Johnson Simon: Stutz Artist in Residency

The Stutz Artists Association is having their annual Open House this weekend. Creatives and art lovers are invited to see over 70 studios filled with unique artwork from Indy makers, crafters, and artists. Located at 212 W. 10th Street, The Stutz provides not only studio spaces but also a residency program.

The Stutz Residency Program began in 1997 to give free studio space to two up and coming artists. Several past residency program artists have gone on to do great things and Johnson Simon hopes to do the same.

Artist and painter Johnson Simon moved to Indiana in the fall of 2015 to attend grad school at Indiana University. Originally from Grand Turk Island, Simon moved to Palm Beach Florida with his family when he was just five years old. It wasn’t until he was seven and in physical therapy that he discovered his artistic talent.

Years later in college, Simon enrolled in an independent study where he attended classes in the dance department to watch and sketch dancers in action. He translates the dancer’s movements to his canvas by using sweeping motions with a paint brush.

“I had an out-of-body experience. I was expressing their movement through my artwork,” Simon says. “In my artistic work, I am able to move freely about without limitations. I use bright colors to represent the body movement through the surface.”

One thing to note about Simon is that he has cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects the body’s muscles and movement. Human movement and wanting to express that movement is what drives Simon. In fact, French painter Edgar Degas dancer paintings are some of Simon’s biggest inspirations.

“Art changed my whole life around,” Simon says. “It was a gift from God.”

Gifts are meant to be held onto and Simon plans on holding on to his for as long as possible.

“I view my paintings as my own kids. You can’t have a perfect child. They are each unique and perfect in their own ways.”

Check out Simon’s work on his website, Facebook and Instagram. Be sure to check out the Stutz Open House! Tickets are $20 and children under 12 can get in for free and tickets can be used for both days.

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