Mark Pinto

Mark Pinto


artist statement

I am a 20 year Marine Corps veteran, helicopter pilot and veteran of the Gulf War. After retiring from the Marines in 2002, I joined the priesthood in a Japanese Buddhist order and served as a priest for over 8 years before retiring for medical reasons. Now, as a student veteran at SJSU, I am active on campus and off in advocating for veterans rights, and served as a board member for the Coming Home Project, a non-profit assisting transitioning veterans and their families.

Joes Come Home is a digital photo series created from my deep connection with the veteran’s returning from the current conflicts and highlighting the many struggles they face. I chose to use GI Joes to depict these scenarios, and the use of these dolls adds a dimension to my work. Dolls like the GI Joes acclimate children into a climate of war, making war comfortable and even exciting. But the story doesn’t end heroically in fact. And so I chose to continue the story; chose to tell the rest of the story using the same dolls. My work allows the viewer to engage the tough issues of veteran reintegration or to go deeper. Each image in the series is based on a statistic; as an example, Suicide Joe, today 18 veterans committed suicide. This is the rest of the story that I hope to highlight with my work.

what do you love about the MFA program at San Jose State University?

I love the photography program here at San Jose State. There is unlimited access to the enthusiastic professors and strong encouragement to cross into other media. There is also many opportunities to show work and receive incredible critiques. I have no art background, but was welcomed into the program based on two veteran's projects and my life experiences, I have gained so much from this experience. 

anticipated graduation date: Fall 2013


Mark Pinto, Drunk Jo



Mark Pinto, Homeless Joe



Mark Pinto, New PTSD Joe



Mark Pinto, Suicide Joe



Mark Pinto, TBI Joe