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LGBTQ+ Artist Julia Tant Shares Her Story with Queens Oak Care Home

Homes across the Excelcare family are honouring LGBTQ+ History Month by shining a light on the people in Excelcare homes that identify within the LGBTQ+ spectrum. One of these residents is Julia Tant, who lives at Queens Oak Care Home in Peckham.

Julia describes her life as “a series of happy accidents”, that all shaped her life into what it is.

She was the eldest of three girls and was brought up in Brixton. Her mum and dad worked full time, so she would often spend the summertime at her nans. She was a very chatty child and used to keep her grandmother up at night with all of her stories, so eventually her nan brought her a sketchbook and some pencils, in the hopes that this would keep Julia entertained. Although the book didn’t stop Julia chatting, she did love it, and describes it as the first “happy accident” that changed her life for the better.

During the summer, her nan would often visit the pub, and since Julia was living with her, Julia had to go too. However, at 7 years old, Julia wasn’t allowed inside the pub, so she would sit on the stoop with her sketchbook and draw. Her drawings started to catch the attention of passers-by, and after a while everyone knew Julia as the artist on the stairs. As they passed her, they would give her drawing requests, and Julia would happily sketch images for them all.

From then on, Julia knew that she wanted to be an artist, but unfortunately, she needed to prioritise working to earn a living. So instead, she got a job selling school uniform on Oxford Street.

Julia believes that this was “happy accident” number two, as she was soon selected to be the person that went round to the posh schools and measured the children for their uniform. As a result, she got to go around the UK and see cities she had never seen, as well as see for herself just how the rich live. This opened her eyes to a different way of living, and greatly inspired Julia’s art.