Multidisciplinary Artist and JOUrnalist

ben heine artist biographyBen Heine is a  multifaceted Belgian artist and journalist known for his innovative approach to visual art and content creation. His body of work spans various disciplines, including traditional drawing, painting, photography, live art performances, e-marketing, journalism, digital technology and music, making him a versatile artist, entrepreneur and content creator of the digital age.

Born in June 1983, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and living in Belgium since 1990, Heine’s upbringing in a diverse cultural environment has significantly influenced his eclectic artistic style and mindset. He has a Master degree in Journalism completed at IHECS school of Journalism in Brussels and 23 years of work experience in visual art projects, content creation, e-marketing, communication and video production. He also studied History of Art, Painting and Sculpture at Hastings College of Arts & Technology in the UK and at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.

Ben Heine’s journey as an artist is characterized by constant innovation and a refusal to be confined by traditional boundaries. His inventions, such as Pencil Vs Camera and Digital Circlism, have left a lasting impact on the art world starting in 2010, offering new ways to engage with visual culture. Through his creativity, worldwide exhibitions, marketing acumen, and content creation, Heine has cultivated a significant following, making him one of the notable contemporary artists to bridge the gap between traditional art techniques and digital technology.

Ben Heine hails from a richly diverse background: his father, a Belgian commercial engineer, often journeyed to Africa and Eastern Europe, while his mother, also Belgian, balanced her roles as a psychologist, choreographer, and dance teacher. Ben’s family circle includes three sisters, each carving their own path as a psychologist, a lawyer, and a political scientist, respectively. Ben is a father to three children. The tapestry of his heritage weaves together threads from France, Belgium, Poland, and Germany, courtesy of his grandparents, creating a vibrant mosaic of origins.
Ben Heine ExhibitionHis creative projects have been exhibited and auctioned in famous museums, art fairs and art galleries in numerous solo and group exhibitions across the globe including Belgium, France, Hong Kong, South Korea, the UK, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Germany, France, Canada, the USA, Russia, Romania, Spain, Turkey, Brazil, China, Congo, Tunisia among other countries. His artworks have been published and broadcasted in some of several famous media channels including The BBC, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, among others.

The unique Pencil Vs Camera concept is currently widely used into educational settings, offering students a novel approach to visual communication that blends reality with imagination. This concept is having a profound impact on students, offering them a unique lens through which to view the world around them. It has empowered students to explore their creativity, develop new skills, and express themselves in innovative ways.

Ben Heine is a fervent traveler, reveling in the exploration of novel cities and diverse cultures, each proving to be an abundant wellspring of inspiration for his creative endeavors. A documentary about his work was released in 2012. Printed books about Pencil Vs Camera and other art concepts from Ben Heine were released starting in 2017. His work continues to inspire and challenge viewers, inviting them to look beyond the surface and explore the depths of imagination.

Many of Ben Heine’s artworks are available for sale globally as prints or on premium finishing as limited edition prints through his network of official partners. Originals can also be found in art galleries or through private collectors.

Through years of experience and guidance from his Master’s in Journalism, coupled with two decades of working with global corporations, Ben Heine has honed his expertise in crafting creative content and excelling in e-marketing. His proficiency lies in aiding numerous brands to revamp and enhance their online identity. He is dedicated to generating and endorsing original content, including high-value creative video reports, while providing the optimal digital tools to amplify sales and optimize online visibility for these brands. Through his career path, Heine also became the ambassador of famous brands such as Samsung and Mazda among others.

Pencil Vs Camera: When Imagination Meets Reality

Pencil Vs Camera Ben HeineBen Heine is perhaps best known for his pioneering work in creating the Pencil Vs Camera series, a revolutionary blend of drawing and photography that showcases a seamless integration of hand drawn sketched images with real-life backgrounds materialized in a single photo. This series, initiated in 2010, gained international acclaim for its creativity and the way it blurs the lines between two-dimensional and three-dimensional worlds, offering a fresh perspective on everyday scenes. It is a human made form of art that cannot yet be imititated by AI generated softwares. Strangely, some of the images in this series are also predicting and illustrating some major historic events such as the Covid19 pandemic, space conquest, recent wars, climate change or other environmental and social issues.

The Pencil Vs Camera innovative art concept, a signature hallmark of the artist, stands out as one of the most original and impactful artistic ideas of the 21st century. Typically, the series features a sketch, drawn by the artist and then photographed in his hands, blending into everyday scenes to introduce imaginary elements or visionary narratives. The visible presence of Ben’s hand serves as a bridge, connecting the viewer with both the creator and the creation. Rather than simply replicating photos, Heine reinterprets them, weaving tales and conveying enduring social messages through the use of augmented reality, imagination, illusion, poetry, and surrealism.

Driven by an undaunted optimism, his work takes beautiful photographs and enriches them with sketches that inject humor and a touch of satire evoking profound emotions and intellectual reflection. Starting with basic sketches, Ben introduced significant innovations to his concept, such as incorporating color, using black paper, or enlarging the scale of his drawings.

The initial images of Pencil Vs Camera quickly captured public interest and garnered acclaim from art critics and influential art platforms, opening up international avenues for Heine. Numerous smartphone apps have sought to replicate the distinctive style of Heine’s Pencil Vs Camera, and many artists have adapted and imitated Heine’s breakthroughs, creating their variations of the concept. Moreover, this concept has gained traction in primary and secondary education globally, serving as a tool to spark students’ creativity, encourage the adoption of new technologies and the use of new form of expressions.


Over the years and with the help of his Master in Journalism and 20 years of work experience in with international companies, Ben Heine also specialized in creative content creation and e-marketing, helping thousands of brands reshaping and elevating their brand’s online presence, creating and promoting original content (such as creative video reports, interviews and documentaries with high added value) and offering them the best digital tools to boost their sales and maximize their visibility online.

In the realm of marketing and content creation, Ben Heine has leveraged his artistic skills to engage with a broad audience through social media and other digital platforms. Heine’s use of online marketing strategies has significantly contributed to his international recognition and success. He launched a blog in 2006 which became a distinct news channel on his official website in 2020, being daily updated with original articles on various topics such as e-marketing trends, entrepreneurship, technology, AI trends, web design, copywriting, education, music, photography, gaming, finance, art industry, productivity, video industry, sport tips, healthcare & more. He launched in 2023 a new website called Digital Success aiming to propose essentially e-marketing services, visibility, productivity and AI Tools for brands and companies worldwide.

Flesh and Acrylic: Colorful Invisible Bodies

Flesh and Acrylic Ben Heine Live PerformancesIn this series, Heine creates abstract or figurative acrylic paintings on large wooden panels with lives models or mannequins, which become invisible as the work is created. Once the artwork is completed, it is at first difficult to understand where the silhouette ends and where the painting begins, the two blend together in an abstract and surreal vision where 2D and 3D universes come together. 

Ben Heine’s Flesh and Acrylic series further demonstrates his versatility and creativity, combining painting and photography to create illusions of painted images on the human body, integrated into real-life settings. This renewed body painting work plays with perceptions of reality and artifice, showcasing Heine’s ongoing exploration of visual perception and existentialism.

Ben Heine has produced many Flesh and Acrylic performances at various cultural events around the world. This concept in line with Pop Art ultimately addresses existential questions about the place of humans in their ecosystem. Heine started using still mannequins in addition with living persons, this allowed him to spend more time on each creation and exhibiting the final results later on. Heine created several of the images in this series during live performances in various events and locations.

Digital Circlism: ICONS Portraits Made with Circles

Another notable invention by Heine is Digital Circlism started in 2010, a series where he creates portraits of celebrities and cultural icons using a unique and extremely time-consuming method of digital pointillism, manually composing images with thousands of flat circles on a black background. This technique, inspired by Pointillism and Pop Art invigorated by contemporary digital tools, highlights Heine’s ability to merge traditional art concepts with modern technology.

In this series, Heine updates the pointillism school of art by making the “points” actual recognizable circles with which he creates portraits of pop icons and others. Heine’s circle technique adds a symbolic significance to the subjects portrayed. These portraits are as striking as posters struck from the iconic Alberto Korda photo of Che, but suddenly re-conceived to be projected upon the infinite cyberwall of digital space, a sort of modern stained glass artworks.

Each portrait requires between 100 to 180 hours of work to be completed. The artist explained his workflow in an interview for Adobe Photoshop. In 2015, Heine collaborated with Mazda to create a circle design showing a giant lion’s face on the hood of a Mazda car. Many of Ben’s circle portraits have unfortunately been copied, stolen or plagiarized in various countries around the globe.

Drawing and Photography

From a young age, Ben Heine was captivated by the art of drawing, a passion he describes as his “initial obsession and first love,” attributing its appeal to the simplicity of carrying a pencil and paper. He recalls drawing incessantly, driven by a need to channel his fears and emotions through art. Photography later became his second passion, serving as a powerful medium that allowed him to capture more dramatic, precise, and realistic images than what he felt could be achieved through painting or illustrations alone. Ben has collaborated with numerous models for his photo projects. This transition from drawing to photography was bridged by his interest in painting, which he views as a midpoint between the two. Music emerged as his third passion, leading him to explore live performances.

Astro Cruise Ben HeineHeine has continually refined his drawing techniques, leading to the inception of the Pencil Vs Camera series in 2010 until today. This innovative series marked his foray into blending illustration with photography, a combination that enabled him to produce work with greater impact and realism. Beyond the widely recognized Pencil Vs Camera, Heine’s portfolio includes lesser-known photographic series such as “Double Landscapes,” “Wild Animals Downtown,” and “Black Stickers,” showcasing the breadth and diversity of his creative exploration.

His other series Astro Cruise takes the viewer on a surreal journey through space and time. In this series, watercolour paintings and digital artworks come together to create a unique and captivating experience. Each piece explores the relationship between humans and the vastness of space, inviting the viewer to contemplate our place in the universe. The use of surrealism adds an otherworldly touch to the series, as if the images are glimpses into a parallel dimension.

PROJECTS in schools

Ben Heine has extended his innovative concepts to the educational sector, working along with international schools to incorporate the Pencil Vs Camera concept into their lesson plans and writing specific academic material for students.

Ben Heine’s innovative techniques swiftly garnered the attention of art teachers and academic institutions, leading to collaborations that integrate his creative methodologies into their curricula. Educators from various schools, academies, and educational centers now introduce their students to Heine’s artistic concepts through tailored educational materials. These resources are designed to spark students’ creativity, enhance their skills in drawing and photography, and encourage the exploration of new technologies and augmented reality while using new ways of expression for students. Furthermore, Heine’s work inspires discussions on the intersection of reality and imagination, while also spotlighting the unique aspects of the students’ local communities or schools.

Students are encouraged to either craft their original artworks or begin their creative journey with one of Heine’s sketches, stripped of its original image, providing a foundational element to build upon. These projects often culminate in presentations or exhibitions within their educational environments, fostering a communal dialogue about the created works.

As Heine’s inventive approach to art has been incorporated into the curriculum of numerous primary and secondary schools worldwide, instructional materials on how to apply his techniques are now widely disseminated by educators both online and in print across countries such as France, Canada, China, Brazil, Jordan, Luxembourg, Russia, and the United Kingdom.

Ben Heine actively extends his influence doing interactive workshops and lectures in schools, engaging directly with students and fostering a hands-on understanding of his artistic vision and methodologies. He launched in 2017 an association called CulturArt to maximize his academic projects in schools.


Ben Heine’s art has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions across the globe, from Europe to Asia and the United States. His work has been showcased in galleries, museums, cultural centers, and art fairs, drawing attention for its innovative approach and the unique visual experiences it offers. Heine’s exhibitions often feature a wide range of his artistic outputs, including his Pencil Vs Camera works, Digital Circlism portraits, and Flesh and Acrylic series, among others. He also frequently makes live performances during his exhibitions adding a special original touch to each event.

Ben Heine has showcased his concepts through live performances at numerous esteemed locations globally, detailed on his website. His talent has been displayed in front of audiences at a variety of prestigious venues, including international banks, museums, shopping malls, and academic institutions, among others. This experience not only highlights his widespread recognition but also his ability to engage diverse audiences through his art.

Music Creation

An aspiring musician with an unmolested love for electronic music, Heine plays drums and the piano. He started creating electronic music, writing songs, singing, composing and creating music clips in 2011. Heine wrote: “Music is probably more powerful than graphic art for generating emotions”, a startling confession for an artist whose claim to fame is a non-musical endeavor. His love for music marries well with his love for visual art, “It complements my graphic work and it helps me to grow as a graphic artist too” Ben said. He owned a professional studio from 2012 to 2023. Since 2014, he also collaborates with other musicians and singers. In 2015, Heine music was played for the first time at Moscow Planetarium and other well known venues worldwide. According to press reports, the fact that he made the musical accompaniment of his own exhibitions made them even more singular.

Political Projects

Political art ben heineBen Heine also pursued journalistic projects, contributing to various publications and using his art to comment on social, political, financial, and environmental issues. His early work often reflected a keen observational skill and a desire to communicate complex ideas through visual means. While Heine’s focus has eventually shifted more towards pure art and creativity, his works sometimes still echo the themes and concerns of contemporary society, hinting at his journalistic roots.