Ben Heine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ben Heine
Born (1983-06-12) 12 June 1983 (age 32)
Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Nationality Belgian
Known for Painting

Ben Heine (born 12 June 1983) is a Belgian multidisciplinary artist. Starting as a painter and political cartoonist, he became more widely known in 2011 for his "Pencil vs Camera"[1][2] and "Digital Circlism"[3] projects. Heine has a degree in journalism (Brussels – Belgium) and made his Masters' final assignment on the "limits of freedom of speech in political cartoons" (2007). As a political cartoonist, Heine received some criticism for his views on the Middle Eastern political situation and specifically some images about Israel and Zionism. Heine has stopped doing political art since 2009. Heine has briefly studied painting and sculpture in Hastings, England, but considers himself a self-taught artist in drawing and photography[4] (The D-Photo). Heine's "Pencil vs Camera" artwork is so far his most widely published work.[5]


Pencil vs camera[edit]

The idea of mixing drawing with photography came to him in 2010.[6] Heine says it was the result of a long graphic exploration and a logic consequences of his artistic evolution.[7] "Pencil vs Camera" mixes drawing and photography[8] imagination and reality,[9] through illusion and surrealism.[10] In this project, Heine's usually focuses on architecture, portraits and animals.[11] Among many others, the main themes approached in "Pencil Vs Camera" are love and friendship. Heine says: "I just make art for people. I want them to dream and forget their daily troubles. I used to write poems many years ago, I want to convey a poetic meaning into my pictures, each new creation should tell a story and generate an intense emotion, like a poem, like a melody".[12] This series had a large impact on the graphic design community.[13] Heine says the initial idea of this "Pencil Vs Camera" concept came by coincidence while he was writing a letter.[14] Some of his "Pencil vs Camera" creations have also been related to optical illusions.[15]

Digital circlism[edit]

This is the name Heine has given to a whole new creative technique he has developed in 2010.[16] It is a mix between Pop Art and Pointillism.[17] In this project, Heine usually makes portraits of celebrities/cultural icons[18] with digital tools using flat circles on a black background. Each circle has a single color and a single tone.[19] Trends Hunter said about Digital Circlism: "Through the use of graphic software and a whole lot of creativity, Ben Heine is able to create iconic faces from history and pop culture by drawing circles of various sizes and colors. In order to give them a dynamic and 3-dimensional appearance".[20] The artist stated he has been making portraits for over 15 years but it wasn't very long ago that he started developing this original technique.[21] "As I've been working with digital tools recently, this came quite naturally, and I'm a big fan of Pop Art and Pointillism. Digital Circlism is a modern mix of them".[22]


Heine says he is influenced by Belgian Surrealism,[23] German Expressionism,[24] American Pop Art,[25] and Social Realism.[26] Abduzeezo says about Heine: "His galleries are filled with great stuff and he can walk beautifully between several art directions, creating amazing pieces in any way he goes".[27] Heine has given several interviews explaining the philosophy behind his creations.[28]

Political works[edit]

What Heine refers to as his academic visual research on the limits of freedom of speech in political cartoons lead to controversy. Due to the pro-Palestinian and anti Zionism nature of some of Heine's political art and his participation in a 2006 competition calling for Holocaust-related cartoons on the Iranian website Heine has been accused of anti-Semitism by critics including the Belgian satirical weekly magazine Pere UBU and the Institute for Global Jewish Affairs.[29][30] Heine wrote in his open letter to the site, "We are against all kind of revisionism, anti-Semitism, racism or xenophobia. We do not at all deny that millions of Jews were horribly murdered by the Nazis."[31] He decided to completely stop creating political cartoons in 2009 and to focus on his own art. He wrote an open letter to the Jewish Community in 2010[32] to express his regrets and apologising about his past behaviour, explaining also, how in his view these drawings had been manipulated by extremist associations and how he lost control of the situation.[33] Ben Heine was a member of the Don Quichotte World team. He collaborated with the Belgian newspaper La Libre Belgique.[34][35] His political images were exhibited on several news sites and online galleries dedicated to art and cartoons such as Brazilcartoon, Greekartoon, Cartoonworld, and Cartoonru, and MWC News. His cartoons have also been featured on some popular cartoon-Websites of the Middle and Far East World like Arabcartoon, Persiancartoon, Irancartoon as well as on the Chinese Okcomic.

Exhibitions, representatives and sponsorship[edit]


Heine has participated to national culture and charity events through the exhibition of his artwork such as:

His work has also been presented in the main art fairs of Belgium opened to artists only:

Ben Heine is now regularly shown in major European Art Fairs such as the Affordable Art Fair.[36] In addition to exhibitions in Belgium and UK, Heine's work has already been shown in Turkey, Romania, France, Canada, USA, Germany, Brazil, South Korea and Spain.

Actual representatives[edit]

Ben Heine, with his "Pencil vs Camera" and Digital Circlism" projects, is represented by several Art Galleries in the world:

  • The Gallery Garden (Belgium)[37]
  • The AppArt Gallery (Belgium)[38][39]
  • The Art Movement(UK)
  • The Next Gallery (USA, Florida)


Ben Heine is working since early 2010 in collaboration with Samsung SMART CAMERA[40] (Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.) that took him first into his Imageloggers program, then quickly propose him a larger sponsorship relation.[41]


  1. ^ "Pencilled in: Artist turns camera images into surreal landscapes with his sketchpad". The Daily Mail (London). 10 February 2011. 
  2. ^ "Pencil vs Camera by Belgian artist Ben Heine". The Daily Telegraph (London). 3 February 2011. 
  3. ^ Heine, Ben; REX FEATURES (22 March 2011). "Digital Circlism: portraits of celebrities by Ben Heine". Ben Heine (London: The Daily Telegraph). Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  4. ^ Heine, Ben. "Creative photography & artwork of Ben Heine". Peace and Serenity. The D-Photo. Archived from the original on 23 February 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  5. ^ Heine, Ben. "Belgische fototekenaar verovert Engeland". Pencil vs Camera. De Standaard. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  6. ^ Heine, Ben. "Artista belga usa desenhos a lápis para alterar realidade de fotos; veja". Pencil vs Camera. BBC Brazil. Archived from the original on 11 March 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  7. ^ Heine, Ben (18 February 2011). "Jonge Ben Heine verrast met frisse kunst". Brussel TV – Prime time news. Archived from the original on 28 April 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  8. ^ ,Heine, Ben (15 March 2011). "El lápiz que pinta otra realidad". El Pais. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  9. ^ Ben, Heine (10 February 2011). "Pencilled in: Artist turns camera images into surreal landscapes with his sketchpad". Daily Mail (London). Archived from the original on 30 April 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  10. ^ Heine, Ben (2 March 2011). "My Project: Drawing on Creativity". Pop Photography. Archived from the original on 29 April 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  11. ^ Heine, Ben (24 January 2011). "Ben Heine: Lápis vs. Fotografia". Obvious magazine. Archived from the original on 1 May 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  12. ^ Heine, Ben. "Artist of the Week: Ben Heine – Pencil Vs Camera". Pencil vs Camera. E-Junkie. Archived from the original on 9 April 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  13. ^ Heine, Ben. "Buzz 2010 – Selection of online publications". Ben Heine. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  14. ^ Heine, Ben (29 April 2010). "Pencil versus Camera by Ben Heine". Pencil vs Camera. Abduzeedo. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  15. ^ Heine, Ben. "Ben Heine: Pencil vs Camera". Pencil vs Camera. MO Illusions. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  16. ^ Heine, Ben (18 March 2011). "Famosos ganham retratos feitos com círculos". Criativa. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  17. ^ Heine, Ben (23 March 2011). "Circular celebrity portraits leave us seeing spots". Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  18. ^ Heine, Ben (17 March 2011). "CIRCLES CELEBRITY PORTRAITS BY BEN HEINE". Trends Now. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  19. ^ Heine, Ben (3 March 2011). "Celebrities as Circles". Short List. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  20. ^ Heine, Ben (17 March 2011). "Digital Circle Celebrities". Trands Hunter. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  21. ^ Heine, Ben (22 March 2011). "Digital Circlism: portraits of celebrities by Ben Heine". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  22. ^ Heine, Ben (16 March 2011). "Celebrity Portraits Made from Thousands of Circles". My Modern Metropolis. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  23. ^ Heine, Ben (25 February 2011). "Pencil v Camera: The surreal art of Ben Heine". Archived from the original on 29 April 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  24. ^ Heine, Ben (22 January 2011). "The creative genius of Ben Heine:….to boldly go where no man has gone before.!". Photographers Hall of Fame. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  25. ^ Heine, Ben. "Celebrity Portraits Made from Thousands of Circles". My Modern Metropolis. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  26. ^ Heine, Ben (5 July 2010). "Interview of Ben Heine for MakeMyCreative!". Make my Creative. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  27. ^ Heine, Ben (18 March 2010). "Beautiful & Inspiring Artworks by Ben Heine". Abduzeezo. Archived from the original on 1 May 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  28. ^ – interviews
  29. ^ "Belgians rapped for accepting 'anti-Semite' cartoonist". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 14 May 2009. Retrieved 15 February 2011. 
  30. ^ Adam Levick, "Anti-Semitic Cartoons on Progressive Blogs", 1 September 2010, Institute for Global Jewish Affairs Accessed 5 March 2011
  31. ^ Accessed 5 March 2011
  32. ^ – Ben Heine – open letter to the Jewish Community
  33. ^ Heine, Ben. "J'ai été l'un des rares Européens à participer au "concours de dessin sur l'Holocauste". Cela a été la plus grande erreur de ma vie. Je le regrette amèrement.". Viviane Teitelbaum. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  34. ^ Heine, Ben (26 August 2006). "Le Genocide des Liens". La Libre Belgique. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  35. ^ Heine, Ben (21 October 2006). "Les élections ne font pas la démocratie". Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  36. ^ Heine, Ben. "Exhibition". Affordable Art Fair. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  37. ^ Heine, Ben. "Exhibition". Gallery Garden. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  38. ^ Heine, Ben. "Exhibition". Appart Gallery. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  39. ^ Heine, Ben. "Exhibition". Appart Gallery. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  40. ^ Heine, Ben (12 July 2010). "Interview with imagelogers, 1st Story – Ben Heine, a Belgian Artist". Samsung Imaging. Archived from the original on 26 April 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  41. ^ Heine, Ben. "Ben Heine's sponsor". Ben Heine. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 

External links[edit]

Inline Citations[edit]

  • "Artist turns camera images into surreal landscape" (Mail Online) 3 February 2011
  • "Wereld valt voor Belgische fototekeningen" (Het Nieuwsblad) 5 May 2010
  • "El lapiz que pinta otra realidad" (El Pais) 15 March 2011
  • "Drawing on Creativity" (Pop Photography) 2 March 2011
  • "Ben Heine, l'artista che completa la foto con un disegno" (La Repubblica) 15 March 2011
  • "Snap! It's a draw" (Daily Mirror) 28 April 2010