Living off his hobby – Raj copes with financial worries by using his talent

Daniel Nilesh Raj paints some frangipani flowers at home. Picture: SUPPLIED

Renowned Italian painter Leonardo da Vinci once said “painting is like poetry that is seen rather than felt”.

Daniel Nilesh Raj’s work epitomises that expression. The arts have been a part of Raj’s life since he was a little boy. Now that hobby has blossomed.

“Initially, I was a sketch artist, back in primary school,” the Waiyavi, Lautoka resident said.

“After completing primary and high school I managed to get a job but that did not stop me from continuing my sketches.”

After a few years of sketching Raj decided to take a leap of faith and try out painting.

“My sketching and paintings were only done as a hobby since I was busy most times with work.”

It wasn’t long before he was laid off from work because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I worked as a floor supervisor at Mikis Supermarket in Lautoka and I was also a manager at Sharm Hangers.

“It was pretty tough for me since that was my only source of income, but I am ever so grateful to the Barter for Better Facebook page because through this platform I was able to barter the paintings I had done in exchange for groceries.”

Raj said it was after a few exchanges on Facebook that people began placing orders for his paintings.

“I wasn’t expecting this, but I am grateful it happened because it helped me a lot.

“Then I did murals at the Rakiraki, Lautoka and the Sigatoka municipal markets too.” He said painting brings about inner peace.

“I always paint when I’m in the mood. It soothes my mind and transports me to a different world. Raj plans to open his own art studio in the coming years.

“I don’t have a studio at the moment, so I am currently painting out of the comfort of my home.

“My personal favourite paintings are on sensitive issues, and I was blessed that two were sold during the VAVA art exhibitions, but my favourite was sold at the Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay.”

He said after being laid off from work during the pandemic, painting has been his steady source of income for the past three years.

“I sell my paintings on Facebook and sometimes my customers and Facebook friends recommend me to their families and friends too.

“The price of my paintings starts from $120 and goes on depending on the details and size of the work.”

His message to youths is “start believing in yourself and in whatever you are doing. Always be positive and work on your dreams every day so can succeed.”

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