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12/10/01: Kitty Mead a/k/a MizKitty – she's everywhere!

Kitty Mead a/k/a MizKitty Chances are you already know MizKitty, but if you don't, I'll warn you that she's everywhere, she's everywhere.  She may have just passed your house riding on the back of a Harley-Davidson – or you might run into her at IDo or at the IB-Community – or maybe you'll come across a cool cover graphic she did for thornyrabbit or her Sublime logo submission at k10k – or maybe you'll notice that she's a DigitalDiva and that there's actually a tribute site all about her called I Heart Kitty – or maybe you'll come across other designers/artists she's inspired, like Trish at in a mood dot com.  And then there's her own sites – FullMoon Graphics, KittyKitty, 24-7cool.com, FullMoonWebs, and Ink2Art.  Damn!  She's a real artist, a superb designer and a greatly appreciated personal friend – meet Kitty Mead!


JOE

FullMoon Graphics Thanks for doin' this with me, Kitty.

Tell me about your very first web site, and what lead to your becoming a web designer.


KITTY

Hi Joe!

I started FullMoon Graphics in late 1995, but I just didn't have the dot com yet (little did I know at that time!).  Did the "free website" thing for awhile before I bought the domain in '98.  The earliest example of the site is still up for everyone to chuckle at.

Later that year, someone contacted me about doing some work for him - creating templates - and the more I did, the more I learned.  He was pivotal in my decision to go part time at the hospital, so I began my small business, Ink2Art, and hung my shingle out.  It's been a learning experience every step of the way!


JOE

I just looked at that early example – kinda retro, even for '98, and quite festive looking – but you've sure come a long way :)

How'd you come up with the name "FullMoon?"


KITTY

Yup, time heals all wounds!  ;) Not really sure where "FullMoon" came from to tell you the truth.  Just played around with certain names...  I almost used "FicklePickle" or "PicklePuss" - really! (and the "dot.coms" were still available) but Jennie advised me otherwise.  In fact, I just realized, both of those names were from my mom and dad.  I think "FicklePickles" was the name of my mom's club when she was in H.S. (saddle shoes and all), and my dad always called me "Pickle Puss" (and KitKat!).  Pretty deep, hmm?


JOE

KittyKitty You'll never know how glad I am that you didn't call it "FicklePickles" or "Pickle Puss" – you crack me up, lady!

You mentioned the hospital earlier – you're a Respiratory Therapist, aren't you? One of my wife Kim's sisters does that too.  How long did you do that before switching to part time?


KITTY

Oh goodness!  Time flies - but I've been an RT for almost 20 years.  Geez, that makes me feel so ancient.  Before that, I tended bar in a couple of different states - Florida, Pennsylvania, and here in Wisconsin.  I guess I've been saving lives in one way or another for at least 28 years now!


JOE

Hehe.  Sometimes the RT isn't what the patient needs to help 'em breathe easier.

Okay – gotta ask this!  You own more domain names than anyone I know.  What's up with that?


KITTY

Domain names...  I'm a domain name freak.  Sometimes a name pops up in my head, and I think, "Oh, that would be a cool dot com name," I check if it's available, and if it is, I buy it.  I don't always know what I'm going to do with it, but I can't help myself.  I know I need help, but I'm just not ready to stop yet.


JOE

You know I'm just razzin' ya...  I just purchased another domain myself – for my portfolio, but my 5 domains are nothing compared to your massive list.

I don't think too many people know that you bought me a domain name recently (which I really appreciated) – why'd ya do it (I think I know but it would help my readers understand you better, I'll betcha)?


KITTY

Hmm...  why did I? Well, you were talking about it for so long (about having a special place to play with your music) yet you never went through with it.  So, kind of like a "kick-in-the-pants," I simply bought the domain for you...  weiniehead!  That'll teach ya!


JOE

24-7cool.com Okay, Evil Brainchild – behave!  Haven't updated the new site in a while, but please, don't kick me again, don't kick me again...  You know how much I like KittyKitty – we've had some funny exchanges between our "blogs" – remember this? – talk about evil!

I think 24.7cool.com is probably my favorite Kitty site (though I love 'em all), and not just because I've done a few thingies for it – there's something spiritual about the whole thing.  Know what I'm saying? I know you do, so talk to me about 24.7cool.com...


KITTY

Funny you should ask me that now Joe.  Seems that I'm going through some mental re-arranging at the moment, and am considering taking down 24.7cool.com...  doesn't feel like the same place anymore.

When I first started 24.7cool.com, I wanted a place to experiment with my art.  My art as an emotional outlet - emotions and artwork that I wouldn't put up on FullMoon Graphics...  didn't seem like the audience for it.  I wanted others to join in the process, and you guys did!  Very cool.  I loved it.  It was exactly what I imagined it to be.  Then over the next couple of years, my input dwindled as I began other projects, had more work to do with my business, and most importantly, no one was playing with me anymore.

I also didn't like the process of telling people who submitted their stuff to me that I didn't think their piece was what I wanted for the site.  Yuk!  That made me feel really awful.  Who was I to judge anothers artwork?  Granted, it was for my site, but I always felt like a bully when I told them that.  As a matter of fact, (and I will never forget this), awhile back someone told me the same thing about 24-7!  Except she wasn't as diplomatic as I am - in fact, in her own words, she was a bitch.  Didn't want to list 24.7cool.com in her directory of "women designers"...  intellectually, it shouldn't have affected me the way it has, but emotionally I would like to bitch-slap the broad!

ANYway, whew!  Where was I?  Oh!  24.7cool.com...

I'm at a point now, that I don't feel the same way about it.  24-7cool is like a ghost town to me.  I have redesigned it a few times, and I don't like any of the newer layouts as well as I did the first.  And that makes me sad.  And that's why I'm thinking of taking it down - putting it to rest.


JOE

FullMoonWebs Yeah...  that makes me sad, too, but I understand...  :(

A member of the ageless project, who holds one of the two distinguished titles there, just happens to have a site at FullMoonWebs, yet another domain of yours.  You know Lorraine, dontcha (like very well)?  How many sites are at FullMoonWebs now?  Why'd you start it?


KITTY

Yes sir, that's my mumsy!  Cute, isn't she?

FullMoonWebs began as an experiment of sorts.  A former client of mine, and a good friend, Don Shreiner, developed a wonderful tool for creating a community of websites.  EZWebonline® makes it extremely easy for those that have no html skills to put up a website in minutes.  We often talked about how cool it would be to have my visitors, and my graphic sets, team up with his software, and develop a little "FullMoon Webbies" community.  So we did, and FullMoonWebs was born.

There's about 1,300 members currently, and lots of changes taking place.  Which is another story in itself!


JOE

I noticed recently that you're a contributor at thornyrabbit (http://thornyrabbit.com/) and also that you've been linking to many art sites (saw the new list at 24-7cool).  In fact, you're doin' all kinds of things.  Where does all that motivation come from? Who's inspiring you?


KITTY

Recently, I've found myself spending more time browsing for artist sites, as opposed to "trendy design" sites.  I'm trying to get inspired into drawing again.  That's all that I used to do "B.C." (before computer) and I found that since I've been creating things on the web, it's more difficult for me to pick up a pencil and paper and draw.  The abstract boxes, and lines and rectangles with no expression, don't thrill me anymore.  It's not my style.  I need to see color and emotion.  That's what does it for me.  The thrill of finding a new artist's work is a heady feeling, (as I'm sure you're familiar with Joe!) and as I discover them, I bookmark them.  I've accumulated a bunch of mostly illustrator sites that I've put up over at KittyKitty so that everyone can enjoy them.


JOE

ink2art You're right – it's downright exciting to discover a new artist and their work – that's a big part of what keeps me doing what I do, too.  Nothing like real emotion!

When did you first discover your artistic talents? Did you draw as a kid? Or what?


KITTY

I was a pretty quiet little girl.  Used to draw all of the time.  Instead of playing games with my stepson, we used to draw together.  My daughter Jennie and I have been doing "all things arty" since she was a baby.  Art is the answer to everything.  Art can solve problems, cure the blues, make you sad, and make you happy.  It comes from within.  I think having an artists "personality" puts one in a different state of mind, and how they view the world in general.  At least that's how I feel about myself.


JOE

I've seen you mention before how it makes you feel good when young people write to you about their sites or to ask you for advice, etc.  Tell me more about that...


KITTY

I get many emails asking for help with setting up their sites, and "how to" do certain things.  Most times, I will refer them to sites that I think have wonderful tutorials.

I get just as many emails from people (90% female) who tell me how a certain piece of artwork has touched feelings in them that have been buried for a long time.

One woman, who's mother died a few years earlier, was so moved by a piece that I did in my art gallery, that she said she was finally able to cry tears of grief that she's been repressing since her mother's death.

A mom wrote to me about her 17 year old daughter, who had cancer and was in the hospital a few days before Christmas.  She wanted to know if I would be so kind as to sign Nicole's guestbook as a surprise - kind of like one big "Get Well" card, with all of her friends signing it.  Well, I found out the hospital that Nicole was in, and I called her.  She was so excited and happy, and we had a great conversation - she did get to go home before Christmas.  Nicole died 5 months later, and I am so glad that I got to meet her.

So many more stories...  I am constantly amazed and humbled at what visitors choose to share with me.  It's unbelievable really.  The power of the web, and the power of art - to communicate emotions and feelings and to bring so many people together.  It's mind boggling.


JOE

Yes it is, indeed.  With that thought, I just gotta say thanks for being such a good friend and for letting me ask you all this stuff.  Any final thoughts?


KITTY

So this is where I say a cute one-liner and it's over? Can't think of anything really clever Joe, so I'll simply say, "You are most welcome, the pleasure has been all mine!"



























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