Paper Work by John Costi - Performance 2
Somerset House Studios resident

John Costi

Artist working across sculptures, installations, paintings and performance.

Somerset House Studios
New Wing

Born after a spiritual awakening during a 6-year sentence for armed robbery, Costi’s practice accesses inherited versions of ‘masculinity’ and criminal sub-culture. Through lived experience, he scrutinises class and the justice system to make sense of his past. Preserving real life to occupy art settings, the gallery acting as support group or showroom, experience and emotion are the charging forces. Social work is at the core; Costi also heads crime diversion groups in probations and prisons. He is interested in dismantling hierarchies of art experience, turning passive audiences into active participants. Often improvised and informed by chance, Costi creates sculptures, installations, paintings and performances. The fallout from maps of life as art, the trails of destruction, or fruitful adventure, all to keep a mission firmly in place. 

‘I make art to transport me, literally and metaphorically. Art has changed my surroundings externally, as well as my internal beliefs and blocks. It’s saved my life in doing so, providing me a golden ticket out of a past life, a privilege most do not have where I come from.’

John Costi