On Wednesday, July 21st, renowned contemporary artist Will Cotton unveiled his recently completed portrait of chart-topping recording artist, Katy Perry. Katy was present for the unveiling in the artist’s Lower East Side, Manhattan studio. The painting will also be featured as the cover of Katy’s new album, Teenage Dream, scheduled for US release on August 24th.
The recording artist first contacted the painter five months ago to share her enthusiasm for his work. It was kismet or destiny as Cotton, a confirmed Katy fan, had long considered making her the subject of one of his confectionary landscape paintings. The resulting portrait was chosen by Katy to grace the cover of her newest release and it is recreated in live action as one of the scenes in her current video for “California Gurls”, which has been #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the last six weeks. Cotton’s work serves as the inspiration for the visuals in the hit music clip– with his trademark cotton candy clouds, candy stick forests, and gingerbread cabins prominent features of the fantasy scenery.
Teenage Dream is Katy’s much awaited follow-up to her 2008 multi-platinum release “One Of The Boys” which featured the hit singles “Hot N Cold”, “Waking Up In Vegas” and “I Kissed A Girl”. After her experience collaborating with the artist on her portrait, the singer-songwriter was enthusiastic to use more of his imagery as a visual component of her newest project. California Gurls video director Matthew Cullen and Motion Theory embraced the idea, enlisting Cotton as Artistic Director on the project, to recreate the artist’s images for the popular clip. Cotton recreated some of the work personally, including creating the board game played by Snoop Dogg in the video, and worked with set designer Teri Whittaker to create scenery based on his artwork. The video is so popular it has received 18 million views in four weeks on YouTube.
While he does not consider himself a portrait artist, Cotton has depicted a few notable figures in his paintings, such as Tom Ford and Marie-Chantal of Greece. The Katy portrait and the resulting video has focused considerable public attention on an artist long recognized by art world cognoscenti and featured in important private and public collections across the globe. Said Cotton, “My collaboration with Katy started out as a mutual admiration society. I’m delighted that my paintings are the inspiration for this video. My work is about creating a utopia where all desire is fulfilled all the time, but where pleasure and delight can turn dark and dystopic. Katy embodies the archetypes that I look for in a subject. It was thrilling to work with her and to see her inhabit my landscapes.”
“The day I found Will Cotton, I knew I wanted to live in his cinematic cotton candy world. A fantastically art-directed music video and one piece of timeless album artwork later, I can proudly say I am more than a fan. Will has been a sweetheart every step of the way and always open to collaborative ideas. I’m so happy to have discovered his candy-land, and so excited about our creative future together” states Katy.