Earlier this month, talented young environmental artist, James Owen Thomas (JOT) travelled from his home in North Yorkshire to Farley’s House and Gallery in East Sussex to display his colourful collage artwork in a striking new exhibition, From Waste to Wall.

Famous as home of the Surrealists, Farleys is tucked away in the beautiful countryside near Chiddingly and has only just opened its doors again to welcome visitors after the Covid-19 lockdown and JOT regarded it as a great honour for his work to have been chosen to launch the new season.

“I’m delighted to be back in East Sussex after such a long, difficult year,” JOT said, “It feels like home as I spent the first ten years of my life living in Eastbourne and the last ten years in North Yorkshire. I feel very lucky to have an exhibition of my artwork in such a prestigious venue as Farleys House and Gallery and am grateful to Antony Penrose, owner and son of Roland Penrose and Lee Miller, for this wonderful opportunity.”

Following a recent interview by Sarah Gorrell on BBC Radio Sussex, Antony paid JOT a generous tribute: “Your work continues in the tradition of Surrealism and the affinities of my family. Congratulations on all you have achieved and with anticipation for what is to come. It is a privilege to have your work here at Farleys House and Gallery.”

Sarah asked JOT about the fly-tipped chair, which was found in Sussex woodland and presented to him as a recycling opportunity, a challenge which he enthusiastically embraced transforming a dilapidated object ready for the bonfire into a golden throne fit for a king. It’s certainly worth a visit to the exhibition to see how JOT has brought new life to this and other discarded artefacts, including a pair of shoes and a handbag, through skilful collage.

With various new projects planned, JOT is enjoying his new role as an ambassador for The Tree Council, London supporting their #ForceforNature campaign. He is also collaborating with national children’s charity, Caudwell Children, on an ambitious, multi-canvas artwork, which is expected to be publicly unveiled for the first time at one of the Caudwell Children Charity’s main fundraising events in 2021.

FROM WASTE TO WALL: Sundays and Thursdays 20th May – 11th July 2021.

Farleys Gallery, Muddles Green, Chiddingly, BN8 6HW,

Gallery open: Sundays and Thursdays, 10am-4.30pm

Pre-book online (Exhibitions and Garden ticket.)