AN INNOVATIVE artist who uses discarded scratchcards to create designs has won a prestigious award.

Bradford College student James Owen Thomas is making a name for himself making beautiful collages from what would otherwise be thrown away as litter.

His subjects range from well-known buildings to birds and animals. He also created striking pictures of racehorses and racegoers, after being commissioned by Pontefract Racecourse.

Earlier this year James, who suffers from autism, designed a logo for his home town of Pateley Bridge as part of its entry to the Britain in Bloom competition.

His eye-catching Pateley Bridge in Bloom logo, made from scratchcards, featured the town’s stone bridge over the River Nidd, with flowers on the bankside.

Pateley Bridge represented Yorkshire in the large village category of Britain in Bloom competition and won gold. To his delight James, who studies art and design in Bradford, bagged an individual Young Champion Award for his logo.

The ceremony took place at RHS Lindley Hall in London, with the awards being presented by Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE.

“Mine was the very last at end of a very exciting evening,” said James. “I felt so proud in the first place to be asked to create the artwork this year for my home town’s entry in the Britain in Bloom competition. I also really enjoyed being part of the group travelling by train to London.

“Seeing Pateley Bridge win a Gold Award for their entry was fantastic. Then when I received Young Champions Award later on, I could hardly contain my excitement.”

The judges singled out James ‘for his excellent work with recycled materials’, adding ‘a good future awaits him.’

Said James: “Winning this national award has been an incredible experience for me and many people have congratulated me. There have been lots of positive comments on social media.

“I don’t think that anyone from Bradford College knows about it yet but I hope my teachers will be pleased.”

Winning, he said, is an incentive to continue creating art from single-use materials that can be recycled into artwork. “I feel more positive because despite my own difficulties of having autism, that my art can give pleasure to others.”

He is going on to exhibit at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea from November 16 to January 5.