Ben Heine, Pencil Vs Camera: When Imagination Meets Reality

Multidisciplinary Artist With An International Mindset

Ben Heine is a Belgian visual artist, journalist and music composer born in 1983 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, currently living and working in Brussels, Belgium. He is best known for his original series “Pencil Vs Camera“, “Digital Circlism” and “Flesh and Acrylic“. He has a Master degree in Journalism completed at IHECS school of Journalism in Brussels. He also briefly studied History of Art, Painting and Sculpture at Hastings College of Arts & Technology in the UK. He is a self-taught person in drawing, photography and music.

He also has over 10 years of work experience in communication and marketing. Throughout his academic training, he was also able to learn several music instruments (drums and piano) and several languages (French, English, Dutch Polish, Spanish and Russian). His artworks were exhibited in countless fairs and galleries in Belgium, Hong Kong, South Korea, the UK, Russia, Romania, The Netherlands, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, the US, Turkey, Brazil, and Spain. His works have been published in some of the most famous newspapers and magazines. Ben is an enthusiastic traveller, he loves discovering new cities and cultures, each one of them being a huge source of inspiration for his creative projects. Through his career path, Heine became the ambassador of famous brands such as Samsung and Mazda and he has worked for other clients such as Harbour City, Diesel, Turismo de Canarias, Semmel-Concerts, Kare Design, Moscow Planetarium, McCann Erickson, while still making time for personal projects. He started producing and composing music in 2012. A documentary about his work was released in 2012. Ben is married to Marta and they have two children. Ben’s father was a commercial engineer and his mother a choreographer and a dance teacher.

Pencil Vs Camera: When Imagination Meets Reality

Pencil Vs Camera – 57Pencil Vs Camera is an original visual concept invented and popularized by Ben Heine since April 2010. A new art form and the artist’s special trademark, it is also one of the most creative and powerful art concepts of the 21st century. The images in this series usually show a hand-drawn sketch held and photographed by the artist to infuse ordinary scenes with new surreal, visionary, or romanticized narratives. Ben’s visible hand represents the connection between the viewer, the artist and the artwork. Heine does not recreate photographs, but he reimagines them. In these images, he likes to tell a story and convey timeless messages using imagination, illusion, poetry and surrealism.

His work is powered by a fearless positivity. An already beautiful-looking photo is enhanced with a sketch that adds a splash of satire and whimsy. Heine wrote: “I make art for people. I want them to dream and forget their daily troubles. Each new creation should tell a story and generate an intense emotion, like a poem, like a melody”. Starting with simple sketches, Ben brought major innovations to the concept in 2012 and 2013, adding colors and black paper or increasing the drawings’ size. Heine’s first Pencil Vs Camera’s images quickly gained popularity and received positive criticisms from specialized and influential art sites along with international opportunities for the artist. Since 2012, many smartphone applications emulate Heine’s Pencil Vs Camera’s style.

Several other artists have also borrowed from Heine’s innovations to create variations of his Pencil Vs Camera. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. The concept has also become popular in many primary and secondary schools worldwide. It is used to stimulate students’ imagination and encourage them to use new technologies and share their ideas.
Ben Heine
Nov 4, 2020

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