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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