Entrepreneurial Stories

Sylvenus Semo is Proof that Talent Doesn’t have to be a Backup Plan, It Could be the Main Plan


Are artists made or born? That is a question you may have asked yourself at some point. This amazing talent that some people have, is it innate or something they worked hard to achieve? The athletes, the footballers, the artists etc. Can anyone do all these things if they put their mind to it? Well one artist by the name Sylvenus Semo believes that artists are made.

“To be able to be good at what you do, you have to practice and work hard at it,” he says.

Growing up Sylvenus always liked to draw. He would scribble on the floor and his book covers. He made sure to join a high school that offered art and design to better his talent. Becoming better with each year it was only natural that he would join an institution of higher learning and continue with a course in art. This is when things changed. Sylvenus had a light bulb moment and realized he didn’t want a career in arts and so after 3 years into it he finally dropped out.

“I loved drawing and was good at it but I just realized I had been doing this my whole life i needed to do something else. I needed to learn something new to sustain me and if it didn’t work out then art could be my back up plan, so I took up Media studies”

A content man at this point completed his course in media studies and started looking for a job. This is a part that is all too familiar with the Kenyan youth, the jobs were just not forthcoming. He ended up working in real estate something he had not studied. The hours were not flexible and as a creative person he found that to be confining and he just couldn’t do it anymore so he quit. It was time to go back to what he did best.

“I started drawing again mainly focusing on portraits. Getting my footing was a bit of a struggle. It is very hard to convince people that you are good at something without proof. I needed a better strategy. I started drawing my friends for free and they would refer me to their friends who referred me to their friends and that is how KymKym arts picked up. Besides referrals I also use social media to market my work and it has been equally good at bringing in clients.

Sylvenus making final touches on a potrait

Sylvenus making final touches on a portrait

The entrepreneur says although the entrepreneurship journey has been fair to him there is still a challenge of getting clients up to date.

“Art is a tertiary service when someone lets you do a portrait of them this month you can be sure it will take a while before they come back. Despite these challenges am just glad I get to do something am good at and enjoy. The hours are flexible and am able to manage my own time. Am also able to pay my bills from this work and this motivates me every time to pick up my pencil and get to work.”

Lastly I ask if the young artist has a favourite artwork, “I have done more than a thousand pieces as we speak and I believe that i’m defined by my latest work,art work gets better with time so my next portrait is my favourite.”

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About Kuza Biashara

About Kuza Biashara

Starting a business is a leap of faith even in the best of circumstances. We at Kuza Biashara are focussed to encourage these daring small business owners who have the potential to innovate and change the world by contributing to the nation’s economy and livelihood.