Jozef, A 23-year-old who used the YMCA to help to turn his life around has been chosen as the Face of Stoke-on-Trent. Jozef Clark, of Hanley, was one of 3,550 people who submitted a picture for the free outdoor exhibition in the city centre. His face is the main, iconic image for the artwork, which is made up of photographs of people from across Stoke-on-Trent.
The People’s Picture – run by award-winning artist Helen Marshall – was commissioned to create the artwork as part of Stoke-on-Trent’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021.
In November 2018, a public Face of Stoke-on-Trent celebration event was held outside the artwork. Residents and visitors had the chance to speak to Jozef and some of the shortlisted ‘faces’, as well as Helen, photographers, representatives from B Arts, the SOTogether Social Impacts Group, and others involved in the project. A booklet with the featured ‘faces’ and their stories was also available at the event.
“When I was chosen to be The Face of Stoke-on-Trent I was overwhelmed with excitement! It couldn’t have come at a better time; it has allowed me to reflect on my life and to set new goals to better myself working with children, mental health and the YMCA. I have had so many moving messages on social media telling me about their stories – I can’t thank the people of Stoke enough for coming forward and sharing their outlook on mental health, I am so proud of my city!
I will never stop loving the home of my friends and my family, it is such a magical place if you put your hopes and dreams into it. Stoke-on-Trent will always be kind to you because it is a friendly warm place. I hope to carry on helping the city become the best it can be – it is full of so much potential and I am so happy to be in the middle of it all.
My long-term goal is to help people through their struggles with mental health and finally change people’s negative outlook on the subject.”