Ben Heine interviewed
by MyDesy (*)
Please tell MyDesy readers about your art and design background and what made you become an artist and designer.
I have been drawing, painting and taking photos as a professional for almost 10 years now. I briefly studied sculpture and traditional painting in Hastings (England). I'm mainly a self taught visual artist. I also have a degree in Journalism which helped me having a global view of the world we live in.
Where can we find you (Twitter/Site/Blog/….)?
You can follow my work on many online networks. I'm an active member on Twitter, Blogger, Flickr, DeviantArt, Facebook, etc... you may just find me by searching my name on any of these social websites. I'm also going to show and sell my creations in a new website called "The Artistery" (coming soon).
Do you work in an office? What is your routine like?
Well, not really. I work as a freelance creator from home. I usually spend most of my time developing new ideas and personal projects. From time to time, I also focus on specific commissions.
Your work is full of creativity mixing painting with photos but with a sort of humor. Do you ever get stuck with creativity block? What would you do to get out of it?
I've never had any kind of creativity block because I always try to not be stuck in one single graphic discipline. I get bored very quickly when I do the same type of work during several weeks. So I just do my best to find new forms of visual expression, new graphic styles, sometimes merging together various techniques I've already experimented. This is very exciting for me and it really helps to convey ideas and concepts in a different way.
You’re developing a new technique called Circlism, would you please introduce us to this?
Yes, I have recently been working on "digital circlism", making several portraits of famous people (such as Bob Marley and Lady Gaga among others, I'm now making a circlist portrait of Elvis Presley). This is a totally new technique and I'm still discovering and improving it. Circlism is a mix between pointillism and Pop Art. Every of my circlist creation is made with several thousands of little circles on a black background. The colored circles are digitally applied one by one in a non automated way. The most important for me is to focus on the dynamic lines of the represented subject and to generate a nicely textured image with a 3D illusion.
Could you describe for us your typical 'start to finish' workflow when working on a design?
It really depends on the type of graphic work I'm doing. Retouching and improving photos is usually the easiest and fastest task for me. Complex photo-montages are a bit more time consuming. Making full and inventive digital paintings is the most difficult and challenging but also the most rewarding. It takes more time and usually requires preparatory sketche/studies and a step by step creation process. One circlist portrait takes me several days of work at least.
What, for you personally, are the pros and cons of being a designer?
I see lots of advantages. Working in the visual communication field offer many professional possibilities and designs are always needed to express any kind of ideas and concepts. But graphic art also has clear limits in the impact it can have, I think it will never be able to generate strong emotions as music can do for instance. Music is definitely more powerful.
How does your job as a designer influence your life? Do you feel that you see things around you differently for example?
I really just feel like a "regular everyday normal guy" (Jon La Joie), lol. Everything around me influences me, that's for sure. I always try to make art with the simple elements that surround me.
What are your tools of the trade, both hardware and software?
I work on a nice Mac and use well known softwares such as Photoshop, Alchemy, Illustrator, Painter... I have a basic Wacom digital tablet... and an old Nikon D7O camera (I'll soon have a better camera and more powerful tablet, can't wait...).
What are your plans for the future? Any creative work coming up, or that you're currently working on, that you're excited about?
I'm going to finish my "Pencil Vs Camera" series. Then I intend to make a few more circlist portraits. And I'll be working on new creative series in the coming weeks. But I can't already reveal precisely what it will be.
What are your favourite 5 websites, and why?
I like Abduzeedo, CGArena, Flickr, DeviantArt and ToonPool. The first 2 always bring interesting art news and exclusive updates with quality content, the 3 others have another purpose and present the artworks of thousands of famous and less famous artists. As a journalist, I really like finding new talents as well. And I'm now going to visit more often MyDesy, which I just discovered recently...
Once again , thank you very much for the interview. As a final word, do you have any tips for upcoming artists and designers?
My one and only piece of advice would be to suggest them to bring new content to the graphic world by following their own path and to never forget their initial dreams.
(*) This interview also appeared in Chinese on MyDesy.com