Ben by Marcello Rampazzo
SIMON CRISP: Your images seem to have got a lot more popular in the past 12 months, are they getting a lot more views online?
BEN HEINE: Yes, it’s true all these Pencil Vs Camera images have been heavily seen on the web. There was an amazing buzz when I started the series. Although people are getting used to this concept, the interest didn’t end yet. Each time I post a new PvsC, there is a new audience peak. Among all my pictures, the PvsC creations are the most viewed, commented and rated everyday… Of course, all this came as a surprise for me. It’s totally impossible nowadays to predict how the public will react… hard work is always important and a key factor but there is certainly a bit of coincidence and chance too. Beside its simplicity, the force of this concept is that it allows the viewer to travel in a fantasy world and there is no boundary to imagination.
Have you had many gallery exhibitions of your work?
Yes, many! I’ve been exhibiting Pencil Vs Camera and Digital Circlism in various art galleries and art events in Belgium, USA and soon in UK, France and Germany. Slowly, I manage to make a living out of my work, which is important if I want to keep on developing new creative projects.
I understand your method for creating the images has changed slightly (printed background scenery) can you explain this?
Yes, there are actually 4 different methods to achieve the same results (see below). Most of the time I choose the traditional way, being as genuine as possible, it is always a hand made drawing started from scratch. As said in our previous interview, I simply draw something that comes in my mind on a small piece of paper and then take a picture of it with a realistic background behind. May I also suggest you to see this very recent video report intending to quickly show the way I’m making a Pencil Vs Camera image.
And here are the 4 possible methods:
A) (Traditional way++) Make a drawing on paper; take a picture of your hand holding it with a nice scenery behind. When it’s possible, try to draw things that are more or less connected with the environment behind the paper but don’t forget that there needs to be a contrast between your imagination and the reality of the photo (this is the technique I have used most of the time).
B) (Traditional way+) Take a photo of a great place, print it in big size, make a surreal drawing still connected with the atmosphere of the photo, place the drawing over the picture with your hand holding it, take a new picture of this composition, reframe and retouch the arrangement afterwards if necessary.
C) (Digital way+) Take a photo of your hand holding the paper with a drawing on it, take another photo of any landscape, match them and assemble them afterwards in a photo editing software.
D) (Digital way++) Make a full digital work: create a digital drawing over a digital painting (landscape + paper), you don’t even need a camera if you choose this method, but you’ve got to have some good skills in painting to make everything look natural.
How many works have you created now?
I made 49 Pencil Vs Camera pieces so far and there are a few other variations, which I didn’t name “Pencil Vs Camera” but that carry exactly the same concept… For instance that one.
Which are your favourites?
I like especially those that show the paper in fire (For instance that one) because I think they convey a special emotion. The viewers realize that something is happening. It is an instant captured by my camera that will never be repeated. I also like those that have a strong vanishing point/perspective (For instance that one) because the illusion of depth is more interesting.
Have you been approached to create any images for advertising? (I wish Newslite made enough money to do this)
I receive many new propositions every day from individuals and also from private companies. I’m lucky to have a commercial associate to help me manage all these requests. I know that using the “Pencil Vs Camera” concept for any advertising company would devalue the artistic quality of the series, so right now I prefer to focus on collaborations with art galleries solely… But I’m open to any attractive suggestions.
(*) Newslite is a website publishing "odd and quirky news stories".