In the 2000’s, Afternoon Kitty was, by most accounts, a successful business development consultant. Attractive enough to model, single with no children, thriving in a career providing biz-dev support to the medical and surgical device industry. Or so it would seem. “Though financially rewarding, the lifestyle of working intense positions is emotionally taxing. I was making money, but I had never taken the time to discover my passions. I needed to find a purpose-driven life.” And thus, in 2012, without investment, without proof of concept, or any of his tried and true business development techniques – Afternoon Kitty was born amidst the natural high of the dusty, desert dance floor on a bright Saturday morning, during a sunrise set with Lee Burridge playing the Robot Heart Art Car at Burning Man.
“I was making money, but essentially dumping it down my throat. I was uninspired.” Steve describes his life before Afternoon Kitty. “Going to Burning Man was a transformational experience. I took some time off to discover my passions, experiment artistically and eventually, organically discover Afternoon Kitty in a way that helped me evolve.”
The Kitties themselves were born as an evolution of another totem project. A family of friends were putting their love, energy and creativity into helping Desert Hearts get the momentum needed to become what it is today, a very special community movement. Steve’s individually designed totems are unique and glamorous. He adds he has untold appreciation for the friends who have helped him bring so many artistic visions to life over the years. “Really, if I could give a “Meow-Out” to Milena, Mountain, Colē, Dadon, and Jerry… Afternoon Kitty only happened with generous artistic support and collaboration.” The name, Afternoon Kitty, came after the Kitties. “Pixie Dust gifted the name to me at Burning Man,” Steve explains.
The Kitties are Steve’s gifts to individuals and to the world. Each Kitty represents the good energy and positive vibe that Steve envisions as the sacred space of the dance floor. Hand-crafted kitties are gifted, in person, to people who epitomize the Afternoon Kitty philosophy. They cannot be purchased. Steve travels the world, gifting Kitties to the special people along the way who are helping to make dance floor therapy possible. He has now gifted approximately 1,250 globally.
Through Gifting, one of ten principles of Burning Man, he accidentally created an underground brand in the house of techno scene. Photos and mentions of Steve’s creations have now reached the underground house and techno scenes across the globe – including MixMag Magazine, Thump, Miami Music Week, Winter Music Conference, LoveLife, Dirty Bird Records, Do Not Sit On The Furniture, ABRACADABRA, Deep Los Angeles, Get Lost Experience, Lemon City Studios, Music is 4 Lovers, and more.
His #KittyKountry fan base had better actual awareness in the real word than on social media. Each Kitty creation that’s ‘adopted’ out to a new individual expands what Steve and his Kitty recipients collectively refer to as #KittyKountry. All of Kitty Kountry understands regardless of where in the world your path takes you, spotting someone with an Afternoon Kitty branded item is similar to seeing a familiar face – it evokes a feeling of ease, one that Steve believes solidifies the intention that, “You are loved. You are surrounded by people on the same frequency as you who care.”
“This was my passion project from the beginning, I wanted to protect its integrity and not focus on how to monetize it.” Steve describes his organic approach, “I really had to let Afternoon Kitty reveal to me what it was – and the revelation came in the creation of Kitty Kountry and their response to it.”
He has insisted on not modifying his art to meet any sort of demands but to create his own style and spread his wings. The Kitties are Steve’s outlet and it was important to him that this be the place in his life that he never compromise.
“After spending 22 years in the house and techno scene, it had to be about something more than just the party. I wanted a purpose, to send a message.”
Steve created his own ethos-guided ten “Kitty Tips for the Dance Floor” that outline good practices on how to look out for each other in the underground music scene, closely aligned with the general Burning Man community ethos of the Ten Principles. “It feels good to do what’s right. No one person has ever accomplished anything significant alone and everyone plays a role in protecting and elevating the vibe on the dance floor.”
These distinctive and intimate characteristics of Steve’s branding and lifestyle objectives are the beauty that can be found in Steve’s unique and often collaborative creations. The tips don’t just apply to the dance floor. They are Steve’s way of living authentically and encouraging others to live a life based on respect for others.
In January of 2019, Steve began to focus full-time on Afternoon Kitty. He is embarking on a European and Southeast Asia tour to better understand the house of techno world and expand the Kitty Kountry and its purpose.
Steve is working on a line of jewelry to compliment his Kitty totems, available on the Afternoon Kitty website for people who want to support the Kitty Kountry ideals. He also has some sustainability projects in the pipeline; another passion for him is ending single use plastic in the music and entertainment industry.
Right now, Afternoon Kitty remains his primary focus. “The house and techno scene is important to me. and it’s been nice to have the local community behind me – Desert Hearts, Love Life, House to Ourselves, Soulwork, Egotrip, Davinity, The Deep End, Music is 4 Lovers, Bouquet, Stay Bad, and more have all supported me by providing the community, platform, and dance floors that allow me to do what I love as a Context Artist in the San Diego House and Techno scene.”
Steve continues leading by example, inspiring a worldwide grassroots human to human connection with Afternoon Kitty. Each totem is inscribed with “Art. Love & Beats.” He explains, “We exist to make ‘Art and Love, and Beats is who I am. I am an analog man living in a digital world. I’ll continue to build Afternoon Kitty and Kitty Kountry – one dance floor, one conversation, and one kitty at a time.”