Jazzy Nights and Mysterious Murders – The Art of Dan Zollinger

The needle scratched the vinyl and the thick smoke hurts your eyes but you can’t look away from the silhouette of the creature that just walked into the bar. The neon sign outside flashed for a moment before she let the door shut, cigarette burning between her fingers, smoke tangling in her black curls. Suddenly, the night took an interesting turn.

What Dan Zollinger evokes through his illustrations is the aesthetic  of a 40’s – 50’s crime thriller, where the sullen but handsome detective navigates through jazz bars in search of clues for solving a certain mysterious murder. Zollinger’s men are sharply dressed, revolvers at their hips, inspecting vintage hotel rooms and dining at roadside joints.

As their counterpart, the pale femmes fatales smoke casually at dimly lit tables, pearls adorning their ears. They never face the viewer but their beauty demands attention and the offer to light her next cigarette. The portraits are nevertheless intimate.




Zollinger creates the spaces in which his characters move; motel parking lots, shiny bar facades and local diners. In the bright neon lights, the chrome glints and the jet black paint shines from the vintage Fords that are parked outside. One can almost feel the fog and cold rain from the nights that engulfs the scenery.

Currently, Zollinger is illustrating MADE MEN, a Doug Brode authored graphic novel which is set in the 50’s and 60s. The book is due to be published in 2017.

All images credits: Zollinger. Find more of his art on this website.

Submit your art at magazine@cultartes.com

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Lover of art, literature and cats. Horror junkie and drag enthusiast.

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