We are very grateful to Mario for sharing his work and insights with us, and for being a constant source of inspiration at PARC and in our workshops.

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