I love the process of creating my art. I love working with my hands and feeling the paper between my fingertips. It is very meditative as I repetitively cut, rip and glue pieces of acid-free paper to the canvas. I love transcending a simple piece of paper into a 3-D piece of art.
Color excites me, but I also honor the sleek simplicity of black and white. Even more, I’m enthusiastic about texture and dimension. I’ve created different ways to make texture with paper using ripping and cutting techniques. I love the playful, unexpected and dimensional element that textured paper brings to canvas.
The intention of my art is to evoke a sense of wonderment through the patterns of thousands of pieces of paper used to create one of my pieces, each of which may take sometimes more than 100-200 hours to complete. I hope viewers take time to lose themselves in my work and become inspired by the intricacies they find there.
Self-taught paper artist Kelly Joy Ladd grew up in Orlando, Florida. Although she has never been formally trained in the arts, throughout her life, Kelly has always created art in one form or another.
At the age of 16, Kelly’s first job was an entertainer/parade performer at Disney World. The colors, textures and fabrics of the costumes excited her. She often found herself sitting backstage among the costumes fascinated with how they were constructed.
After graduation from the University of Central Florida with a Liberal Studies degree focusing on astronomy and creative writing, Kelly began a writing career as HardRock.com’s music writer, where she interviewed rock stars and bands. She then transitioned into the publishing world as an editor for 10 years with Garden Design, Florida Travel + Life and Parenting magazines.
During this time, her husband became ill and severely allergic to various chemicals and paint. This was the catalyst for Kelly to explore other mediums to satisfy her passion for art. She played with ripping, cutting, folding and gluing paper. Over time she developed a number of techniques to manipulate paper into textures on canvas.
Today, Kelly is often surrounded by scraps of paper while she carefully constructs them into intricate patterns that she often visualizes during meditation and yoga. She is inspired by rhythmic repetition, texture and pops of color. Creating art is a joy for her and she hopes to share that feeling with others.
- Watch Kelly as she describes her art, her inspiration and the reason she works with paper.
- Learn more about Kelly, her art and process.
- Hear Mennello Museum of American Art curator Katherine Navarro talk about Kelly’s work.