Amazing Dales 'scratch card' artist living with autism

Environmentally and socially-influenced talented young artist James Owen Thomas.
Environmentally and socially-influenced talented young artist James Owen Thomas.

A 17-year-old Dales artist with autism who painstakingly transforms discarded scratch cards into stunning collages is the focus of a new exhibition at Knaresborough.

And the talented young artist will be visiting Art in the Mill gallery on Sunday, September 30 from 2pm to 4pm for a 'Meet the Artist' session.

Motivated by the desire to tackle litter and waste, talented Pateley Bridge-based youngster James Owen Thomas currently has his own show called Much More Than Meets The Eye with more than 40 of his innovative and colourful pictures showing at Knaresborough’s contemporary gallery Art in the Mill.

James said: “I always hate to see litter on the ground or waste. Discarded scratch cards aren’t just an environmental problem, they represent people’s lost hopes.”

With five major exhibitions in the pipeline in the north, it’s amazing progress for a young man who spent his early years in special schools.

For a long time, this hard-working teenager, who has just started a degree in art and design at Bradford College, communicated by pictures rather than words.

Now he creates art that communicates with the world.

Although influenced by the Bloomsbury group, surrealism and David Hockney, James said his main aim with his mosaic-like art, which involves very little actual painting and only requires acrylic varnish to protect it, was socially-minded not career-motivated.

James, who volunteers at Fountain’s Abbey in his spare time, said: “I want my art to help others more than just helping me. I recently visited Harrogate Homeless Project and donated 50 of my new Christmas greetings cards.

“Pontefract Racecourse has also commissioned me to turn their race tickets and debris that usually end up as landfill into new art.”

The exhibition runs at Art in the Mill until October 19.

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