Elias Salatiel, well known as Qondja, is a self-taught visual artist, specialising in realistic pencil drawings.
Salatiel started drawing at the age of nine, sketching the Shakes Shikongo comic character and nature. He is an unemployed graduate from NUST, with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
Salatiel told Youth Corner that when he couldn’t land a job due to the ongoing economic crisis in the country, he decided to use his talent and draw portraits of people to earn income to survive.
“In 2013, I started to draw real people and it was not easy; I was still learning, but perfected that art in 2015 and started to draw Namibian celebrities like Gazza, King Tee Dee, Delish Mathews and many more,” he said.
“It’s quite good to draw famous people; once I upload a portrait of a certain celebrity, it drives a lot of traffic to my account and it also allows me to interact with fans of these celebrities,” he said.
Salatiel said an American girl called Heather Rooney inspired him.
“By that time, I was still an amateur and used to watch her drawing videos on YouTube. I want to be one of the greatest visual artists ever in the country. My future plan is to have a studio, where I can sell my artwork and teach upcoming artists,” he added.
Salatiel stated that the good thing about drawing is that one does not really need capital to start drawing.
“Let’s use our talents so we come up with something productive, despite challenges we are going through,” he concluded.
He is based in the Windhoek North residential area and his Instagram handle is: @Qonja_arts_official