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My interview with photographer and cartoonist Ben Heine

I post my interview with photographer and cartoonist Ben Heine. This interview was done for the first issue of the journal Very Normal People (www.marksterling.net), in what I write now. As the issue of the magazine came out, i`m allowing  to put this interview on my page.

Benjamin Heine (www.benheine.com) is a talented artist from Ivory coast who is currently living in Brussels.He is a Belgian graphic journalist, cartoonist, caricaturist and painter born in June 12th 1983. He studied art and journalism and currently produces political art relating to day international issues. His messages to the world are coming through photography and illustration.

Tell us more about yourself, where are you from , what is your life like.

I’m a graphic artist living in Brussels, Belgium. I am 26 year old, I was born in Ivory Coast (Africa), and lived there 7 years, I now live and work in Brussels, the European capital. I spend most of my time creating and taking care of the people I love around me.

What is your job related to? How inspires you?

I have a day job, which is not related to art. This is just to make a living. It is time consuming but necessary. This activity forces me to go straight to the point in my creative work. I also work as a freelance illustrator for different magazines and newspaper.

What is your personal philosophy and is it any way embedded  into your creativity?

I have always had a very generous conception of art, I don’t like the way art is nowadays used for commercial purposes only and proposed to the elite, I think everybody should have the chance to see and enjoy graphic art. My artistic work is mainly the result of what influences me and inspires me the most in my close environment.

What difficulties do you meet in your work?

Every new day and every art project is a new challenge implying different difficulties. Finding creative solutions is what makes this job so fun.

Are you currently working on more than one project?

Yes, I always work on several projects in the same time, I don’t know if it is the best way to do, but I feel comfortable doing this and I think it’s useful to not be stuck on the same task. It fits my profile and I think I’d be even slower if I was focussing on the same activity.

Where do you see yourself  in… say, 10 years?

I definitely see myself probably doing the same things but in another country. Belgium is nice but it’s cold and boring. I’d like to find a long-term job in the art industry. With the current financial crisis, it’s difficult for everybody but artists are some of the people who are the less needed right now. Bankers and insurers are kind of more popular right now…

In the Gulf has always had an interest in people like you. Would you accept to work in this part of the world, if you received a proposal?

Yes, of course, I’d be really interested! It is even faster now to work with faraway collaborators with the information and communication technologies. Why not living there too? I have a couple of talented friends and artist colleagues living in the Gulf. I also think it’s a fascinating place in constant development.

You know that nowadays the principles are different from the past. To succeed, you need to be different. Our magazine is called Very Normal People – how would you define the  „normal people“ of today?

I agree, difference is always important but normality is also good. It’s funny to realize that very different people often try to be as normal as they can while many “normal persons” do their best to pretend to be different. I think it is related to your culture, your lifestyle, your purposes and your personal opinion of life. I guess normal people would not even bother trying to know what normal people are, they would just carry on their live as it is. And this is a great choice.

You’re really interesting and creative person with all your different worldviews. Do you have a preference for any of your activities – photography, cartoons?

Thank you, I’m very honored and glad to be interviewed by your magazine! Photography and Illustration are indeed my two main interests. I don’t prefer one or the other. My photos are often non-political while my paintings and drawings have a strong political content with sometimes a provocative meaning. Choosing one or the other graphic option really depends on my mood and the message I wish to convey at a particular moment of history.

What is your message to our readers?

Try to find your own path and truth. Try to make the people around you happy. Believe in your most crazy ideals and dreams. If you don’t, they will never become true.

This interview was published with pictures in VNP Magazine, March 2010

Ruslan Trad

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