Artist Ben Heine blends pencil, photography, imagination and reality

[From The Daily Mail, where the story includes many additional images]

Pencil vs reality… where do you draw the line? The incredible optical illusions created by artist

By Kerry Mcqueeney
Last updated 26th September 2011

You have often heard about art imitating life, but an artist has taken the saying to a whole new level with an incredible collection of drawings that reveal a masterful eye for illusion.

Reality meets fantasy in this amazing series of drawings which are to be exhibited at art shows in London next month.

Using expertly-drawn sketches, Belgian artist Ben Heine blends pencil, photography, imagination and reality – and the results are truly astonishing.

Heine describes himself as a multidisciplinary visual artist who is inspired by people and nature.

The 28-year-old grew up in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where he lived for seven years with his parents and three sisters before moving back to Brussels in 1990.

He has become well-known for three art concepts he has been working on, including his Pencil Vs Camera project.

Describing it as ‘full of magic, illusion, poetry and surrealism’, Ben said Pencil Vs Camera is ‘new visual invention’ which mixes drawing, photography, imagination and reality.

He said: ‘I just make art for people. I want them to dream and forget their daily troubles.

‘I used to write poems many years ago, I want to convey a poetic and philosophical meaning into my pictures, each new creation should tell a story and generate an intense emotion, like a poem, like a melody.’

Part of his method involves him ensuring his hand is visible in every picture – to represent the connection between the viewer, the artist and the artwork.

He also always makes sure the sketch is in black and white, while the photograph is often brightly coloured to maxmise the contrast.

Ben’s creations have become a internet hit – and has had a significant impact on the graphic design community.

The artist said he has been deeply influenced by Belgian Surrealism, German Expressionism, American Pop Art and Social Realism.

He has also created two other art projects for which he has become well-known for: Digital Circlism and Flesh and Acrylic.

Ben’s work is to be exhibited at a number of forthcoming art shows in London next month.

He will feature at the Art London exhibition, at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, from October 6 to October 10; the Affordable Art Fair at Battersea from October 20 to October 23 and Affordable Art Fair in Hampstead between October 27 and October 30.

He is represented by several art galleries in the world, including The Gallery Garden and the AppArt Gallery in Belgium; The Art Movement Gallery in the UK; and The Next Gallery in U.S.

See more of Ben Heine’s work at: www.benheine.com/index.php

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