Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ben Heine - Visual creator, Inventor of "Pencil Vs Camera"

As an artist, this question: "what's next?" is probably the most frequent question we hear. Yes, it's a passion that has always encouraged everyone to continue to make the creation, perhaps even in every aspect of life, the need to do something new is a common thing possessed by every human being. In the art world, sometimes we are imprisoned by the perception of what we see everyday, say about the media or creative style raised. Yet in this modern era, competition in the world of art can not be avoided anymore, and it must be admitted that art has touched even the business world for a long time. You need to have “something” to survive.
Innovation is needed in creating a work of art. However, innovation does not mean forgetting the roots of the existing art. It can be used to bold yourself as a creator. This following artist is the one who caught my attention since I first saw his work, Ben Heine, the one and only! 
His project that I saw at first, "Pencil vs. Camera", really broke my stiffness about the concept of imagination. Not only the creative process is very interesting, but also the resulting output is completely full of meaning, and even in my opinion, this guy's project, who has a degree in Journalism, has great potential in delivering a message of any phenomenon (even political issues!?), and I believe the impact would be sufficient large in the community.  No more talk, here is the interview!

Name                   : Ben Heine
City/Country        : Brussels
Email                    :
Website                :
Twitter                  : @BenHeine
Facebook             : Ben Heine
Bio                        :

Ben grew up in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. He lived there 7 years, along with his parents and his 3 sisters. His father was a commercial engineer and his mother a Modern Jazz dance teacher. Everything changed when the family came back to Brussels in 1990. Ben became a troubled and demanding child. He didn't like school at all. He finally became wiser and more disciplined later on, after a stay in a boarding school (at the "Coll├Ęge Saint Vincent" (Belgium), from 12 y/o to 18 y/o). In 1994, he discovered for the first time that his energy, his fears and his ideals could be canalized in visual projects, it was the very beginning of a never ending adventure in drawing and painting. As a teenager, Ben had many other hobbies and activities: beside writing poetry on a daily basis, he played drums, piano and guitar, he also used to play basketball and to run everyday. His interest for graphic arts was eventually the strongest one.
Interview with Ben Heine...
-   How long have you been an artist?
   When I was 11 year old or so, there was a shift in my personality and habits. I started spending all my free time on my projects. I was somehow learning on my own and trying different graphic experimentations. This new passion somehow damaged my social life at that time but I don’t regret anything, I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t decided to do this.

-  Is being an artist a full-time career for you?
   Yes, it is. I’m working on my artistic projects from very early in the morning till late in the evening. It is a full time investment. Since 2 years, I’m finally able to make a living out of my artistic work. It is nice to be able to do what I like but it’s hard everyday and it involves many sacrifices, which is may be the downside.

-  Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
  I’m currently working on some new “Pencil Vs Camera” works with colored drawings instead of black and white sketches. It’s a richer and more complex approach. I’m collaborating since a few weeks only with an advertising agency in Bucharest, Romania. I’m also working on some electronic musical compositions, but that’s more as a hobby.

Pencil Vs Camera 2010

Pencil Vs Camera 2011

Pencil Vs Camera January 2012

Pencil Vs Camera March 2012

Pencil Vs Camera March 2012

-   What was your inspiration?
    Many teachers have inspired me in a great way when I was a student. Nowadays, I find inspiration in my daily life, in every new person I meet, in nature, in cities I travel to, in music I listen to, in movies I watch... All this gives me good insight and stimulates my imagination.

-  "What is Art?" is certainly too big of a question to ask here, but what do you hope your audience takes away from your art? What statement do you hope to make?
   I think Art should surprise and inspire people. It should be the reflection of the society we live in or a reflection of how society will be in the future.

-  What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
   Everybody can be part of History.

Tell me about your workspace and your creative process.
   Wow, my workspace... There are 2 workspaces actually; my desk and computers place where I do my digital stuff (and from where I’m writing right now) and my studio in the countryside where I do all my traditional works. Both are quite messy and completely crazy to look at. I’d never show them in detail I guess. My creative process... I need to experience intense, emotional and powerful events in my life first to find inspiration and creative stimulations. When I have some nice ideas in mind, I need to know how exactly I’m going to express them, which medium I’m going to use etc. When this is chosen, I spend days or weeks developing them. And then there is the final part, may be the most important one: share and spread the final projects with the public and the press to receive criticisms and reviews.

 The process of "Pencil" on Pencil vs. Camera

-   What has been the biggest challenge in the work you create?
   Every new project is a big challenge, but I would say Pencil Vs Camera is becoming more and more complex graphically speaking, so this is more challenging and time consuming for me. I noticed that the more time spent on a project the best it becomes. It’s easy to understand why.

-  Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?
   Devian Art and Flickr mainly. There are thousands of good people there already.

     -   Do you have any exhibits to promote?
  There might be a new solo exhibition with my limited edition prints at “The Avenue” in London via The Art Movement, early May. It’s not  confirmed yet.

Some other interesting projects of Ben Heine:

Digital Circlism

Flesh & Acrylic

a sample of Ben's new brochure:

So that's my interview with Ben. If you want to see more of his work (including his illustration and photography work), please visit or Ben Heine on DA or Ben Heine on Flickr. Last, "Creativity is not a motive, it's simply an attitude of open-mindedness." (Eleanor Blair). So keep open your mind, use creativity, and make your own innovations! 

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Andrew Vanover - Photographer & Filmmaker

Hello everyone, after last week we met Alexander Mijares, a painter from Miami, FL, this time we will present to you, for the first time on our blog, the profile of one photographer and filmmaker based out of Raleigh, North Carolina, Andrew Vanover. Now he works internationally with different organizations through love for the sake of love. Andrew is an active figure, as he said, "you will rarely ever find me sitting still". Some would diagnose it as a.d.d. but he likes to think of it as "I like to 'do' and 'be' rather than 'see'", maybe this is what caused him to become interested in taking photos of moving objects. 
 We had the opportunity to interview Andrew a few days ago. Here is our conversation, along with some of his photographs.

Name                    : Andrew Vanover
City/Country      : Raleigh, NC     
Email                     : 
Website               :         
Twitter                 : @andrewvanover
Facebook            : Andrew | Vanover Photography

Interview with Andrew...
-       What is your current state of mind before we continue with the interview?
I am currently relaxed on my studio sofa, I am excited to be filling out a friendly interview.

-       Did you go to school to study photography?
No, I was originally an engineer but found myself skipping classes to take pictures or using photoshop during lectures. I later switched to a communication in media major just to get a piece of paper with my name on it and a fancy stamp.

-       How long have you been a photographer?
I have been a professional photographer for 2 years now, but before that I was taking pictures with anything that had a shutter in it. 

-       Describe your style of photography. What do you consider a successful image?
The style of photography directly based off of my elaborate imagination and dreams. The images I enjoy creating the most are composites focusing on a subject or scene that relates directly to something in my memories or experiences. The ‘simple’ answer would be: commercial photography composites with a realistic appeal to a dream driven environment. 

"Winter Dreams"

-       What is your favorite subject to photograph?
I enjoy shooting subjects that “do.” It dosen’t matter what they do, climb or sell cars, it just matters that there is an action behind the idea. 

 "Track Star"

-       What is your favorite place in the world to photograph?
My favorite place in the world to photograph is one that I have never been to. In my book there really is no getting lost, just exploring and with that comes taking pictures.

-       Can you tell us the true basis of your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from the people that I have met and the experiences with them that turn into memories that later become dreams from which I wake up from with an idea for a new image or series.

-       What equipment do you use (please include bodies, lenses, flashes, tripod, head)?
I use and love:
Body                          : 5d mark ii (battery grip)
Glass                         : 50mm 1.4, 35mm 1.4 L, 24mm 1.4 L
Strobes/lighting   : Paul C Buff. Einstein, Alien Bees B800s, Canon 580ex ii, Large   Ring-light
Soft Boxes            : Large Photek Octabanks, Paul Buff Octaboxes, anything that    diffuses light
Tripod                       : Manfrotto
Computers              : 27” iMac, 15” MBP
Software                  : Photoshop CS5.5, Capture One, LR4

-       What is your favorite lens and why?
My favorite lens is the 35mm 1.4L because with a full frame body it is close enough to a wide angle without a large amount of warping distortion.

-       What are your favorite photography gadgets/accessories (please be specific, perhaps even providing a link to the product or products)?
Honestly I don’t use a ton of gadgets or accessories because I like to keep the game simple and sweet, that’s also another reason why I only use prime lenses.

-       What is your position on post-processing? How far will you go in editing an image (cloning, selective adjustments, adding canvas, etc.)?
I think post-processing is an amazing tool as long has it is used realistically and effectively. I am in no way the best photoshopist out there but I do continue to learn new ways to make my images appear to be real and lively. I will go as far as it takes, as long as it keeps the image in the realm of believably realistic. 


-       Are you a Mac or PC lover?
I am a Mac lover.

-       Please describe your digital workflow, including the software you use and any third-party plug-ins?
I import my images from my camera to an external firewire hardrive which is organized in terms of projects and dates. I then pull those images into Capture One or Lightroom 4 depending on the project and organize and flag them in accordance to preferences which sometimes just means a portion of the image that I like for any number of reasons. I begin by throwing together a rough draft in photoshop to give myself a feel for what I am trying to achieve which is usually already in my head or on paper. After that I start to craft the final image with the background and build the image up to my subject using nondestructive editing methods such as smart objects and masks. I don’t really use any plug-ins just ones to allow photoshop to work with bigger file sizes efficiently.

-       How important is Photoshop in your final images?
Photoshop is my bread and butter.

-       Do you have any special post-processing tips you’d like to share?
Organize your junk using grouping and proper titles it will just make everything go a lot smoother especially if you are working with a team of individuals and retouchers. 

 "The Weather man"

-       What photographers (past and present) inspire you in your own photography?
There are many amazing photographers that I admire but if I had to steal from all of them this is what I would take: Dave Hill’s imaginative compositing skills, Chris Crimson’s realistic detail and color, Joey L’s lighting and rapping, Steven Taylor’s reputation and hair, Nick Radford’s swag with words, and Chase Jarvis’ connections. 

-       How important is an awesome website for your business?
Vital, your website is probably going to be your first impression on your target market. A slow loading or sloppy blog could be the end of your audiences’ attention span.

-       If not a photographer, I would have liked to be a scientist studying the great volcanos around the world. What would you have been?
I would have been Batman, but I heard Bruce Wayne already stole that position so I settled for Commercial Photographer.

-       Is there anything you would have done differently during your photographic career?
I would always have loved more time with my subjects to get to know them more on a friendship level. 

 "Children Heroes"

-       This is your space. Are there any trends or tendencies in photography today on which you care to comment?
I would just hope to encourage others to use their imagination and motivation rather than presets and stolen ideas to create what represents what they feel and see in their lives.

-       One more, if someone said ‘how can I be the next Andrew Vanover Photography’ What would you say?
Don’t be me, be you, so that I can be your friend. 

 "Catch me if you can"

At the end of our interview with Andrew, he excitedly told us that he will have one project in the near future. But unfortunately with our limited capacity of time and space, we will let you know about his interesting projects in the next post. But do not worry, we'll continue to update all information about Andrew's work just for you. So stay tuned! 

Fiman Prayudi Utama for

Friday, March 16, 2012

Alexander Mijares - "My work is very passionate and very vibrant..."

          When looking at the works produced by this artist, I am reminded of something familiar. The dominance of the colors and flow lines he used in forming his art, which was mostly inspired by the beauty of women, inevitably brought me into the art form of stained glass that is often used in church or colonial buildings. But this artist, who lives in Miami, pour it onto the canvas. A few days ago, we had interviewed him with similar questions that we asked to Paul Doran on last week's edition. Here is our interview with Alexander Mijares...

Name                     : Alexander Anthony Mijares
City/Country          : Miami / USA
Twitter                    : ‏ @IamAlexMijares
Facebook              :  A. Mijares ( Art Gallery )

 *Alexander Mijares Debut Art Exhibit Gallery  Photos  - Downtown Miami News

          I was born here in Miami, my family is from Spain and Cuba.  I have lived in Miami my whole life, except for those few years I went to school in Boston.  I love to travel, and do anything that can add to my life resume of experiences.  My father used to say “that a day you don’t learn something new is a day wasted”  I believe that a “a day that I go that I don’t meet someone new is a day wasted”  cause at the end of the day each new person will somehow bring a new experience into my life that will become a puzzle piece in my life.  I Currently run a Family business in which we do Sheet metal fabrication for military, defense, communications, Lighting, & much more.  I also recently finished school with an MBA.

Interview with Alex...
-       How long have you been an artist?
I have always doodled my whole life on books, during class, for school functions and plays.  I basically could draw anything when I was a kid and then got in to street art and graffiti for a bit but soon dropped that and focused more on just sketches.  It wasn’t until January 2011 when I moved into  my new apartment and I needed a large piece of art for my wall did I know I could paint.  I went to the store bought a canvas and some acrylic paint one brush and began to paint my first piece in which I painted on the wrong side of the canvas! I had no idea what I was doing when I began but every painting since then has been a trial and error and success.

-       Is being an artist a full-time career for you?
No, I currently work in the family business during the day in which we fabricated sheet metal products for military, defense, lighting, furniture and much more.  And when I get home I paint for several hours usually every day.

-       Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
My work is very passionate and very vibrant.  The colors I use and the way in which I use them make the work jump off the canvas.  Currently I am working on several larger pieces for my next exhibit.  I have found that the larger works really show the strokes and the true colors of the piece.  When I first began I kind of was just trying all different things until I found a style and size I like.  Lately I have been mostly doing larger pieces.  I am also in process to begin during sculptures of the women in which I am painting out of stained glass and precious metals.

-       What was your inspiration?
People, culture, travel, women,… in my current work I have painted a series of women each using several different shapes that when laid together act as almost a puzzle would.  Each piece being some kind of life experience, of love, or death of a close friend / friends! And relationships.  Then the style has a very Spanish feel mixed with the ideas of the Venetian / Shakespeare time when with only a mask someone could be who they wanted to be.  A poor person could be nobility and nobody had a clue. “the morale of the people was maintained through the use of masks- for with no face, everyone had voices”.

-       "What is Art?" is certainly too big of a question to ask here, but what do you hope your audience takes away from your art? What statement do you hope to make?
I hope to “wow” people, I want my work to grab the viewer and engage them with the use of the vibrant colors and the sensual lines of the woman and leave them wanting more.  There is a lot of emotion that goes into my work and I hope that it will be felt

-       What was the best advice given to you as an artist? 
Open yourself to experiences, educate yourself in your field and continue to be passionate about what you paint in that you can see it so clearly in your work.  I have never taken painting classes so in my work every piece is a new adventure and without boundaries.

-       Tell me about your work space and your creative process.
Currently my work space is in my apartment in a corner.  I have a journal that I walk around with all day writing and sketching ideas about what will be my next work or process about my next piece.  Then I usually put on Spanish guitar music and go to work for hours at a time.  My favorite part is after putting in hours within inches of my canvas is to finish the day take a few steps back and smile at what has been accomplished and how different it looks when you step back and take it all in

-       What has been the biggest challenge in the work you create?
I would say everyday has been a challenge because every day I am trying new things and styles and mediums without really knowing what the outcome will bring.  Luckly I have been successful so far in that everything I have tried has worked out great!

-       Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?
I don’t really have a specific place, I have been spending a lot of time in galleries lately and with gallerist to learn and educated myself in the art world.  Usually online I just google art and spend endless hours scrolling through everything.

-       Do you have any exhibits to promote?
I just had my first exhibit on feb 23rd in which I exhibited 25 pieces and sold 8 which was a great start.  I believe my next exhibit will be in may as I will be in spain for a month so when I get back I will be having another show.

Fiman Prayudi Utama for