Press release

Young at art: how painting helped June overcome heartbreak

Published on 6 October 2022

A University of Dundee student has revealed how the loss of her son motivated her to rediscover her passion for art.

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June Barton is studying Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design having found solace in her hobby after her son, Ross, died of a drug overdose eight years ago. The 62-year-old is one of 22 emerging artists who will be displaying her work at a celebration of mature artists at the inaugural Old Contemporaries exhibition, which launches on Thursday 6 October.

Originally from Neilston, June currently lives in Dundee and says that the loss of her son prompted her to reassess her own life and channel her energy in to one of her lifelong passions.

“I have always loved art,” 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.

“I went back to art and achieved an HNC in Art and Design at college and was then accepted at DJCAD. That 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.”

There are 28 emerging artists exhibiting at Old Contemporaries, an exhibition to reinforce that mature student are creating artwork just as exciting, innovative, and relevant as their younger colleagues. A collaboration between DJCAD and the Glasgow School of Art, the exhibition will provide a valuable platform for emerging artists over the age of 35 through a display of visually impressive and thought provoking works of art.

“We should all be equal in art – age should not be an issue, “adds 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.”

Old Contemporaries takes place at the New Glasgow Society East, 279-281 High St, Glasgow. The exhibition will be open to the public from 10am-6pm between Friday and Tuesday 11 October. Entry is free.



Jonathan Watson

Senior Press Officer

+44 (0)1382 381489
Story category Events and exhibitions