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My talent was reborn during lockdown

MUSYOKA NGUI: Good morning and welcome to Mwingi Times.

Japheth Kyalo's work on display. He rediscovered his drawing skills during Covid lockdown. Photo/COURTESY

JAPHETH KYALO KAKUMBU: Good morning to you.

We saw your drawings on Instagram and Facebook. They are amazing masterpieces. Tell us more about your gift of the pencil. When you started drawing and your best artefacts displayed.

Thanks for the compliment. I started drawing in primary school. I enjoyed drawing animals like bull fighting😄.Then when I joined Makueni Boys high school I was lucky because they offer Art and Design as a subject. So for those four years I learned a lot of art making not drawing alone. After High school however, I did not venture in Art. I joined Maseno University to pursue a different course. Currently I am a Master student at UON (University of Nairobi) taking Project Planning and Management. So drawing I have been doing drawing for fun once in a while.

The outbreak of Covid-19 19 taught some of us a lot and in the process for instance I found myself with a lot of time as I was working from home. That’s how I decided to do a portrait drawing and to my surprise, many people liked it and made orders and that’s how my drawing was reborn🤷🏿😄.

Do clients make orders to be drawn for them to hang the pieces on their walls? How much do you charge for a colour photo drawing? What about black and white?

Yes a lot of clients are making orders and I believe after this I will get more orders starting with you😄.The drawings range from Sh1500/= to Sh5500/= while coloured ones range from Sh3000/= to Sh8000/= depending on the sizes However,  Covid-19 has made it difficult for some clients but we still manage to agree on something. 

 More from Japheth. Photo/COURTESY

Where do you shop for your pens, inks and paint?

Pencils and other materials are available at the bookshops within the Nairobi CBD.

Sometimes I see great artists having drawn a portrait of a prominent person who then buys the drawing at a high price. Have you had that opportunity to auction? Do you plan to do so?

Yes most prominent artists will do this and it pays. However, I chose a different route. First, I started as a hobby I love. Then after I turned it into something else I chose to let my work market itself rather than surprise someone or ambush him or her with a drawing. (I am not saying those who do it are wrong...who knows, may be in future I will do same too).

We went to the same high school at Makueni. You were my junior and was very sharp in class. Give us a view about today’s national examinations in comparison to our days at Mitchez.

😄yes it happens we went to the same high school those days. When you compare those days and today a lot has changed. Time has changed due to several reasons for instance technology. But from my observation I guess our days we were more self-driven and had a lot of desire to pass our examinations. Remember those days schools used to be ranked and every student worked so hard to put their school somewhere. These days it’s different but as I said changes are inevitable.

What did you study at the university and how has that impacted your drawing venture?

I am currently doing my Masters on Project Planning and Management. It’s a different course from Art but it has really helped me to be my own manager, plan my budgets and running my small projects with an aim of making them big projects in near future.

Is being an artist your fulltime venture or you have another profession? What are some of the challenges you face as an artist and what do you think can be done by the government to help you?

Fine Art is a career like any other. It really pays like any other career. However,   it has not been given a lot of attention as most artist do not have any training. May be in future government should give more attention to Art and Design. Imagine a talented person with a training in the same field? He/she will be very productive. There are a lot of talents that end up to waste because they lack someone to guide them....I hope CBC will help Art and Design grow more.

Your parting shot?

As I have said Art has not been my full time venture but i am currently working to make it a full time venture.


This masterpiece can be hang in a living room or inside a car. Photo/COURTESY


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