Jean-Luc Moerman (Belgian, b. July 5, 1967) is a modern artist who takes the idea of body marking and body art and applies it to contemporary female and male icons. Using pen and ink, he transforms well-known photographs, making it appear that the subject is covered in tattoos. He has also applied the concept to recognizable buildings, creating what looks like graffiti on the subject. Moerman was born in Brussels, Belgium, and has spent his entire life in that country.
His work is typically black ink on paper in easily recognizable spiral patterns. He works in marker pens and acrylics, and the lines never vary. His desire is to create visual epiphytes, which are plants that grow from other plants. Moerman credits a 35-year fascination with the infinite possibilities of the line as inspiration for his artwork. His work has been lauded by some critics, while dismissed as elaborate doodles by others. His most famous collection to date is entitled Tattoo on Paper (2011). The work includes the fake tattoos on everything from early Renaissance and religious icons to modern stars, such as Audrey Hepburn and Madonna. The works unitize the subjects and make the viewer wonder about the picture's reality. Moerman has said that he is inspired by body art and tattoos in general as a basis for his work. He has also applied his brand of doodling in black-and-white to vehicles. Moerman credits a fascination with religious fanaticism as the motivation behind some of his works. These works include baseball bats drawn to represent the bludgeoning attitude of fanatical believers in Christianity.
Moerman's works evoke tattoo art, Islamic and Japanese calligraphy, and graffiti that tell the story of an ever-chaotic history of the world. The works are almost obsessive in their pattern, tradition, and contemporary artistry. His first solo show was in Germany at Galerie B.A. Mickan in 1995. Moerman has gone on to exhibit internationally in a wide spectrum of capacities. His works have been featured in numerous galleries, museums, and private collections, namely the Olbricht Collection in Berlin, La Maison Rouge in Paris, Musee D'Art Modern in Luxemburg, Musee d'Ixelles in Brussels, Musee des Beaux-Arts in Calais, MOCA in Shanghai, The Flag Art Foundation in New York City, and Vanhaerents Collection in Brussels.