Mark is the son of Antonio “Tony” and Eunice Prieto—well-known and respected mid-century Bay Area ceramists who taught at Mills College, Oakland, California. Mark was raised with his three brothers in Faculty Village housing on Mills campus. He is a life-long clay artist who sat on his mother’s lap at her wheel and watched his father throw for endless hours. As a teen, he helped his dad load kilns, recycle clay and maintain a small Oakland house his dad used as a studio.
In 1968, Mark began his formal training at California College of Arts and Crafts with Viola Frey, making sure his wheel was next to hers. Prieto’s parents were best friends and colleagues with Nora Eccles. With her financial assistance, Mark attended the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 1970 where he studied ceramics with Wayne Higby, receiving his BFA in ceramics in 1972. He has also studied at the Greenwich House Pottery and the Art Students League in New York City. Prieto has taught at locations in Oakland and Portland, Oregon. He continues to work as a studio potter making both sculptural and functional pieces.