Spirit of Toughness award

G Shock and Dazed’s 'Spirit of Toughness' award recognises a young and emerging talent with an extraordinary life story. A £5,000 cash prize is given to someone who’s made an impact on society despite facing significant obstacles in life. John Costi is one of the ten nominees who have been shortlisted by Dazed & Confused

Artist John Costi found his calling while in prison, after problems at school spiralled and led to a jail sentence at the age of 19. While serving his time in Feltham Young Offenders Institution, Costi attended art classes and experimented with art therapy. This led to his first commission – six pieces as part of the Enhancing the Healing Environment team, for a newly refurbished health care wing in his prison.

Since leaving prison, John volunteers with the charity Art Against Knives, running graffiti projects for young people across London and giving talks about his experience and how he has turned this around to inspire young offenders. John also volunteers with the Prison Reform Trust and has presented at The King's Fund and spoken at the House of Lords with the Koestler Trust about restorative justice and sentence reform. Costi also enrolled in college after leaving prison, and he is now in his third year at Central Saint Martins.

Speaking about winning he says, 'I would put some money towards the building of the gallery I’m starting with friends. If there were any left I'd share it with my family to say thank you for all the support they’ve given me over the years.'

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