Interview With Visual Creator Ben Heine

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I am very pleased to present my interview with visual creator Ben Heine, an all around talent born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and currently living and working in Belgium. I discovered his pencil vs camera series and i was intrigued. His creations are not just eye catchy but simply inspiring and also filled with positive energy. With no further ado, here is what we talked about. Enjoy!  

2dots -  Can you please tell readers about yourself and what you do?

BH - I’m a visual artist working in Brussels, Belgium. I do all kinds of creative projects. Every new day is different and challenging. Among other works, I’m the inventor of the series titled “Pencil Vs Camera” and “Digital Circlism”.

2dots -Was it always your dream to become a visual creator?

BH - It is just the choice I made several years ago. I had to find a way to express myself. Among others, my interest for graphic art was the strongest…

2dots - Being born in Ivory Coast, Africa and now living in Brussels and exploring different countries, how has the exposure to different cultures and people influenced you as an artist?

BH - Meeting other cultures is a source of huge fulfillment and enrichment. It helps understanding how human societies work. Each new travel abroad influences and change the way I see the world.

2dots - Favorite country you have been to so far and why?

BH - I was fascinated by Kenya. I had the chance to see amazing landscapes, animals and people.

2dots - What inspired you to do pencil vs camera series.

BH - Pencil Vs Camera is a mishmash of my two favorite disciplines: drawing and photography, so this series came quite naturally. Before starting this project, I noticed some artists merging a photo in a photo or a drawing in a drawing, but I had never seen a drawing in a photo. So I thought there was a perfect opportunity for me to bring something new and creative. 

2dots -Your work is full of creativity. How do you enlighten yourself, do you have any inspirations?

BH -In Pencil Vs Camera, the main themes and values I want to share are love, friendship and happiness. I like to focus on architecture, portraits, nature and animals. This series mixes imagination and reality in a simple way with simple tools. The only boundary is my own perception of the world, my own imagination.  I like playing with illusions, visual tricks and surrealism.

Some of my sources of inspiration:

Nature: Nature is a god for me. I could spend days walking in empty fields, forests, deserts or mountains. I would never be tired of admiring all the beauties and landscapes Earth can offer. I find comfort and balance in natural places when I feel sad or depressed.

Human intelligence: All the accomplishments of Mankind… There are a lot of things to include in this category: Knowledge, Culture, Sciences, Arts, Music, Architecture, Engineering, Computers, Technology… When I see a skyscraper for instance, I see it like a huge sculpture and I’m really impressed by the quantity of work, genius and human mastership involved. There are so many examples and sub-categories.

Human societies: Interactions between people and the way humans find amazing solutions to complex problems have always intrigued and inspired me.

Personal stuff: I’m also inspired by many small events in my life, my family, my friends, the people I love.

In general, in everything I observe, I often see little stories happening and imagine things that might never really happen eventually.

2dots - In your opinion what is creativity?

BH -It’s the ability to generate something new, different, imaginative and original with particular skills.

2dots -They say a picture is worth a thousand words, what message/information do yours say?

BH -I think that many of my recent pictures are very simple and convey a message easy to understand, but hopefully not meaningless. 

2dots -What else are you passionate about besides graphic arts? 

BH -Music and Journalism.

2dots -Top 3 visually inspiring movies?

BH -Matrix, Schindler's List, Avatar

2dots -So far what has been the most challenging project for you?

BH -I’d say that some challenging projects I’ve been working on lately are the portraits of famous people in my series titled “Digital Circlism”.

2dots -How have you grown or evolved as an artist comparing when you first started to now?

BH -I used to make traditional paintings that nobody understood. My first goal now is to create art for people, not for me. I’m trying to make it understandable by everybody.

2dots -What do you like most about what you do?

BH - I like sharing my works with people!

2dots -  Your style and work is very unique with positive vibes, inspiring a lot of people like myself. How do you feel knowing you have such a stamp and impact on art?

BH - I don’t really ask myself this question… Ok, it’s a nice feeling to know that what I do may have an effect on people’s minds. But there is always a way to do better and keep it going… 

2dots - What is next for Ben Heine any unfulfilled dreams?

BH - I just started a new project called “Flesh and Acrylic”, in which I paint abstract shapes with acrylic on a life model. I think this series has a big potential too, but it’s only the beginning.

2dots - Any advice for arts/creativity enthusiasts especially young people like me reading?

BH - Research and exploit what you can do the best to bring something new for others. Be positive. Think every minute about making the right choices. Keep praising peace, love and happiness.