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Sustainable Blue4est® Thermal Paper Can Be Art Too


The Blue4est® thermal paper is more commonly used for POS checkout rolls or as a paper-based label material (known as facestock) for the new generation of eco-friendly labels, but now renowned artist Jean Coulon is also using it to create art. Koehler Paper, part of the Koehler Group and a leading manufacturer of thermal paper, is delighted to see its paper being used for such a wide range of applications.

Sustainable Blue4est® Thermal Paper Can Be Art Too

Jean Coulon is a painter, sculptor, and ceramicist who has discovered thermal paper and, more recently, Blue4est® paper for himself. The French artist first came into contact with thermal paper in his work around 20 years ago. He explains: “Thermal paper is a very innovative material and I wanted to test its potential. By experimenting with a range of processing techniques and tools which contain different heat sources, I wanted to highlight the contrast between the black that results from the reaction of the sensitive layer and the white color of the backing material. I was immediately drawn to the intensity of this contrast, which can be compared to charcoal drawing or calligraphy.” This led the French artist to produce many works on white standard thermal paper.

The blue color of our exceptional Blue4est® paper makes it an ideal color carrier
Jean Coulon only discovered the Blue4est® thermal paper from the Black Forest as a medium for his art this year. He says: “I discovered the blue thermal paper from Koehler Paper by chance in the form of a supermarket receipt and I was both fascinated and inspired by it. It’s an extraordinary paper and offers different possibilities to the white thermal paper. Aside from the fact that is it compatible with the previously tried-and-tested techniques, the physical reaction of Blue4est®, which is produced by friction, provides a whole range of gray shades of differing intensities.” The blue color of the Blue4est® paper also proved itself an outstanding color carrier. This discovery allowed Jean to turn his hand to multicolored works. Sebastian Früh, Corporate Director Thermal Paper at Koehler Paper, emphasizes, "I am delighted that Jean Coulon is using our blue thermal paper so enthusiastically for his art. It shows how special and versatile it is."

Much of Jean’s work deals with man’s place in a changing world and with the symbolism of life. All of his works have a deep meaning and a story to tell. The thermal paper, which transforms when exposed to heat, works in perfect symbiosis with his works, which evoke the cycle of life, with its constant evolution and metamorphoses. His works can be seen in a jointly produced short film on YouTube.

Blue4est® thermal paper: physics instead of chemistry
The Blue4est® paper has no chemical developers, which not only means it is 100% recyclable, but also that it is approved for direct contact with food. It has been used as an eco-friendly alternative in the retail sector for some time now, in the form of checkout rolls for example. Unlike standard white thermal paper, with Blue4est®, the text is not produced through a chemical reaction to heat but rather using a purely physical reaction. An opaque functional layer on the paper becomes transparent when subjected to heat, which results in the black layer below becoming visible. Compared to conventional thermal papers, the printed image of Blue4est® is also extremely resistant to environmental influences such as sunlight and moisture. Where printouts are stored in normal storage conditions, they remain legible for more than 35 years.

Jean Coulon has been using thermal paper in his art for around 20 years

Jean Coulon lives and works in Annecy and Groix in France. He studied fine art at Jean Monnet University in Saint-Étienne near Lyon. After finishing his Master's and DEA diploma, he completed a doctorate in archeometry and archeology. Jean Coulon continues to teach at the Higher School of Art in Annecy and has taken part in many successful individual and group exhibitions in France and Switzerland. He also has many works on display in private and public collections. The artist has created almost 1,000 pieces over the course of his life. His works are not currently available via social media.

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