Art Dispatch: Tony Perniciaro, The Bricklayer

The full art dispatch with artwork appears in the April 2014, issue of the PULP. 

Art is as much about the art as it is the story of the artist. 

If the artist is still alive, then maybe he explains his story to the rest of the world. 

This is the art of Tony Perniciaro. His story is unknown. And that’s why his story is fascinating to us. 

The man, son of Sicilian immigrants, would grind his way through life as a bricklayer. Having grown up during the depression, living in a basement in Queens during the 1960’s — he found poetry shortly after. With no formal education, possibly only a high school certification, all his art and poetry was self-taught. 

His craft started when he “needed to put wheels” on his poetry. In the 1970s after being asked to leave New York by the Unions because he worked with his wife, he moved to Pueblo, Colorado. 

He would continue to write poetry and paint until he was unable to paint before his death in 2004. 

The story of Tony Perniciaro is a complicated one. Parts troublemaker, bricklayer, and equal-opportunist bricklayer mixed in with painter, poet and pianist. His poetry and art is simple and childish, yet in March of 2014 a Pulitizer Prize winning poet, Charles Simic, quotes one of Tony’s poems in a New York Times article. Who was Tony Perniciaro?

Video sculpture/documentary of Tony Perniciaro, primitive artist, poet and author of the book, TONY THE BRICKLAYER.

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