Headshot Photography: Fiona Anavi (www.anaviphotography.com)

Artist Statement:

My lifelong curiosity of astronomy, cosmology, spirituality and the idea of infinity has led me on a quest to discover all of life‘s deepest secrets. My art explores the cosmic mysteries of both inner and outer space, the connectivity between all things, and the understanding of the universe and our roles and purpose in it.

Creating my 3-D mixed media work and installations is often a slow, repetitive and meditative process. While ripping, folding, cutting and gluing, I contemplate the ideas of scientists and mystics across the ages and infuse the essence of these concepts into my art. The intention of my work is to further advance my own soul’s development as well as deepen the viewer’s connection to themselves, others and the universe itself.

“The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.” – Carl Sagan.


Kelly Joy Ladd is a self-taught artist who grew up in Orlando, Florida, and graduated from the University of Central Florida with a liberal studies degree with a focus in astronomy and creative writing. Before becoming a full-time artist, she worked as a parade performer at Disney World, as well as an editor, and props stylist for Parenting Magazine. All the while, she was creating art using a wide variety of materials and developing her own style and unique techniques.

The catalyst that pushed her to work with paper was when her husband, who has Lyme disease, developed a condition called multiple chemical sensitivity, which made him severely allergic to chemicals, including paint. Today, her husband can tolerate more materials and she has included plaster and rope and some paint into her repertoire.

 In March 2020, just as the Covid pandemic started, Ladd‘s personal world also turned chaotic when she experienced a severe head injury. She lost the ability to focus and track with her eyes and was unable to read, drive, look at her phone and computer or watch TV. The only things she could focus on was her art, meditation practice and self-reflection. Without distractions, from the outside world, Ladd learned how to take this life altering obstacle and transform it into an opportunity for self and artistic growth. Today, she is still recovering, but sees improvements with her vision daily.

Ladd‘s work responds to themes of cosmic mysteries exploring inner and outer space, the inner connection of all things and understanding the universe and our roles and purpose in it. Ladd‘s ability to create tangible configurations full of texture and dimension align her with artistic legacy as such as Jacob Hashimoto and Crystal Wagner.

Exhibit at the Mennello Museum of American Art