Ben by Mosen
You were born in Ivory Coast but live in Belgium. Tell us more about your family and career. How did you start to work in Brussels?

My family is originally from Brussels, Belgium. My parents traveled to Ivory Coast from 1980 to 1990, mainly for professional reasons. I lived there 7 years as a child. We all came back to Brussels in 1990. I’ve been living, studying and working in Belgium since then. I briefly studied painting and sculpture in Hastings, England and I also studied Journalism in Brussels and in Utrecht (The Netherlands). I made all kinds of jobs as an employee before managing to make a living out of my art projects. I intend to move abroad permanently as soon as there will be an interesting opportunity. Who knows what will come next.

You are both a photographer and a cartoonist and your project Pencil Vs Camera became very popular. How did you come up with the idea to combine both arts in it?

The original idea came quite naturally. I’ve been drawing and taking photos since a long time. I aimed to mix 2 of my passions in a very crazy and new way. Pencil Vs Camera was born.

If you have to choose between a camera or a pencil – what would be your choice?

I think I would opt for the pencil. I really like traditional art especially drawing on paper, you don’t need anything else than a pencil and a piece of paper, which are some of the most simple, accessible and creative tools, and you can express everything you want with them.

Are there different ways to make such an image?

Yes, several methods can be used to make “Pencil Vs Camera” images. There are traditional and digital techniques. But the result is always the same. The concept is really easy to understand: mix drawing and photography. The most important is to find nice and original ideas. Traveling inside your own imagination is something really exciting.

Do you have a favorite image among all of them?

My latest project is always my favorite one. When I’m finished with a new work, I usually forget it very quickly, I’m only thinking about the next one…

You are also a Samsung imageloger. We saw an interesting 360 degrees panorama of Cologne. How did you start working with the brand and what are your projects with it?

Samsung Imaging sent me an email one year ago; they wanted to start a partnership and sponsorship. The material they sent me is very nice and powerful. It’s some very amazing gear. I try to make the best use of it. If all goes well, we will expand our collaboration and build sponsored events and exhibitions around the world.

Your project Digital Circlism portraits different persons - from Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley to Lady Gaga and Eminem. How do you choose the persons to portray?

I usually make portraits of persons I really admire and find exceptional not especially for their work but mostly for their personality and unique vision of the world.

Tell us more about your digital circlist technique. Do you know exactly how many circles there are in the images you create?

That’s a very good question. I usually don’t count the circles... They are too many of them in every portrait, may be several thousands for each image, but that’s only an approximation, it might be even more for some works.

How long does it take you to create one image? Which one was the most difficult?

Digital Circlism is a very time consuming, challenging and technical way of making portraits; it can take between 100 and 180 hours of work for one single picture. The first steps of the creation process are very important and require application and concentration: find references, create a montage, make a digital painting and finally apply flat circles one by one. In the final steps, I often work like a robot, listening to music and radio podcasts, so that my eyes can stay focused on the image. I always try to put a lot of work and energy in each project.

Why did you choose to work with circles (not with squares for example)?

The circle is a simple, magic and very aesthetically pleasing shape.

What do you know about Bulgaria? Have you ever been here?

Although I’ve never been to Bulgaria yet, I know it’s one of the rising European countries with a huge cultural heritage. Bulgarian way of life was influenced by various nations but it has managed to preserve its national character (a bit like here in Belgium). I hope I’ll have the opportunity to exhibit my creations there soon and to discover Bulgarian traditions!

What would you wish to our readers?

Happiness, success, health and luck!

(*) Rouge is a monthly fashion and lifestyle magazine based in Bulgaria.
Rouge Magazine - Bulgaria (2011)