Kit Thomas is a Mohawk from Akwesasne, she returned to her home town from Roanoke, Virginia. This is her story. Her biggest challenge was meeting her father for the first time. If she had met him when she was a teenager she probably “would have flipped him the bird”, Kit said laughing, finger in the air. Now, the time was right to connect with him. Her dad was “cool” with her in a sense that he accepts her just the way she is.
Who is Kit Thomas? A woman full of light and love. Determined to chase her artist passion and go with the flow attitude. She believes a higher power kept her going in life. “I’ve lived many different lives and rebuilt myself many times in the past 16 years.”
Her first life began with a body transformation. In 2010 Kit was a smoker and heavy drinker and made the decision to get sober after her Aunt Corrine White passed away. A tattoo showcased on her forearm reads “Carpe Diem” in translation “seize the day”.
At the time of her transformation Kit was working a manager at a pet food store and doing her artwork around the clock. She wanted to take the business to a new level and was at the top of her skill. Kit was getting recognized by her photographer friends and included her in a photo shoot called “Raven Mocker”. This nude pictorial came at a great time considering she had new found confidence in herself. Renewed by shedding her weight, she also shed emotions. Her positive outlook on life and the beauty in it is felt by all that meet her.
She woke up one day and said she no longer wanted to do her 9-5 job. All she could think of was painting. Society will tell you to conform and will praise blue collar professions. Kit was breaking the rules and felt free. “People would ask me what I did for work and said ‘No, really? What is your real job?'” Her motivation came from her weight loss and feeling unstoppable.
Hunter Down was born. Her alter ego and drag show performer braved the stage for the very first time. A friend called her up and said “Hey, Kit I have one spot open for the drag show.” Challenge accepted! Kit is a self-proclaimed ham and does not shy away from the spotlight. Her alter ego Hunter was a sassy, confident, rough and rugged persona known for infamous performances as boy band heartthrobs from New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys. Less than a few months in, she was hosting the show.
What is Kit’s creative process? Described as a mania, her many ideas come to mind simultaneously. Then a calm sets in with fluid movements on the canvas with each brushstroke. She can leave all mistakes in front of her and work on top of them, fully immersing herself in artistic freedom. While working on a piece, Kit’s process mirrors lucid dreaming. She can live in that moment and easily return to it, with full control over the inspiration. It is in those moments where she feels at peace. She has become more confident and secure with her talent and her work reflects that love and light.
Kit is a traveler and educated from Pratt and Brooklyn colleges. She decided to discontinue her studies in graphic design. Up until that point she had validated those choices by not wanting to disappoint her family. Now she had reclaimed her life as an artist and Kit Thomas Art was born. She grew up with anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. Art was her creative outlet to soothe the difficult days. She speaks of being shipped around to different areas as she grew up. Kit’s Aunt Corrine provided the roots that Kit has returned home to Akwesasne to grow.
Kit is not a religious person but believes that something has been with her through all the struggles. Being “very spiritual with the universe” is how she describes herself. “I’ve been to all kinds of churches and even a Southern Baptist Church. I walked in and their clapping and telling everyone about their evils.” Being open minded, she gained awarenss of herself among the eclectic world religions.
“Love people and love what you do!”
The Kit Thomas mantra to life and art.
“People would look at me asking, ‘Are you for real? Is that real?’” Kit remains true to herself by not letting others knock her down. Being fulfilled by carrying out your passion is how she lives her life. This truly inspiring lifestyle is a testament to being a woman with a dream. “A lot of situations strengthen you, you rebuild your life many times,” says Kit.
Kit’s new found adventurous spirit included wrestling in pudding at a local dive bar. “I told myself if I had bathing suit in my car I would do it. I had just returned from a vacation to Myrtle Beach, bathing suit in tow. There was no backing out now.” Dancing to the beat of her own drum, Kit braves any conquest.
Kit explains, “There’s always people who want to stomp on your dreams and you just keep going.” Sobriety lifted a fog and with clear eyes she started writing her own blog on tumblr and freely shares her experiences with others. Her infectious personality is uplifting in a sense where you’re rooting for Kit to never dim her light.
Kit lived in Virginia for 2 ½ years. During this time she credits life lessons learned about family and love. Her life there working at a co-op consisted of local hippies and crazies. “You know the conspiracy theory types.” Kit Laughs and explains “I would go around and round debating with a few of these folks.” After a heartbreak in Roanoke, she says there’s no hard feelings there and continues to move forward. That was when she decided it was time to return to Akwesasne. One phone conversation later, her cousins Randa and Marla were on a mission. The women organized for three days to raise travel funds for the 12 hour drive.
Ready to reclaim her life and return to the family and culture she once knew, Kit was grateful. Kit reminisces about days looking in on the longhouse socials and ceremonies. “I’d like to get back over there one day and see it again and understand my culture more. Now that I am in my community of Akwesasne I want to do good and feel good.”
Kit Thomas Art wants to explore textiles and mass production of a tee shirt line. She credits Facebook and Instagram for her followers and recognition. “I want to collaborate with global artists! This artist in Portland reached out to me and I am thrilled to be noticed by these inspirational people.” Kit wants to be known as more than Native artist. As a designer of custom canvas shoes, Fashion is within her arsenal.
Long gone are the days of painted “Emo girls,” with choppy hair and an empty face. Now her work has progressed along with her self-worth as a bright vibrant colorful painting that evokes a feeling of woman who stands in her own light.
Akwesasne welcomes you and your talent.
Welcome home Kit.
Author: Jenna Herne-House of Hawi