Author: Dave Decat


Since the early 2000s, Brussels-based illustrator and poster artist Dave Decat has been exploring the colourful world of the hoodlums he magnifies. Whether it’s the criminal gangs of the Paris of the Belle Époque, the Apaches who wanted to show off and parade themselves, the tattooed thugs or other convicts.

Decat draws his ideas and the material for the imaginary portraits he creates from this coded and stylised world. Inspired by Anatole Steinlen or the imagery conveyed by the newspapers of the time such as Le Petit Journal. To enrich his universe, the artist has also drawn on specific literary and cinematographic references that he has made his own, such as Auguste le Breton’s Du rififi chez les hommes, a classic of detective literature, or Jean-Pierre Melville’s Bob le flambeur, whose codes he has digested and reinterpreted. Always fascinated by the freaks, the marginalized and the excluded of all kinds, Dave Decat has also devoted his work to those called “loubards” in the 1980s or to heavy metal rock fans.

The book is divided into thematic chapters that follow the chronological order of Dave Decat’s work. This volume also contains a text in which the artist shares his story, his path and his creative process, while giving the keys to his graphic universe.

We gradually slip into a gallery of portraits, real “faces” represented with a palpable empathy and creating an interest in a world we are discovering and a curiosity maintained for the very particular universe created by Decat. The artist’s work has been used in a variety of media, including posters, drawings, record sleeves and book covers. However, his precise and unique style is clearly coherent and succeeds in creating a sort of Stockhlom syndrome, giving the reader an obvious empathy and even a real affection for this gallery of characters.


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