Art is usually thought as a talent possessed by those who practice it on a daily basis but for Ananias Felix, a painter, photographer and dentist, art can be practiced and made by anyone as long as they have passion for it.
On August 29, Ananias conducted his first art workshop at Train 2 Gain center situated at Upanga in Dar es Salaam. As I walked in the workshop venue, there were about 12 participants and flanked by assistants.
The ambiance of the workshop was remiscent of an old café with built-in small tables whose top held canvas supported by wooden standings. Beside the canvas were brand new painting brushes, a mid-sized transparent container filled with water and a set of acrylic painting colours. In the middle of the setting were two completed paintings, the creative work of Ananias. One of the pieces was a black painting with three faces of monkeys drawn in different poses, the other was a portrait painting of Martin Luther King Jr.
The participants were then given several instructions along with a small book written by Ananias himself containing all basics for acrylic painting.
“Painting is a talent that can be nurtured with time. Since I started sharing my talent with the world, one of the requests that I have received is people asking me to teach them how to draw. It then occured to me that many people are eager to learn how to draw but they have not met a person to teach them the basics. I decided to be one of the first to share my painting knowledge,” Ananias explains.
He further hints that to some people painting, let alone drawing, is seen as expensive since it involves materials such as colours, canvas and brushes.
“With this workshop I aimed at changing the perception that art is expensive and for certain ‘talented’ people. That is the reason I chose acrylic kind of painting because it is affordable and the easiest kind of painting to master especially for beginners. At the very beginning of the workshop, I shared with the participants affordable places to purchase painting materials for when they decide to take their painting further,” Ananias details.
Despite being a self-taught painter, Ananias is a dentist currently interning at Muhimbili National hospital.
“Art became my hobby when I was in standard four. I slowly nurtured my drawing skills by using water colours. When I became a secondary student, I started taking painting seriously after noticing how other students took their hobbies with keen interest. I then began viewing pencil drawing as more than just a pass-time. People started noticing my creative work and were awed by my skills, this challenged me to become even better,” he recalls.
As he improved his drawing skills, Ananias started getting drawing commissions from fellow students.
“When people found out I was an artist after they saw my work of arts, most of them wanted me to draw their portraits and that was the first time I started getting drawing commissions. I recall one of the drawings I sold in the beginning was priced at Sh5,000 and the prices increased over time,” Ananias detailed.
He further explains “As time sped by, I realised that I wanted to expand my expertise. Through online courses I started learning about acrylic painting, but the course added the theatrical side of the craft and this made me to start reaching out to several artists including Mjindo who were experienced in that field. They assisted me by connecting me to shops where I could purchase acrylic painting materials as well as taking me through the basics of acrylic painting.”
According to Ananias, there are two kinds of people when it becomes to art: Those who would compliment your work and straight away ask for prices as well, and then there are those who develop interest to learn how you make your work of art.
He says it has been quite an impactful life especially since he has another profession apart from being a painter.
“My passion for painting and art in general is what has groomed me to set time for it out of my busy schedule because I usually work from morning to evening as a dentist, then I use my resting time -- after work hours to paint commission projects and my own projects for my collection,” Ananias explains.
He reveals that his work as a painter has so far changed his perspective of life especially after he gets feedback from from customers and general art lovers.
“Despite my own admiration of my collection, I have clients who admit how my work made them feel from the moment they set eyes on it. I have testimonials of clients who after they hung my work on the wall, it gave them something beautiful to look at every day and how motivated they felt afterwards,” Ananias says.