Final Furlong

My work at Pontefract Races

I was asked by management at Pontefract Races to create four pieces of collage artwork for their marketing literature with a theme of recycling. I used their tickets and badges from previous race meetings.  I was delighted when the Racecourse wrote this press release:


Introducing James Owen Thomas

With the environment at the forefront of everyone’s mind, Pontefract Racecourse want to play their part in providing a sustainable future for generations to come and, in 2019, they are aiming to send 0% of their waste to landfill.

To supplement the waste management and recycling campaign, the Racecourse has commissioned a local artist, James Owen Thomas, to create 4 pieces of artwork. Each mosaic and collage is made ENTIRELY from old badges, tickets and leaflets from past racedays and created on recycled canvases.

These four pieces of stunning artwork will be displayed at the Racecourse throughout the 2019 season and recreations of these fantastic racing depictions have been used on the covers of each piece of marketing literature used to promote the season.  In keeping with this environmentally responsible approach, all of the marketing literature at the track has been printed on FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) paper. This ensures that the supply of the paper is from a replenished source and is environmentally friendly.

Using hole punched circles, cut strips or torn pieces pasted layer upon layer, James’ innovative and ground breaking artwork has achieved a huge amount of praise.

James Owen Thomas was born in 2001 and started creating art when he was just 14 years old using discarded scratchcards that he found around his home town of Pateley Bridge. Since then, he has honed his talents and has increased his collection with breathtaking collages of Fountains Abbey, Knaresborough and Ripon Cathedral. Every piece of his commissioned artwork incorporates a lottery card ‘horseshoe’ or similar symbol as a reminder of his original inspiration.

James said: “I enjoyed going to the races for the first time last year and was so pleased to be given this opportunity to do some artwork for Pontefract Races.  It’s showing me a way forward for using other recycled materials in my artwork”

James is currently studying at Bradford School of Art. When time allows, he supports charities such as the National Autistic Society. Having been diagnosed with autism at the age of 3½, James has faced a number of challenges during his life but sees his autism as a gift as it gives him the strength to be different.

Taking inspiration from renowned Yorkshire artist, David Hockney, James is quickly establishing himself in the art world and has been exhibiting his growing collection for a number of years. This exhibition can be seen at a number of locations throughout the country during 2019.

Richard Hammill, Chief Operating Officer at Pontefract Racecourse said:

Having seen one of James’s exhibitions at the National Coal Mining Museum, we were very excited to have the opportunity to work with him and commission some bespoke artwork to promote the 2019 racing season at Pontefract.
With a campaign geared around sustainability in mind, it was very important to us that we work with someone who is environmentally minded and the fact that James is able to create such innovative and incredible pieces of artwork using old Raceday tickets and badges is breathtaking.
We’re thrilled with the work that James has done and look forward to continuing our relationship with him in the future. James is an inspiration to us all and the Racecourse is thrilled to be working alongside such an up and coming young talent. ’

Race Horse
• I photographed one of the racehorses for ideas to create the Thoroughbred collage
Previous raceday tickets, badges and leaflets I used for my artwork.
Showing the collaged shoes to ladies at Pontefract Races!
Shoes I collaged from glittering hole-punched circles of recycled tickets. The shoes were modelled at the Ladies Day event.

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