Jepchumba is an African Digital Artist originally from Kenya. She focuses her passion for technology and creativity around Africa. Jepchumba has a Masters in Digital Media with experience in New Media project management and digital production. Jepchumba loves experimenting with motion, sound and various digital effects and techniques and has an extensive background in digital art, web design and development, audio/visual production and social media strategies. She researches and speaks on how technology and design affects culture.
My Definition of Success | I used to define success according to projects completed or accolades gained but I begin to see success as the ability to be persistent through hardship, doubt and ambiguity.
The Difference Between Good and Great | I believe that we have romanticized the idea of failure. In the age of the startup where entrepreneurs are declared heroes and not delusional we embark on a crazy journey where we are guaranteed failure. The statistics are staggering, most startup ups, ideas and enterprises fail. The people who are able to withstand the odds are the ones who stand as the greats. Failure is not passive, it is a visceral experience that can paralyze you but those who become accustomed to it who revels in discomfort are the ones who become great.
A Key Talent | My work has become centered on identifying and discovering new talented artists across Africa. However I find myself working on different projects that center around creating unique digital experiences for Africa. So these are the things that I have learned and have changed my life.
Start a Blog
I tell this to anyone who needs advice. Blogging is life changing. It is not just a matter of sharing your thoughts, experiences, projects to the world but rather it is an exercise in discipline. Blogging is an excellent tool in documenting your journey and connecting you to people who might surprise you.
Stalk your heroes
But not in a creepy way. Find mentors and get in touch with them, buy their books, write them emails, send them your artwork. Be persistent and observant. Take note of what they do, what they don’t do and learn from their experiences. Ask them questions; provide them with resources that maybe helpful and just learn as much as you can. We are shaped by those who are around us. Find the best and never let them go.
Be Brave and Curious
My mom would tell you as a child my favorite word was ‘Why’. I have been shaped and led by my curiosity. I have an overactive imagination and I am over analytical two things that have fueled my curiosity to traverse into unknown territories. You can be curious but a coward. I am a coward most of the time, scared to look like a fool or to be misunderstood so I have decided to dedicate myself to be just as brave as I am curious. Be unshakable in your pursuit to understand the world around you and to understand others.
The Characteristics of Success | Getting accustomed to being uncomfortable is an important characteristic in achieving your goals. Discomfort is a great space to grow and be creative. When you are uncomfortable you are able to push against your boundaries and gain new skills and insight.
How I Use My Mind | I am over analytic (sometimes more of a curse than blessing). I naturally connect very diverse concepts and ideas and match and see how they relate to each other. This is how I came up with the concept of African Digital Art. Being analytic also allows me to see way past the present and recognize something in the future that I hope to accomplish. Seeing the big picture and then analyzing your way forward has enabled me to remain persistent.
Dealing with Doubt | Doubting my ability, fear and negativity are daily battles for me. I take comfort in knowing this is not something unique to my experience as a creative person. I recommend ready the Art of War by Steven Press field. He speaks about this problem which he refers to as Resistance. I have found that the perfect elixir to resistance is getting to work. It is creating a daily ritual of getting yourself to that desk every day and complete what you can at that time and letting the rest go. Creating, building and the art of making have allowed me to do things I never thought possible.
My Future Dreams and Ambitions | If I could do anything, anything at all I would create art laboratories across Africa. Spaces were anyone can collaborate and experiment with technology and art. In many parts of Africa, creative thinking is not a priority in education. Artists are turned into accountants. I would love to create spaces that provided an alternative method of education giving residencies to people as nerdy as myself.
On Inspiring Others | Most of my work at African Digital Art requires finding artists and new talent. I have the front seat to Africa’s creative emersion into technology and it is incredibly inspiring. Seeing artists and creative push digital boundaries is a huge source of motivation for me. Artists across the continent face so many limitations but despite that they are able to come up with innovative ideas, stories, inventions and ways of problem solving. Doing what I do, there is no shortage to inspiration.
The Legacy I Would Like to Leave | Legacy is such a daunting word. It makes me feel I should be some sorting of tycoon but alas most of the time I am nerdy woman behind a laptop. Being a woman behind a laptop is quite rare I am told. I am told that there are not many young women in technology and unfortunately it is true. I find that I experience what I call “the only syndrome”. I am often “the only” woman, “the only black woman”, the “only African woman” in the spaces that I occupy. The absence of diversity is staggering and unmistakable. Through my work I hope to change this and encourage more young women to become digital Africans like myself. I hope to encourage young women to take up this new space in between technology and art. I hope to see young women pursuing digital art – animating, designing, and building tools.