Ben Heine is a visual artist. His love for creative art and graphic art is well depicted through his original series of innovative concepts i.e. “Pencil Vs Camera”, “Digital Circlism” and “Flesh and Acrylic.” He is self taught in Drawing and Photography. Based out of Belgian, Ben is well versed with several languages: French, English, Dutch, Polish, Spanish and Russian and the credit goes to his love for communicating and interacting with people. Ben has served as a teacher, Journalist, Editor and Coach.
Initiated in 2010, his Pencil Vs Camera” is a visual concept that infuses drawing and photography, thereby offering a good mix of imagination and reality. This was followed by “Digital Circlism,” a synthesis of Pop Art and Pointillism. This aims at creating celebrity portraits using flat circles on black background via digital tools. And then came Birth of “Flesh and Acrylic” in 2011. This art form focused on making abstract acrylic paintings on large wooden panels so that model blends with the background. Ben’s fine art is inspired by nature, human intelligence, human society and small events in his life.
Read on to know more about him:
1) Tell us a little bit about yourself? Where is your home? How long have you been a visual artist? What factors favored you in becoming a successful visual artist today?
I was born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in 1983, I moved to Brussels, Belgium, in 1990 and I now live in Rochefort, a small city in Belgium. I’ve been working on graphic projects, mainly illustration and photography, for over 20 years.
Well, I don’t think I’m a successful artist. Firstly because the graphic design industry is totally sick and insignificant in comparison to other creative industries such as music and film. Secondly because there are many aspects I need to improve in my personal evolution. It’s true I do have the chance to get great exposure when I post a new creation, I suppose because I’m young and rather active on social networks, but exposure doesn’t pay bills! Exposure is an illusion and a rather useless fantasy. What matters now is generating money and making a decent living with my art.
I’ve always invested a lot of time and energy in my passions. I was doing things alone from the beginning, I have no assistants and I always learned on my own, so everything requires more time and efforts but it’s also very nice to be in control and to decide myself which direction to take! I despise those artists who pay a bunch of assistants to do the difficult work and don’t even credit them!
2) What is your current state of mind before we continue with this interview?
Well, right now, it’s the middle of the night and many wishes, thoughts and hopes are spinning in my head. I’m contemplative, introspective, reflective and sensitive. I feel happy because I’ve had a beautiful baby boy who is now 1 year old. I also discovered some new passions that will help me not be blocked in my creative projects. I dream of harmony and I really wish I can keep growing as an artist.
3) Besides the various forms of visual arts seen from you so far, which new form/s can we expect from you in coming years?
I plan to end my “Pencil Vs Camera” series. I’m always trying to develop and improve the concept so that it’s constantly changing. I don’t want people to get bored with this idea. I don’t know exactly what I’ll do next. I started making music and this passion is literally eating me alive and I wish I could spend 100% of my time on it but unfortunately I have too many ongoing graphic projects. I’ll need to find new ways to express and renew myself. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m sure it’s achievable.
4) Which has been your most memorable assignment and why?
I’m sorry, I can’t say, I really tend to forget all my past projects. I don’t remember any of them. I can only say some were a bit more time consuming and difficult to make than others.
5) We know that each of us has someone or something, which inspires our life and work. Can you tell us the true basis of your inspiration?
Fear of death and anxiety are the main reasons giving me energy and motivation to create new projects. Childhood wounds are also playing an important role in my life as artist, bringing me the strength to surpass myself daily. Anything and everything, usually very small things, inspire me; I love to search for universal truths in tiny random events. Finally, I am a very competitive person, I like to test myself and to challenge others, of course, if I fail, I’ll try to fight more to succeed.
6) What remains your biggest fear and biggest success as a multi skilled person?
One of my fears is to get lost in my different passions. Combining drawing and photography was rather easy so far. It’s harder to switch from music to graphic projects. But on the other hand, when I’ll have learned and mastered all the tools available in these fields, it will be a big strength and a powerful means of expression.
7) If you could live anywhere on this planet where would you build your dream home?
I think it would be in a quiet village in the USA.
8) List out any 5 random sites/blogs from where you gain inspiration.
I’m not very proud to say that I almost never consult art blogs or other online resources. I don’t want to be influenced in any way. What I usually do is listen to news and science podcasts or music when I’m working. And I watch National Geographic or Discovery Channel during my breaks. That’s it.
9) If you could choose it, what would your legacy in the industry be? What is it that you want to be remembered for?
Innovation, fearlessness, unconventionality, independence.
10) What pieces of advice you would give to an amateur visual artist?
Be confident. Trust yourself. Try the untried. Learn from your mistakes and always remember that only efforts and hard work will bring you success, satisfaction and happiness. Be faithful and thankful to the people who help and support you and consider forgiving those who try to destroy you. Don’t believe in providence. Believe in your skills.
11) Lastly, whom do you want us to interview next?
I’d recommend Yannick Lefevre, a great French photographer.
Had you not been a visual artist…
I might have become a musician or a journalist.
I’ve learned the most from…
Something you’re still learning?
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Top secret J
I would have loved to prefer herb tea than coffee, to be a very tranquil person instead of a hyperactive creature.
If you could have lunch with anyone who is famous or dead who would it be?
Bob Marley, such a legend.
Which five words would your friends use to describe you?
Crazy, Solitary, hard worker, hyperactive, emotive.
If your creative work were edible, what would it taste like?
If someone said ‘how can I be the next Ben Heine?’ What would you say?
Don’t. Become a doctor or an engineer instead, be anything but not a graphic designer.
In the past, our friends also had the opportunity to Interview Ben. I thought you might be interested in knowing more about him as each of his interview is an exclusive.
Now, Feast yourself with some 56 artworks from his series of art forms:
Pencil vs Camera
35. Steve Jobs
36. Lady Gaga
37. Bob Harley
39. Remembering what I am
40. Marilyn Monroe
41. Johnny Depp
42. Elvis Presley
44. Give me Colors
45. Julian Assange
46. Freddie Mercury
47. She is my Mona Lisa
Flesh and Acrylic” Artwork
48. Fight for your Rights
49. I don’t Care
50. C Madison 1
51. C Madison2
52. C Madison 3
55. Life is like a Canvas
56. Your Hard Little Feet
Thanks Ben not only for your time but for sharing such inspiring responses. You Rock! We wish you all the success in your future endeavors and here we so wish you happy fatherhood. Have a beautiful journey ahead.