Jean Luc Navette‘s greatest passion is music, second only to his work as an illustrator and tattoo artist. This French artist from the city of Lyon, has music in his soul, and is able to express it through his own artwork.

The central theme of Navette’s work is Death, with large drippings of melancholy and irony: a perfect marriage between horror and humor, like a danse macabre. Each of Navette’s silkscreen prints are tiny fictions, little comedy playlets with string-operated puppets found in a bric-a-brac shop in the East End of London or Montmartre in Paris. Inspired by true stories, with an unavoidable tragic end, he stages his characters on the borderline of grotesque and poetic.

Navette draws his inspiration from various mediums, from criminal history to the Murder Ballads of the bluesmen, and from literature (John Fante and Charles Baudelaire) to comic books. His style is directly inspired by the iconography of the historical period between the Victorian era, Prohibition in the South of the United States and the First World War in Europe. From etchings, propaganda’s posters, old newspapers and silent movies.

Abandoning color ten years ago and encouraged by tattoo artist Yann Black, Jean Luc Navette threw himself headlong into his now famous dark illustrations and tattoos. The heavy use of the dark color brings him closer to the vintage effect he is fond of, working with quill and china ink, for very intricate details, and a complex work of collage, with glue or Photoshop.

Both on skin and paper, Jean Luc Navette’s work tells stories full of dark poetry that haunt the beholder for a long time.

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