Meet Lady Kitt
Lady Kitt is an artist, activist, and Drag King from the UK. Through paper cutting, performance, and research, Lady Kitt creates work which combines social, political making with a commercial art practice. In a complex, often mischievous, body of work Kitt intertwines creative activism with participatory performance and intricate paper cuts.
What makes you laugh?
My children - they make me cackle uncontrollably so I can’t even breath and make me see the funny sides of everything and nothing.
If we came over for dinner, what would you prepare for us?
Aww I would love for you to come over for dinner! Having people round for tea (as we say in the North East where “tea” means dinner) is one of my favourite things. I’m quite an experimental cook and I tend not to use recipes so, who knows what I would cook for you? I wouldn’t even know, not really, until it was on the table. It usually turns out pretty yummy. I’m vegetarian (trying to be vegan) so it would definitely be veggie and made with love and accompanied by quite a lot of wine or a vat of cocktail (non-alcoholic options available).
What do you suck at?
Getting from A-B in the most time efficient way possible (and basically doing anything speedily).
I don’t drive so I have to get public transport. I love walking but I’m Dyspraxic and Dyslexic so I don’t instinctively know left from right. I'm clumsy and usually covered in bruises, as I walk into stuff/ people quite a bit. Journeys on foot can be doubled in time due to me wanting to try and cross roads at crossings as much as possible. I can't judge distances well so can't really tell when it's safe to cross by myself. Sometimes I feel quite overwhelmed by positional information. On a recent trip to London I had to just stop trying to find my way around. Luckily my lovely brother in law, Nick, helped.
I'm very slow with tasks involving both gross and fine motor skills BUT if I allow myself plenty of time I have been able to develop some surprisingly precise skills. I love bouldering and am quite good at it. My paper-cut work is often very intricate. It's been about learning that I need lots of time to do some tasks and discovering that when I'm able to have that, I can achieve great stuff.
What’s your craziest idea?
Well, there’s quite a few of them…
A Trump effigy making (and destroying) competition in an adult sized sand pit.
“AmUse”- a project where I went on a recruitment drive to find my perfect muse (I accosted people in the street and in pubs, I set up a recruitment stall in a tanning salon asking people to fill out job applications- I held formal interviews and everything).
The “(small but) FIERCE” magazine- an international feminist art magazine for children who want to change the world and the adults who support them! It’s made by children and young people through workshops. If anyone would like us to come and run a workshop please get in touch! We aim to run them all over the world next year!!
King Kitt- a drag King who talks to people about toxic masculinity whilst dressed in a crown, codpiece, and facial hair made from genuine high value paper currency.
My most recent, most balmy idea is probably the “Plenty Up Top Gallery” which is a gallery on my head. I describe it as ‘street art you can have a chat with’. I established the gallery in 2017 after being diagnosed with Alopecia Areata (patchy baldness). It kind of started as a way to explore my changing appearance and celebrate it. I’d ‘decorate’ the bald patches, then go out doing my normal stuff- getting the bus, supermarket shopping, or taking the children to school for example. People would start talking to me about why I’ve got all this wired crap stuck to my head. Through those conversations I could (and can!) raise awareness of Alopecia. People with the condition are often subject to abuse and discrimination which can affect every area of their lives. These effects aren’t due to the condition but due to the reactions of other people to a head that’s bald, wigged, or unusual. These effects can be drastically reduced, not by medical science, but by being kind.
With the help of feminist curator, fellow Nasty Women, and general all round ace human, Michaella Wetherell, the gallery has developed into a space that we offer to other artists to create works of art / activism with a particular focus on gender, body positivity, and queer visibility. Works can include, but aren’t limited to, hair shaving/ dying / styling, millinery, performance, and body painting. Very excitingly, during 2018 the gallery is the venue for the first Nasty Women International Art Prize.
What are you most grateful for?
The wonderous people I know. I have such a great community around me (round the corner and round the world) and they make me feel happy every day.
Being a parent, our children are the BEST company. They make me think in new and even stranger ways. They make me challenge things I think are wrong about the world. They make me stop and appreciate small things- like a nice twig. They give amazing cuddles.
My sister Bridie - my main dude. What a luscious creature she is! My number one adventure companion and champion.
Living in a country where I have so many freedoms. There’s a lot to change but I am very lucky I can be honest about who I am, and what I believe in, and I have the right to fight for change. People might not like what I have to say, but I’m not going to be killed, imprisoned, or disappeared for saying it.
Being an artist. It is so important to me. It’s how I process pretty much everything – good and bad. I don’t think I would be able to function if I couldn’t make art. I’m also grateful having the support to be able to do this- particularly from the super Andy Ratford.