“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Thomas Merton, a poet in the 20th century, wrote those memorable words. They remain true when you look at the story of Johnson Simon, an artist who has achieved great things despite being born with cerebral palsy.
Johnson graduated from IUPUI with his master’s degree on May 12th. The 28 year old loved art from a young age but didn’t know if the discipline would love him back.
As Johnson was painting during class one day his teacher praised the work. Johnson thought it was her way of being nice but she continued to pound the point home telling him that his art was amazing. Johnson took those words to heart and from that moment on nothing would stop him from making art his life.
When Johnson starts to perform his canvas magic, he doesn’t hold the brush in the traditional three-fingers fashion. Instead, four of his fingers wrap around the brush while his thumb is underneath, propping up the brush. But this is the exact thing that makes art beautiful. No matter how you start, the finished product is what people really want to see. Johnson’s art adds a sense of hope and sadness that you can feel with every detail on the canvas.
His grad proposal was called, “Step into our shoes.” It showed the struggles that different people face throughout life. These paintings are across Johnson’s art room, some laughing and joyful while others explain tales of turmoil and anguish. What they have in common is a look into Johnson’s mind and his message.
“A lot of us as a human beings, we all have our struggles,” Simon told fox59.com. “None of us are perfect, it’s not a perfect world.”
Johnson plans to open up an art gallery and become a teacher. The goal is to inspire others to work hard and chase their dreams. He still has some work to do before getting to that point, but Johnson is strong enough to overcome any obstacles.
“Never, Never give up,” Johnson says following the words of one of his mentors. These are words that everyone can live by.
Johnson has found himself through art and is a true inspiration. His portfolio can be found right here.