“In drawing, white is as important as black. People talk about black humour, but I think there’s such a thing as white humour.” (Interview between Folon and Jacques Michel, Le Monde, 12.01.1972)
Folon’s artistic language initially consisted of pen and Indian ink wash on white paper. These radically simple designs reflect the quest of the young artist, who was guided by Mies van der Rohe’s maxim: “Less is more.” Initially inspired by Bara, Bosc and Chaval, Folon was influenced in the early 1960s by Saul Steinberg, whom he met in New York in 1962. Although he was increasingly attracted to colour from 1965 onwards, Folon never gave up drawing. The Fondation Folon collection contains hundreds of these drawings, which show first-hand how he depicted his ideas visually.
In the early 1980s, Folon tried his hand with coloured pencils, producing some poster projects in this technique, and also using it in his travel journals. With his New York friend Milton Glaser, Folon regularly drew with a pencil with several coloured leads. This would become one of his trademarks.
For more information see:
Jean-Michel Folon, Humour blanc, foreword by F. Pajak, Les Cahiers dessinés, Paris, 2018.