Young With A Passion For Art

Although he has many talents, Ali Hassan, better known as Alvin Juma to his friends decided to focus more on art, particularly portraits. Alvin Juma came to Nairobi in January last year with nothing but hopes to make it in life. He cleared high school a few years back, but due to lack of fees he never enrolled for higher education. He started drawing and posting his work on electricity poles all over the different estates Nairobi. A few weeks later, someone got in touch requesting for his service. It was then that doors opened for him.

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Henry, the guy who had called him, introduced him to another artist by the name Ronny. Apparently, the two worked together at Mim’s Creations where Ronny drew and Henry was responsible for marketing. Ronny having been in the field for some time was able train Ali, making him a better artist. Afterwards, he started getting jobs and get some pay. The pay was however too little and after sometime, Ali decided to quit Mim’s Creations to create his own lane. He turned to social media (facebook and Instagram) for marketing and after a while started getting his own clients.

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“I once went to an acting audition but I didn’t make it through. I had carried samples of my art with me and while at the auditions, a guitarist called Melissa saw it and really liked it. She worked with Jalang’o and she introduced me to him. I got an opportunity to feature on Jalang’o show which airs on KTN and since then it’s been uphill in the art industry for me.”

Ali has been to different media houses marketing his art. He also does portraits of celebrities and has them market his art on their social media. “I gave myself a stage name YMA which stands for Young Man of Art. I chose this name since I have many other different talents in the field of art such as music, to which I was introduced by Prezzo, comedy and even acting.”
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His take on the art industry in Kenya; “The industry is quite young and a bit unexposed and therefore it gets a bit hard for one to market their art and get people who actually appreciate it. It does pay, but it’s a challenge getting clients and one must hustle really hard. But when you do something you enjoy, it’s a bit easier. As for me, art is my life.”