Meet Cholo Mwasalu; An artist, Painter, Carpenter, Recycler.

VBN: Who is Cholo and when did this   massive interest in art start?

Cholo: Cholo is a young artist, creative and passionate about art and all things art. I specialize in creating beaded materials as well as turning wastes into artifacts that can be used for home and office décor. Born and raised in Taita Taveta County , Voi and the Sagalla region. I officially began doing art around late 2016. So let’s say at the end of this year it would be 3 years. Currently, I serve as the chairperson of regional artisans association.

VBN: Did you study art formally perhaps?

Cholo: I did not study art. After high school I pursued para military for a couple of months then later on proceeded to National Youth Service for quite some time before I decided to choose a different path in life. I was prompted to join the NYS due to the fact they have an art program since I had the passion. When they chose plant engineering for me I did not feel contented so I resigned, which was a bit difficult, and I decided to put my focus on art.

VBN: What influenced the paramilitary choice?

Cholo: I wasn’t against choosing that career path. But sometimes pressure from the society and family pushes you towards various angles. I wanted to pursue art since I started doing art at the age of 12. My biggest source of inspiration was my late father who used to challenge me a lot and it helped grow the fire in me.

VBN: : Do you regret leaving  the NYS?

Cholo: No I don’t regret but all I can say is that place challenged me a lot and shaped me. Secondly, I would say I learned a lot from everyone I met there since they were all from different tribes in Kenya.

VBN: : How do your peers perceived your career choice thus far?

Cholo: All I can say is that I got really supportive friends but at first they thought I was totally lost. Some of my friends think am expensive. What I can say is am not just doing any beaded work and selling beads to people, I am selling my creativity as well as building a brand for my businesses.

VBN: Apart from the creation of beaded works, what else do you do at Cholo Arts?

Cholo: I make curtains from beads too, flower vases (from towels), customized watches (with beads), coffee tables from recycled products (old tires), lamp shades, painting as well, creative interior design, and cool designs from wine bottles for home décor.

VBN: What’s the nature of Cholo arts and why the Cholo Arts brand name?

Cholo: I would like to call it an enterprise hoping to make it a company in the future. I began this as a solo project and that is why I called it Cholo Arts.

VBN: : In every market there definitely is competition, how do you handle the competition aspect and what set’s you apart from the others?

Cholo: I take competition as a chance to keep growing since they remind you that if you don’t up your game someone else will take over. Competition also challenges you to always be creative and innovative with your ideas since what sets you apart is what you do that they cannot, we all have different capabilities. About working together, yes we are quite a lot in this market and we work together whenever we can. I try to be very creative and to offer my clients durable and beautiful products as well. That sets’ me apart.

VBN: Generally, How do you compare this with the white collar jobs?

Cholo: I think everyone is doing what is best for them. I believe that at the end of the day we get home contented with what we do and earn. I can’t speak for those doing the white collar jobs but all I know is that am doing it for the passion and at the end of it all I can confidently  say it pays. It might not be at the end of a short stipulated period of time but it does eventually.

VBN: In 5 years where do you see Cholo arts?

Cholo: I hope we will have a bigger workshop, display shops to showcase our work as well as carry out and attend exhibitions all over Kenya. Don’t just sit back, get up and do something. Just ensure it is something that you are passionate about since that is where your everyday drive will come from.

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