Interview with Ben Heine

Hi Ben, today MoW selected five of your artwork inspired by music artists . Can you tell MoW more about the singers and muscians you chose for your artworks?

I often opt for celebrities I personally like, mainly singers, musicians, actors or politicians. I mainly choose singers and musicians who impress me with their music or aura.

The five artworks MoW is showing today were created using the technique of « Digital Circlism ». What is it exactly ?

It is a modern artistic expression, a mix of Pop Art and Pointillism. It is made with digital tools usually featuring celebrities made of thousands of flat circles on a black background. Each circle has a different color, a different size and a different tone. I often make a photomontage first using a bunch of references, then a digital painting and I finally apply my "digital circlist" technique. When making a portrait with circles, it is important to focus on the dynamic movement of someone's face. I place each circle one by one, there is no automatic process, it's a time consuming method. Several softwares can be used to achieve “digital circlist” images.

- How old is the technique? - How did it start? 

I made my first portrait with digital circles in February 2010. It's a new technique, evolving all the time. I started it with flat circles, I might be creating other patterns soon. I've been making all kinds of portraits since more than 15 years. I wanted to develop a very original technique.  As I've been working with digital tools recently, this came quite naturally.

- How long does it take you to create a piece? 

It generally takes between 100 and 180 hours for a single portrait. For example, the « Eminem » portrait took me some 9 days of intense work. It is exclusively made with "flat circles" on a black background. I first made a photomontage using several references, then a digital painting and I finally applied my "digital circlist" technique (I placed each circle one by one, there is no automatic process). Every circle has a different color, a different tone and a different size. It's a time consuming method. I wanted this image to reflect Eminem's personality. He may be a controversial and provocative singer, I think he's an extremely clever and interesting person, he always comes up with some completely amazing stuff, with new, powerful and unexpected lyrics and melodies. He is a poet of modern times.

- If you had to choose between them, which of your artwork would be your favorite ? 

In the Circle series? I like the Bob Marley portrait.

Do you listen to music when your working ? If so, what is the kind of music you would listen to ?

Yes, I always listen to music when working, mainly electronic or progressive house.

- What is the song you liked the most lately? What album ? What was the last gig you went to ?

I'm never going to concerts. I like the new Eminem album « The Marshall Mathers LP 2 »

-Do you have plans on creating new artworks inspired by singers/musiciens?

No new plans right now.

- Are you a musician yourself ? If so can you tell MoW more about your music projects ?

I want to make music now because I can feel it is more powerful and it generates more emotions than graphic art. That will be my resolution for 2014. But my project is top secret so far...


Stay tuned with Ben Heine’s new art and music projects :