A Dundee University student has revealed how the heartache of losing her son to drug abuse pushed her to rediscover her passion for art.
June Barton, 62, lost son Ross eight years ago to a shock overdose when he was just 20.
The mature student had been languishing in a 9-5 office job for 30 years but the tragedy eventually led her to ditch that life.
Son’s death a ‘wake-up call’
Originally from Neilston, June went back to art and achieved an HNC in Art and Design at college and was then accepted at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design.
She said: “As a child my ambition was always to be an artist but instead of following my dream, I spent three decades working in office administration.
“Ross’ death was a wake-up call to me. I had been working for 30 years, commuting every day, but I realised I didn’t want that anymore. My life needed to change.
“That (going to art college) changed my life again and my outlook has been completely redefined.
“At first I couldn’t think about Ross when I was working, but now he influences a lot of my art. It is a form of therapy for me and I have found it to be a tremendous help.”
June’s talents will be on show in the inaugural Old Contemporaries exhibition which launches on Thursday and runs until Monday in Glasgow.
She is one of 22 emerging artists who will be displaying her work at a celebration of mature artists at the New Glasgow Society East on the city’s High Street.
It is designed to reinforce that mature students are creating artwork just as exciting, innovative, and relevant as their younger colleagues.
Fewer opportunities for mature artists
“We should all be equal in art – age should not be an issue,“ added June.
“However, it does appear that most opportunities during and after art school are for younger graduates.
“Some exhibitions, last year, looked exciting to me but were limited to those under the age of 30, or even 25, and that was incredibly disappointing.
“Old Contemporaries seeks to redress that balance and provide a platform for older artists. We may be older in body but our minds are equally creative.”