Don Morris was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1935. After finishing his undergraduate work at Tulane, he obtained his doctorate degree at Louisiana State University.
The board-certified plastic surgeon developed an interest in contemporary art in the late sixties. For years he was affiliated with the Milwaukee Art Museum as a member of the acquisitions committee, as well as chairman of their Contemporary Art Society. He became an ardent collector and began working with metal as a hobby, inspired by the sculptural work of Frank Stella. He turned to comic books, however, when he “got tired of getting burned by the welding torch and hot metal.”
Morris began his art career in earnest upon retiring from plastic surgery in 2002. His constructions embody the creative and manual elements of his former medical practice, and the comic book medium allows him to incorporate the psychological side of the plastic surgery process. The uniformly undulating surface of gentle peaks and curves in the folds of the comic book pages capture the viewer with a story as they unfold. From a distance, one sees the interplay of colors and texture; up close, the superheroes fly, struggle, and climb in small fragments and vignettes. The expressive faces of the characters show all the emotion of the human psyche, and word bubbles create dialogue between the action heroes. The compilation of thousands of comic book sections form constructions ranging from four to eight feet tall, leaving viewers with an unforgettable image of energetic architectural elements in a distinctive, physical composition.
Morris has taken the iconic comic book of our youth, reduced it to narrow strips and bands, and re-invented it into a mass of bright color and texture. “Although there are many aspects of my work that can be intellectualized, the fundamentals still require that inner aesthetic sense,” explains Morris. “But in the final analysis it is the viewer that deems my work either ‘art’ or ‘folly.’ I ply my trade before a thousand critics.”
In a very short time from entering the art world, Morris has seen a meteoric rise in his prominence as an artist. His comic book constructions are found in museums and significant collections in the United States, Europe, and Asia.