Photo Credit: Katie Beth Lockhart
“I’ve been an artist ever since I was old enough to pick up a pencil. My inspiration could go all the way back to those old Super Friends cartoons on ABC. Comic books, of course. I love old vintage, beat up gas cans and old oil and gas advertisements you see in garages in small towns. I find art work not only in the pretty pictures but also in the distress that weathering and time leave behind. Being in a rock a billy band for 10 years I was exposed to a lot of that. That has become my niche in Killer Kite Productions. Finding the timeless design that won’t go away in 10 to 20 years. It will still be fresh even though its worn. I don’t think that vintage style will go away any time soon. People know that is my niche and that I am good at it. It’s been my gravy train. “-Jud Kite, Killer Kite Productions.
Killer Kite Productions was born in 2001 after founder Jud Kite left a position as Art Director for Premier Marketing Group to venture out on his own. He enjoyed some immediate success until the September 11th attacks that crippled the economy. He was able to keep afloat until November of 2002, but as his clients shut their doors, being casualties to the tanked economy, Jud had to look for other avenues of income.
“ I had to bust shop lifters at Old Navy just to make ends meet,” he said” that scares you a little..”
Out of 50 clients from that first run, only two stuck with Killer Kite. He still has those clients to this day,
When the economy recovered, Jud took a Job as an Art Director for Specialized Publications. He stayed with that company for 11 years. After he reached the top rung of his position with that company, with no cost of living increases, he began to build up his freelance clients again. When the day came that he couldn’t keep up with his day job and meet his freelance obligations in a timely manner, it was time to give Killer Kite another go.
“I decided to conquer that fear of what happened in 2002, made the jump, and turned that day job into a client” he said. “I was hired by Specialized Publications to design the magazine Restaurant Startup and Growth. I designed the first issue and designed every issue after. I have some ‘ownership’ as an artist in that magazine. That’s my baby”
Jud is also a musician. He’s played in several bands and finds a way to extend his business in the music community. If a band needs a design for tees, posters, and so on, being known as a musician in Kansas City helps his Graphic Design business. He went on to say he did not know what he would do without the creative outlet of music. He loves the team work involved in writing a song and proudly admits he loves to preform
“I’m a ham, I admit it” He said
Playing drums for the rockabilly band, The Rumblejetts, took Jud on a tour though Europe twice. Something he said he probably never would have done without music. Jud is a fan of all music, but has a special fondness for Rockabilly.
“It transfers through all age groups. You play some, little kids dance. Older people remember being there when the record hit. People my age know the songs because they know it. We play Folsom Prison Blues everybody in the bar know the song.”
Jud is also involved with the Kansas City Xtreme Wrestling group. He has always been a fan of Pro Wrestling. After meeting with Jordan (Smiley) Rogers, the owner of KCXW, Jud started his work as the Marketing Director.. He brought in sponsors like Red Crow Brewing, 1740 Beard Balm and Cinder Block Brewing, and many others. He can be found near the merch table, or, more recently, making announcements from the ring itself.
Jud has two dogs. Otis, a Pitbull rescued from a dogfighter, and Sophie a Cavalier King Charles belonging to his girlfriend.
When asked if he had any advice for prospective graphic designers, he had this to say :
“The work is out there. You just have to look for it. All the graphic designers I know in Kansas City are working. Find your niche and run with it. Work ethic is everything.”
From music, to wrestling, to art, Killer Kite Productions is truly making its mark on the world. A mark as defined and timeless as the vintage art Jud specializes in. Make sure you guys check him out.