On a few occasions I worked with Belgian-born illustrator Jean-Michel Folon (1934-2005). Folon’s career went from making illustrations for Esquire, The New Yorker, The New York Times and Time in the Sixties to designing posters for Amnesty International, Greenpeace and the United Nations, and in 1989, he created the logo used to commemorate the bicentennial of the French Revolution (using his recurrent theme of birds in flight). Jean-Michel Folon illustrated books by Ray Bradbury, Franz Kafka, Guy de Maupassant, and Boris Vian for the corporate design director for Olivetti, and Folon and writer Giorgio Soavi made quite a good creative team, producing books and ephemera for the legendary Italian typewriter manufacturer, including “La Vie Sentimentale De Folon” (biography of Folon here).
This delightfully illustrated book addresses Folon’s life as an artist (he also appeared as an actor in feature films) and is illustrated with his signature little everyman, constantly besieged by serpentine arrows. His sense of eerie drama with his minimalist yet spirited line captured a feeling of loneliness, innocence and hope.