I wanted to be a war photographer. I wanted to go out and look at what is difficult and complex, to look for the truth, to distill it and to bring it back in a way that others can see it. I grew up in the 1970s and was inspired by the war photographers of the Vietnam War who captured and brought back the realities of war. I saw how important it was to look out at the world even when it’s difficult. I also wanted to be a painter because then I could look and capture what isn’t readily seen. I want to look behind things because things aren’t just what they appear to be. Appearances change depending on context and perception. I'm interested in spaces and machines that reflect human intent and motivation. I’m interested in expressions of power. A lot of my work looks at history, war, and the experience of place and identity.

“I work in the space between journalism and science fiction, between reflection and imagination.”


I grew up around self-sufficient, head-strong people who survived the Great Depression and the Dustbowl in Oklahoma. The culture was about utilitarian survival. Most people grew their own vegetables, sewed clothes, and built things. My family owned the local steel and iron casting foundry. Decker Foundry repaired farming equipment and created steel for the state's infrastructure and commercial development. The next closest town was the home of American folk singer Woody Guthrie who sung about places where life is difficult, but people have hope and determination. Many communities in the American Midwest focus on survival and hard work, but don’t have much time to think about the outside world. I believe in the importance of creating something while also looking out at the world to see what connects us.

“What we design and build reflects our nature and our desires.”


“I want to empower critical and creative thinking.” 


Shows & Art Resume

American, b. 1971, Oklahoma, based in Seattle, Washington

Selected Solo Shows

2018 Peter Miller, Seattle, Washington, Peacekeeping
2013 Artist's open studio, Seattle, Washington, The Building Fall Open Studios
2012 Artist's open studio, Seattle, Washington, Look+Listen
2012 Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, Kansas City, Missouri, LX-12
2009 Artist's open studio, Seattle, Washington, West Seattle Art Walk
2003 MoMO Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, Fluff
2001 Artist's open studio, Kansas City, Missouri
1995 Medina's Gallery, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Collapsed Space

Lad Decker, Senior show at Kansas City Art Institute 1994

Lad Decker, Senior show at Kansas City Art Institute 1994


Selected group shows

2018 Seattle Artist League, Seattle, Washington, Big League Show
2002 The Late Show Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, Eternal-Glorious
2002 The Late Show Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, Road Kill
2002 MoMO Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, Learning to Swim
1999 The Late Show Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, Your Lyin', Cheatin', Bleedin' Heart
1998 1331 Union Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, Post Serial
1997 The Madrid Theatre, Kansas City, Missouri, Greetings From The Madrid
1997 The Zone Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, Fiber Substitute


Walz, Cara. Really red and larger than life The Pitch May 20, 2003, Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Trafton, Robin. It's Not Fluff: Lad show illuminates war Kansas City Star May 30, 2003, Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Kaufmann, Gina. This week’s best events. The Pitch May 22, 2003, Kansas City, Missouri, USA


1994 Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri, Bachelor of Fine Arts
1989 Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation


Art and design

Artists often teach and work as designers to extend their function as artists in the community. In addition to my work as an artist, I design experiences for digital platforms and human-computer interaction. For over 20 years I've worked with some of the world's most recognized brands and organizations, including for great artists, performers, and theaters.  

Design is a process of understanding, translation, decision making and execution. The world of business benefits from strong relationships with creative people. I will continue to encourage other artists to work with designers, architects, and entrepreneurs in order to create experiences that enhance our lives. 

Please see my experience design resume for more information.


In The Studio