A TEENAGER with autism is putting on a new exhibition featuring art he makes using old scratch cards.

James Owen Thomas uses discarded scratch cards to make collages, painstakingly tearing, cutting or hole punching them before starting to piece them together again.

He gets many of the cards from local shops, which started saving them for him after finding out he used them for art.

The 18-year-old is displaying his work at Durham's World Heritage Site Visitor Centre throughout July.

He said: "“From an early age, I always preferred to see litter in bins rather than it spoiling the countryside, parks and seashore.

"I later realised how some of it can be recycled and this developed into a special interest exploring my own ideas in art."

James, who is from Yorkshire, is studying for an extended diploma in art and design at Bradford School of Art.

Among his inspirations are his family's three generations of miners and their story features in some of his work, which will be on display during the Durham Miners' Gala on Saturday, July 13.

James, who is also launching his own website, has been exhibiting his work since he was 15.

The‘Much More than Meets the Eye!’ exhibition opens today and runs until July 29.

The Visitor Centre is open daily from 9.30am to 5pm. Entry is free.

Jane Gibson, Durham World Heritage Site co-ordinator, said: “We are very pleased to see the return of James to exhibit at the WHS Visitor Centre. His first exhibition here was very well-received and we are excited to see how his talent has developed.

"It is amazing how something as disposable as scratch-cards can be turned into such beautiful works of art.”

For more information, contact James at art@jamesowenthomas.com