Kavengi Kitonga is a visual artist, researcher, and a make-up artist. You can find her work on Instagram @miss_kitonga and at Edgy Bold on Facebook.
1. You're an economist, a researcher and a make-up artist. How did you discover all these passions?
My entry into economics was accidental. Initially, I had been selected for a different course in which I had no interest. I sought an inter-faculty transfer and ended up in the economics department. There are many who tell me that I would make a good lawyer, but research is almost like preparing a defense, only that the audience is a journal paper. I am naturally intrigued by arguments and logic, which is why research appeals to me.
Since I was young, I have always had an artistic side, but I wasn’t able to explore it until much later. I got into make-up after campus when I was idle and jobless and desperately looking for something to do. The more I learnt more about make-up, the more I loved it. Oh, and I can sing too!
2. Of your many gigs, which one makes you feel most creative?
I really liked the work I did with the Tinga Tinga musical. It was a beautiful experience. I was allowed a lot of freedom to develop fresh ideas!
3. How useful is your academic background in your creative career?
What I’ve come to learn is that creativity requires structure and discipline. I have a very strict two-hour routine that I follow every day – one hour of makeup practice and one hour of theory. After that, I allow myself time to meditate. I follow this routine religiously because I want to understand everything about make-up. Ultimately, I plan to transition from make-up application to visual artistry.
4. Why the name Edgy Bold? And what are your thoughts on the Kenyan make-up application industry?
That name captures the kind of work I aim to put out. This year, I plan to fearlessly articulate my “wild” ideas. The Kenyan industry is developing quite well, but I think that there is still plenty of room to integrate various forms of make-up beyond beauty and body art. By the end of 2020, through my timeline, you shall know what I mean.
5. What do you think about the curfew and the violence that we’ve witnessed since it was introduced? Should artists be commenting on such stuff?
I think everyone has a right to speak on anything they want. Our opinions may differ, but the right to speak remains ours.