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IUPUI student with cerebral palsy follows dream, graduates with master’s in art

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.--  A student at IUPUI isn't going to let cerebral palsy keep him from following his dreams.

Next weekend, Johnson Simon will graduate from IUPUI with a master's degree in painting.

Johnson Simon, Herron School of Art and Design

“It’s been a journey, it’s been an amazing journey," said Simon. "It’s been up and down."

The 28-year-old just completed his graduate thesis, 'Step Into Our Shoes.' The project showcases paintings he created that show the various struggles people face on a daily basis.

Johnson Simon's 'Step into Our Shoes' exhibit

Drinking Spasm, Johnson Simon

“A lot of us as a human beings, we all have our struggles," said Simon. "None of us are perfect, it’s not a perfect world. You can hide them, some of them are visible, some of them are not visible."

Victoire, Johnson Simon

Enclosed within a space, Johnson Simon

Simon discovered his love for art at an early age, when his art teacher made him aware of his talent.

“I did one of my first paintings and my art teacher was like, 'Johnson, this is good.' I’m like, 'yea, yea, yea.' She’s like, 'no, no Johnson! This is amazing.'”

Art by Johnson Simon

Simon wants to open his own gallery and become an art professor to inspire and encourage young adults.

Art by Johnson Simon

He will celebrate his accomplishments next Saturday at IUPUI's commencement and is currently on the job hunt.

“If you have a dream, go for it. One of my favorite quotes that my mentors always told me, 'never, never give up.'”

Johnson Simon

If you'd like to see Simon's artwork in person, click here.

To learn more about Simon, click here.

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