Brain tumor survivor and artist, John D. Shearer, to exhibit at Ivy Tech Waldron in June

May 14, 2012

Brain tumor survivor and artist, John D. Shearer, to exhibit at Ivy Tech Waldron in June

John D. Shearer, photographer and artist, will display his multi-media exhibit “I’m Too Young For This @#!%” during the month of June at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center. The opening reception is Friday, June 1 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and is free and open to the public.

“John’s defiant optimism shines in every frame, and his audio and video are an unusually powerful mix of journalism and artistic expression,” said Julie Roberts, gallery director at the Ivy Tech Waldron. “His still portraits are especially beautiful.”

Shearer was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor at age 28, and two days later, had surgery that left him blind and paralyzed on the left side of his body. He took one semester off from his graduate studies while recovering, and returned during rehabilitation and treatment to complete his Master of Fine Arts degree in photography at Indiana State University.

“The work I created during treatment is probably the most honest that I have ever made – it feels good to be open about the experience,” he said. “This work helps me to remember where I was, and how far I’ve come since it all began.”

Shearer turned his clinical experiences and brain scans into art. “I’m Too Young For This @#!%” includes photography, mixed media, an audio project that chronicles a year’s worth of voicemails, and a video.

“I hope it will serve as an example for other young adult survivors of what is possible – that life after cancer can still be good,” he said. “In fact, it can be more meaningful than ever.”

He and his fiancée, Amanda Billings, are expecting their first child, a son, in late-May.

Shearer is adjunct faculty at Ivy Tech Community College, where he was also a student before earning his Bachelor’s degree. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in photojournalism and telecommunications from Ball State University in 2003, and completed his Master of Fine Arts degree in photography at ISU in 2011. His rock and commercial photographs have been published in numerous regional and national publications, including Business Week, Paste Magazine, Rolling Stone, Spin, and Teen People among others. Some of his commercial clients include Best Western and Clear Channel Entertainment.

For more information about the exhibit and June opening reception, contact Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center at 330-4400 or log on

The exhibit is also listed at the Brain Extravaganza! website under upcoming events at

Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students annually. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.


Opening Reception

Friday, June 1 from 5-8 pm

John D. Shearer:  I’m Too Young For This @#!%

Photographer and artist John D. Shearer had it all—his rock photos published in Rolling Stone, the love of his life ready to marry him—when a brain tumor left him legally blind and paralyzed.  Undaunted, Shearer turned his eye inward, creating powerful art about his cancer.  From brain scans to video to a year’s worth of voicemails, Shearer transformed cancer’s raw materials into a multi-media exhibit that earned him an MFA while he was still undergoing treatment and rehabilitation.