Interview for Aha Daily (*)

digital photography and drawing. Which one was your first passion and - See more at:
introspection, light painting, long exposure, photography, Ben Heine
Introspection, 2013
digital photography and drawing. Which one was your first passion and - See more at:
(You can also read the following interview at
digital photography and drawing. Which one was your first passion and - See more at:

Nishu Kakkar: Tell us a little bit about yourself? Where is your home? How long have you been a visual artist? What factors favored you in becoming a successful visual artist today?

Ben Heine: I was born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in 1983, I moved to Brussels, Belgium, in 1990 and I now live in Rochefort, a small city in Belgium. I’ve been working on graphic projects, mainly illustration and photography, for over 20 years.
Different - Ben Heine Photography - Long exposure with torches
Different © Ben Heine

Well, I don’t think I’m a successful artist. Firstly because the graphic design industry is totally sick and insignificant in comparison to other creative industries such as music and film. Secondly because there are many aspects I need to improve in my personal evolution. It’s true I do have the chance to get exposure when I post a new creation, I suppose because I’m young and rather active on social networks, but exposure doesn’t pay bills! Exposure is an illusion and a rather useless fantasy. What matters now is generating money and making a decent living with my art or I'll have to stop it.
digital photography and drawing. Which one was your first passion and - See more at:

I’ve always invested a lot of time and energy in my passions. I was doing things alone from the beginning, I have no assistants and I always learned on my own, so everything requires more time and efforts but it’s also very nice to be in control and to decide myself which direction to take! I despise those artists who pay a bunch of assistants to do the difficult work and don’t even credit them!

Theodor Heine
Theodor Heine born in 2012
What is your current state of mind before we continue with this interview?

Well, right now, it’s the middle of the night and many wishes, thoughts and hopes are spinning in my head. I’m contemplative, introspective, reflective and sensitive. I feel happy because I’ve had a beautiful baby boy who is now 1 year old. I also discovered some new passions that will help me not be blocked in my creative projects. I dream of harmony and I really wish I can keep growing as an artist.

Besides the various forms of visual arts seen from you so far, which new form/s can we expect from you in coming years?

Ben Heine doing electronic music - 2012
Ben working on a music track
I plan to end my “Pencil Vs Camera” series. I’m always trying to develop and improve the concept so that it’s constantly changing. I don’t want people to get bored with this idea. I don’t know exactly what I’ll do next. I started making music and this passion is literally eating me alive and I wish I could spend 100% of my time on it but unfortunately I have too many ongoing graphic projects. I’ll need to find new ways to express and renew myself. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m sure it’s achievable.

Which has been your most memorable assignment and why?

I’m sorry, I can’t say, I really tend to forget all my past projects. I don’t remember any of them. I can only say some were a bit more time consuming and difficult to make than others.

We know that each of us has someone or something, which inspires our life and work. Can you tell us the true basis of your inspiration?

 Inspiration comes from anywhere
Fear of death and anxiety are the main reasons giving me energy and motivation to create new projects. Childhood wounds are also playing an important role in my life as artist, bringing me the strength to surpass myself daily. Anything and everything, usually very small things, inspire me, I love to search for universal truths in tiny random events. Finally, I am a very competitive person, I like to test myself and to challenge others, of course, if I fail, I’ll try to fight more to succeed. If there is no chance at all, I'll simply give up and try something different.

What remains your biggest fear and biggest success as a multi skilled person?

One of my fears is to get lost in my different passions. Combining drawing and photography was rather easy so far. It’s harder to switch from my graphic to my music projects. But on the other hand, when I’ll have learned and mastered all the tools available in these fields, it will be a big strength and a powerful means of expression.

If you could live anywhere on this planet where would you build your dream home?

I think it could be in a quiet village in the USA, I'd love that!

List out your 5 most popular creations in your portfolio.

according to my sites stats:

Artwork by Ben Heine (Vertigo, Drawing, Photography)
Pencil Vs Camera 32 ©Ben Heine
No1: Pencil Vs Camera 73 (Double Identity, drawing, photo...) No2: Pencil Vs Camera 57 (Crow landing on girl in London) No3: Pencil Vs Camera 58 (Cat and dog, sweet duo in Spain) No4: Pencil Vs Camera 32 (Vertigo, optical illusion, in Germany...) No5: Planet Paris (Paris seen from the top of the Eiffel tower)

List out any 5 random sites/blogs from where you gain inspiration.

I’m not very proud to say that I almost never visit art blogs or other online resources. I don’t want to be influenced in any way. What I usually do is listen to news and science podcasts or music when I’m working. And I watch National Geographic or Discovery Channel during my breaks. That’s it.

If you could choose it, what would your legacy in the industry be? What is it that you want to be remembered for?

Innovation, fearlessness, unconventionality, independence.

What pieces of advice would you give to an amateur visual artist?

Portrait of Ben Heine by Thomas David - Photography
Ben Heine at Tour de France Photo
Be confident. Trust yourself. Try the untried. Learn from your mistakes and always remember that only efforts and hard work will bring you success, satisfaction and happiness. Be faithful and thankful to the people who helped and supported you and consider forgiving those who tried to destroy you. Don’t believe in providence. Always believe in your skills.

Which five words would your friends use to describe you?

Crazy, Solitary, hard worker, hyperactive, emotive.

(*) is a blog about art, design and creative technologies