A Newcastle artist is kickstarting his art career with paintings of Lord of The Rings characters from a recurring dream.
Jay Johnstone, who is the creative director of Newcastle marketing agency Hunter Johnstone, started painting the images as a hobby.
But the artworks - which portray Tolkien characters such as Frodo and Gandalf with resemblances to religious icons - are growing in demand.
"That's how they were in the dream," Johnstone explains. "At first I thought it was Virgin Mary, but then I realised it was Eowyn of the Rohirrim."
Since they were featured on a Tolkien fansite interest has blossomed leading to Johnstone's work being exhibited at an international conference organised by the Tolkien Society.
The 2012 Return of the Ring conference saw societies and academics from around the world gather to discuss the work of the author.
Mr Johnstone has also sold three original paintings to a Swiss multi-millionaire who is creating a museum dedicated to Tolkien.
"I was nervous about the exhibition, I was worried that people wouldn't like the paintings, but they went down well in the end."
A fan of the writer since he was a teenager, Johnstone has a large collection of Tolkien literature, but says he has no idea why the characters appeared in his dream.
"I've had the dream about four times, and after that I just carried on painting the characters."
The paintings have been called sacriligious by critics, but Johnstone is pleased to have caused some controversy.
"Lord of the Rings is a religious book. It's subtle but it is based on religion and the beginning of the world.
"Do people say Lord of the Rings is sacriligious? No, they don't." See Jay's art at jaystolkien.com
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