Kelly Joy Ladd

Self-taught paper artist Kelly Joy Ladd grew up in Orlando, Florida. It wasn’t until she was 20 years old did, Kelly pick up a paintbrush for the first time with the intention of learning how to paint. Throughout her life, however, she was always creating art in one form or another.

Kelly’s first job, at the age of 16, was a Disney World entertainer and parade performer. Here is where she allowed herself to truly be creative for the first time. 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. While onstage, she loved to see the joy each guest felt as she interacted and connected with them.

Kelly graduated with a Liberal Studies degree at the University of Central Florida, where she studied a variety of subjects that intrigued her, such as Astronomy/Physics, Environmental Sciences and Anthropology. Her minor was Creative Writing. Upon graduation, she began a writing career as’s music writer, where she interviewed rock stars and bands, and wrote about the company’s famed memorabilia. She then moved into the magazine publishing field and was an editor for 10 years for publications such as, Garden Design, Florida Travel + Life and Parenting magazines.

During this time period, her husband became ill and became severely allergic to chemical smells, including paint. This was the catalyst for Kelly to figure out how to satisfy her art craving without paint. It was then, she played with ripping, cutting, folding and gluing paper. Overtime, she developed a number of techniques to manipulate the paper into texture and glue it onto the canvas.

Kelly spent hours every night after work perfecting her techniques. In 2014, after her first solo art show, Parenting magazine closed, and she has been working as a freelance DIY designer and perfecting her art form.

Today, Kelly is often surrounded by tiny scraps of paper while she carefully constructions them into intricate patterns on large canvas. She is inspired by rhythmic repetition, texture and pops of color. Creating art is a joy for her and hopes to share that feeling with others.


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