A Moray monk with a passion for comics is preparing for his first solo art exhibition to share his love of the genre.
Brother Daniel Morphy studied art in London after being becoming fascinated by the work of American comic artists.
However, after completing the course at Camberwell School of Art he opted against a career in the field – instead choosing to move to Pluscarden Abbey near Elgin to become a Benedictine monk.
Alongside his daily duties at the historic monastery Brother Daniel took up painting before moving on to make sculptures.
Now he is preparing to showcase his work at the abbey with money raised from sales being used to fund ongoing work to bring back ruined parts of the 800-year-old abbey.
The range of strange and unusual illustrations due to be exhibited has been inspired by bizarre imagery from medieval books held within the abbey’s library – including monkeys playing the bagpipes, human-animal hybrids and weapon-wielding mermaids.
And to respect the tradition the monk has created his own works to fuse the historic with modern work with cartoons including The Fisherman, The Motorcade of the Lamb and Chorus.
Brother Daniel said: “When they ask me what is it? What does it mean? I can only say ‘well, nothing really’. But the work does say something, only I can’t put it into words.”
The monks’ life at Pluscarden is strictly regimented between religious studies, prayer and chores to maintain the way of life at the abbey.
However, Brother Michael believes the practice has given his mind the freedom to contemplate and visit places that do not physically exist and which are not normally gone to by the conscious mind.
The 63-year-old has credited his discovery of comic book art from the 1960s for changing the path of his life in 1982.
He added: “I discovered by chance in a newsagent in Fulham Road a fat volume called The Apex Treasury of Underground Comix/The Best of Bijou Funnies.
“This changed my life. I started taking the idea of an art vocation seriously and thought I would make comics just like them.”
The exhibition will be on display at the visitor centre at Pluscarden Abbey from April 4 to June 5.